My 11-year-old loves butterflies.  Really loves them. She saved her money and bought a butterfly encyclopedia, studies it intently, draws them incessantly, folds origami ones, and analyzes any she spots outside.  So I wasn't surprised when she wanted to be a monarch butterfly for Halloween.  We looked online and found a couple tutorials- one for felt wings, another using foam core board, then made something almost completely different.  It was cheaper, and probably easier. And the only things I had to buy were orange posterboard and crushed panne.  She is tickled pink.  Or orange and black, in this case.

Here's what we used:
2 full-sized posterboard, orange ($1 each)
a realistic drawing of butterfly wings like this
a ruler
2 black Sharpie markers
Con-tact clear liner (optional)
1 wire hanger
3 hot glue sticks and a glue gun
2  18" wooden dowels (3/8" thick)
1 1/2 yards of 1/4- 1/2" elastic

and for the dress, 1 1/4 yards of black knit crushed panne velvet ($4) and a T-shirt that fit her well to use as a pattern,
but you could use black sweats or whatever else works.

This was really easy for me because she did all the tracing, coloring, and cutting for the wings.  :)
And the dress took about 1 hour total, including her doing some of the sewing, from the time I spread the fabric out on my fancy cutting surface (the living room floor) until the time the dress was being slipped over her head.

Quick version of instructions:
1- draw a grid on the butterfly picture and on one posterboard.  I used one posterboard for each side of the butterfly.  Make a scale drawing on your posterboard using the scale method of drawing.  Or if your computer can handle it, enlarge it to be big enough
2- color in the black using the markers. 
3- Flip it face-down.  Put the other posterboard on top, then put them both up on a window so you can see where to trace for the second set of wings.
4- Cut out, then cover with Con-tact liner if you want.
5- overlap each top wing slightly and glue or tape them on the back so they stay together.
6- using a hanger, hot glue gun, a piece of leftover posterboard, and wooden dowels or something else narrow and stiff, assemble the wings.
7- add two loops of elastic to the center, big enough to go around the child's shoulders.  I used two 26" long pieces, then knotted them.

See the slide show to see what I did.  

I didn't want to spend as much time on this tutorial as we did on the costume... but if you have questions, leave a comment!  :)


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