Butterfly kite

What: A butterfly kite we made at a multicultural craft stall at a WA Day fair. Unlike the paper origami butterfly in my last post, this flies very well. It’s also constructed in much more detail.

The first step. Colouring in the butterfly, choosing from a Very Large Pile of textas on the table. You can see the thread bobbin here.

How: ToBeHonest, we didn’t do very much of the making of these. Somebody put in a LOT of effort behind the scenes to make sure dozens of children could swamp the stall at any one time and end up with a working item. We coloured in the butterfly, they stuck on the blue tail and away we went. Here’s some more detail of the construction.

The finished kite seen from reverse.

It appears to be normal photocopy paper (80gsm weight), they’ve probably photocopied three or four of the butterflies a page. On the back they’ve strengthened the butterfly with a line of tape across the wings and one of those paper-covered wire twist-tie things glued down the spine. Then someone has attached a bobbin of thread to the spine very carefully. That’s what we were handed to colour in. When it was done to Kid 6’s satisfaction (Kid 4 not being willing to try and get near the tent with that many kids elbowing each other), they taped on the tail. As best I can tell, the tail is light plastic – heavier than a shopping bag but not much heavier – that’s been cut into streamers by someone with a lot of patience (or maybe put through a shredder?) and then four or five of those streamers have been stuck together somehow. They had a little bit of double sided tape on them so that all the stall person needed to do was remove the protective paper and push it on and there you go, instant tail.

Two Kid 6s running through the fair with their finished butterfly kites. Taller people get more height on the kites more easily. 

They did fly quite well. The stallholder demonstrated and had it flying steadily quite easily. The Kid 6s I observed needed a little more practice – familiarity with kites would help I think! But they do flutter satisfactorily too. We had some issues with the bobbins of thread – nothing unexpected, just easy to lose sight of or to accidentally tangle around the kite (which being light paper is relatively fragile and able to be cut by thread that’s given a good yank). But they worked reasonably well too.

Origami butterfly

What: A folded paper butterfly that became the basis for a few different moments

One of the Kid 6s’ butterflies.

How: I saw a video of these on Facebook or Youtube somewhere – it’ll be around. The steps weren’t too hard and I had a go on my own. You need some square paper – not too large – and scissors. Depending on what else you do with the butterflies you’ll want to have blutack, stickytape or string on hand (or whatever else seems useful).

Once I knew what I was doing, I made them with the usual crowd of Kid 6s of both genders that seems to appear in a screeching flurry after school several days a week. The butterflies are a little fiddly in one or two spots but not too bad and all the kids did OK with them. Then they came up with things to do with the butterflies.

It swings better than it flies. Pendulum science! except it’s not quite heavy enough for that. Maybe if it was weighted a little.

A couple of them went on the trampoline. One got thrown around the room but this design doesn’t really fly well so that didn’t last. One went on a string and became a kite – but not a very good one. Then that Kid 6 got some spare paper off me and cut and taped it into a bag, with the butterfly front and centre as decoration and the string repurposed into bag handles.

Every one of the sides of that bag has been cut separately and stuck together with tape. It was painful. I’m glad this Kid 6 has now encountered “nets” at school and can conceptualise that you can make a bag out of a single piece with folding. But I’m pleased they conceptualised the pieces needed for the bag in the first place.

Extras: If I had florist wire we could make a few of these and stick them on and do flower arranging. A few different sizes and patterns would work well as a mobile. Several of the same size could be attached to a paper chain. Folding them out of something waterproof instead of paper would mean we could hang them outside. They can decorate anything. To me they’re a useful piece for something rather than being terribly exciting themselves, though they did work well for giving the Kid 6 crowd something to fiddle with for ten minutes.