Monarch Butterfly Symmetry Art for Kids

Combine math learning with a unique art technique to create this monarch butterfly symmetry art project for kids!

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Monarch Butterfly Symmetry Art~ Buggy and Buddy

Did you know the monarch butterflies of North America can actually migrate up to 3,000 miles? It’s absolutely so amazing to me that something that small can fly so far!

Only monarchs born in late summer or early fall make the round trip migration from the north to the warmer south. And somehow many even follow the same routes their ancestors took. They’ve even been know to migrate the exact same tree!

We are fortunate enough to live in one of the warmer areas in California where the monarchs migrate each winter. Our town has a monarch sanctuary where you can see the monarchs all clustered in the trees from around October through February. It’s so much fun to head down to the sanctuary with binoculars in hand and observe them!

In order to begin celebrating the return of the monarchs here, the kids and I created some beautiful monarch butterfly art to display! (This post contains affiliate links.)

How to Make Monarch Butterfly Symmetry Art

Materials for Butterfly Symmetry Art


monarch butterfly art

Directions for Older Children

1. Take one piece of watercolor paper and fold it in half. Open it back up. You now have a line going right down the middle.


paper folded


2. Using the black glue, draw only one side of the monarch butterfly. We started with the head and antennae, then the upper and lower wings. After we had the outline done, we drew in the details using the black glue.  (It helped to look at pictures of monarchs as we were working.)

butterfly half older child


3. Fold the paper in half and gently press it. Open it back up to reveal your symmetrical butterfly!


butterfly folded older child

4. Let the glue completely dry.

5. Use the white oil pastel to color in the areas that are to remain white.

6. Use orange watercolor to paint the wings and black watercolor to pain the body.


watercolor monarch butterfly

7. Let it dry.

8. Leave it as is, or cut it out to display!

 monarch butterfly art for kids

Directions for Younger Children

This is a simplified version I did with my five year old. It was more directed and had simpler steps. Be sure to model each step on your own paper while your child is working on his or her paper.

1. Take one piece of watercolor paper and fold it in half. Open it back up. You now have a line going right down the middle.

2. Look at an illustration of a monarch from a book or picture online. Here’s a good website: National Geographic for Kids.

3. Looking at a photo of a monarch (from a book or online), trace the outline of one half of a butterfly with your finger. Describe the lines as you are tracing them.

4. Now use a pencil to lightly draw the outline of half of the butterfly. We started with the head. Then did the upper wing and lower wing.

5. Trace your pencil outline with the black glue.


butterfly half


6. Fold it in half and gently press it together.

7. Unfold your picture and look at your symmetrical butterfly! Allow it to dry.


butterfly ready for details


8. Once it’s dry, take your black oil pastel and add details to the wings.

9. Use your white oil pastel to color in the white areas of the wings.


butterfly ready to be painted


10. Paint the wings with orange watercolor and allow to dry.

11. Display your beautiful monarch butterfly!


monarch butterfly art for kids



Our Favorite Children’s Books about Butterflies

Monarch Butterfly
by Gail Gibbons


How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-Step Guide for Kids
by Carol Pasternak


Monarch Magic!: Butterfly Activities & Nature Discoveries (Williamson Kids Good Times!
by Lynn Rosenblatt


Have you tried this art activity yet? I’d love to see how it turned out! You can share a finished photo on our Facebook page.


Monarch Butterfly Symmetry Art with directions for both older and younger children!~

Fizz, Pop, Bang! 40 Playful Science and Math Activities for Kids


  1. Wow, such beautiful butterflies! I love how you included instructions and examples for both ages.

  2. I’m so happy you included tutorials for both older and younger children. I nanny for three girls ranging in ages 7 to 3, so this awesome craft will come in handy!

  3. Really easy and sweettttt!!
    can we use black color instead of glue?

    • Thank you! These have been so much fun! We haven’t tried it with black paint in place of the glue, but I would worry that the watercolor might make it run? You could always use a black tempera paint to make the outline, and once it dries color it in with crayon rather than paint. I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it out! :)

      • I bet you can even just use a black crayon to outline the butterfly. The wax will create a “resist” keeping the watercolor paint inside the lines.

      • I bet a black crayon would work too. It will create a resist so the watercolor paint with stay in the lines.

  4. These are gorgeous! My children are big fans of the monarch. My son even planted a butterfly garden with milkweed to attract the butterflies as they migrate through our Texas Hill Country. My kiddos were totally fascinated with the IMAX movie Flight of the Butterflies!

    I love these! We will certainly have to try this during our homeschool project time.

    Going to share, pin, tweet!

  5. Your butterflies are fabulous! The Monarch Sanctuary sounds like a wonderful place to visit.

  6. What gorgeous butterflies, Chelsea! Pinning this!

  7. Beautiful! I have a few butterfly loving little girls in my house and I’m sure they’d love to make some of these. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  8. Love this project. My kids just went to a monarch butterfly fest this past weekend. We are in Chicago, so these butterflies certainly travelled pretty far:)

  9. I know this is an older post but would love you to link to Creative Saturdays.

  10. We did something very similar:)- how fun! I love combining a craft with books!

    • Thanks, Becky! I’m glad it’s making a comeback~ I had originally posted it in the fall, but I recently cleaned it up and reposted it again for spring! Love how yours turned out too! :)

  11. Such a lovely post! Love the idea about using glue!


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