I made these sparkling decorations last year as the sun came out. They are an easy way to brighten your garden, despite the up and down weather we are having.
I chose to put mine in our clematis archway, but they could look good hanging anywhere where the sun will catch the gold, and the eye. They have lasted well and still have a sparkle in those odd glints of sunshine!
So, lets get started!
This simple activity needs the following resources:
Clay. I used air dry, but you could also use oven baked. I would also choose white clay - I like the fact the white is the background after I have painted them, rather than anything else.
Butterfly cookie cutter.
Acrylic paint in a variety of colours. I used primary colours as butterflies are usually such a splash of colour against the greenery.
Gold paint spray. I used Plasticote* spray, which I think is widely available around the world. (*I am not affiliated)
Gold gilding flakes.
Modge podge (see below) or PVA glue.
Waterproof sealant for air dry clay. I found my sealant with some good reviews on Amazon and, as I say, the butterflies are good a year on! (see details below)
Clear fishing line for hanging. I like the fact this line is 'invisible' from a distance at least. It is also waterproof!
Making your butterfly garden decorations
Start by cutting out your butterflies from your clay. Mine were about 3-4mm thickness. Add a hole for hanging using a pencil. Leave to dry for the stated time for your chosen clay. In my case, the air dry clay took about 24 hours to fully dry.
Once fully dry, front and back, use acrylic paint to decorate your butterflies. Work quickly and "swipe" your colour around. I wanted to create the flash of colour that catches your eye as a butterfly flies by...
Let the paint on your butterflies dry fully.
Now time to spray the backs of the butterflies. Ensure you work in a well ventilated space - preferably outside. Spray evenly and lightly. You can re-touch with a second coat if needed. Don't worry about spraying the edges accidentally, it adds to the decoration, not spoils it. My spray was touch dry in 10 mins, and fully dry in 4 hours.
The next step - adding the sparkle!
Using gilding flakes and PVA glue or modge podge (a mix of PVA and water 3:2), decorate your butterflies with spots of gold. Use a small amount of glue in specific places and then press your flakes on gently, smoothing as they dry. Again, we are working towards a splash of sparkle, but how much is up to you. I used very little...
Gilding added... leave to dry again for the last time.
When you are ready, the final step is to waterproof your butterflies so they can live happily outside. I chose paint-on waterproofer (see photos - not affiliated) and found it easy to use. It needs 10 hours drying time, then turn, paint and dry another 10 hours. Not quick but so far, have stood the weather test. 🤞
So, butterflies made, time to tie together and get hanging... I used fishing line as above to tie the butterflies together, one below the other (although it made photographing them, extra tricky! Lol!)
They made it through all the storms we had last year and I have only just re-lined them when they got caught up in high winds.
I've enjoyed making these little butterfly garden decorations and they are subtle surprises in the garden. Even my husband likes them!! 😁🦋🦋🦋
I hope you enjoy making them too - go on! Have a go!! 😉
Let me know how you get on too. Send me your pics and comments below!