Coffee Filter Butterflies


Coffee Filter Butterflies

May 4, 2021

Long before I was a teacher (even before I was a Mom), I used to teach Outdoor Education programs at a Conservation Area. It was my absolute favourite job of all time! Bus loads of excited school children would show up at our outdoor education facilities everyday and we would have a blast leading them in outdoor learning. From leading forest explorations, studying water quality and benthics (bugs/organisms found in the water) and leading games to teach children about animal adaptations – it was so much fun!

When school was out for the summer, our team visited city daycamps to bring some outdoor education fun and learning to little campers. For the youngest campers we led them on a fun and engaging program learning about Monarch Butterflies and their life cycle. We always ended with a craft and this one was a favourite!

It’s relatively low-mess (except for some washable marker on the hands) and most materials you probably have at home already. I like using Mr. Sketch washable markers because their colours are the most vibrant, but any washable marker will do!

Coffee Filter Butterflies


  • Coffee Filters
  • Washable Markers
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Clothes Pegs
  • Spray bottle or eye dropper
  • Water

Step #1

Take your coffee filter and flatten it out a little. It doesn’t have to be perfectly flat, just flat enough to be coloured on. You may want to use a placemat or paper towels under the coffee filter to protect the workstation.

Use the marker to colour designs on the filter. Use lots of colours, and be sure to leave a little white space between the colours (about 1/4″). Don’t leave too much white spaces or your butterfly won’t be colourful enough!

Step #2

Use a spray bottle of water (or an eye dropper) to gently dampen the coffee filter. It needs to be pretty wet to allow the colours to bleed, but be careful moving it when wet as the filter can easily rip.

Step #3

Use a paper towel if needed to gently blot the surface of the wet filter. Set aside to dry.

Step #4

Once dry, you can either carefully fold the filter into an accordion style fan and pinch in the center with a clothes pin OR just gather the filter in the center and secure with the pipe cleaner antennae (as pictured). I’ve done both ways, slightly older children often enjoy the folding into a fan shape.

And there you have it, beautiful coffee filter butterflies to brighten up even the dreariest of days!




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