Embellishing your beautiful punched "tin" butterflies!

Thank you for all your comments on the Butterfly post!!! I am so pleased that many of you are going to make punched "tin" butterflies!  I hope you will send me pictures -  PLEASE!  Or post them on Flicker and send me a link!

Before I begin talking about embellishing butterflies, I want to share a couple tips that were left as comments on my tutorial for making punched "tin" butterflies.  These are very useful tips and I wanted to make sure no one missed them.

 ~ Rubbing alcohol will easily remove Sharpie ink from any metal you are working with.

 ~ Blunt the end of the nail you will be using to punch indentations into the metal.  You can blunt the nail by placing the tip on a piece of concrete and hitting the head hard with a hammer.  Using a blunt nail will make it harder to punch all the way through the metal. (Be sure to keep an "un-blunted" nail around for when you want to punch a hole.)

Embellishing butterflies (or any punched "tin" creature) can be as simple as gluing a body and a couple decorative beads on the wings.  (Sorry the "decorative" beads are hard to see - it's a pain photographing reflective metal!  The beads are clear and "hidden" in the center of the lower wing sections!)

Embellishing can also be more involved and can even employ several techniques together on the same butterfly. 

For once, I am going to try to keep this short and simple.  My intent is to stir up your own creativity.  I am sharing a short tutorial on bead embroidery, a few photos, and you should be ready to create your own swarm of fabulous butterflies!


Make your butterfly following the instructions in my previous tutorial on making punched "tin" butterflies.  Determine the points on the wing where you wish to place beads and mark those by punching a hole all the way through the metal.

Select your beads.

Cut a piece of that trusty old 28 gauge galvanized picture wire about  4" longer than the length of the design you are planning to embroider.

You may want to have a pair of wire cutters used in jewelry making handy;  but it is not necessary to use them as you can easily cut the 28 gauge wire with scissors.

Place one end of the wire through one of the holes punched for a bead.  Allow about 2" of the wire to extend beyond the hole on the back side of the wing and temporarily secure it with a piece of masking tape.

When I use a larger bead, I like to minimize the amount of wire that will show by placing a very small seed bead at one end of the bead hole.

Thread both beads onto the wire - the larger bead first followed by the seed bead.

Place the wire back through the hole in the larger bead.

Pull the wire from the back side to take up the slack.  Notice how the seed bead is holding the larger bead in place but is practically invisible.

Now, push the wire from the back side through the next hole marked for a bead and pull up the slack from the front side.

Now I am going to use a smaller bead so the technique is quite simple.

String your wire through your bead and back down through the hole in the metal.  Pull up the slack.

Note:   You can also use this same method with larger beads.  With a little practice you will be able to pull up the slack while keeping the hole drilled in the bead parallel to the surface of the metal. Not necessary, but gives a little cleaner finish.

Continue adding beads until you have attached the last bead.  Bring the two ends of the wires together and twist several times to secure.  Clip the  wire.

The galvanized wire is so small and is nearly the same color as the metal.  I have no problem with it showing on the back of my pieces.

Add your body and antennae.


Glitter!  I've never tried it before - but it works great!

Instead of punching the design into the metal, draw your design on the back side of your wing and then lightly emboss using an old dried up ball point pen.


You are ready to add glitter following the embossed lines on the front.

Done!  I kept it simple because, as you can see by the wiggly lines, I have had very little experience with glitter!  But I love the way it looks!

What! No antennae?  OOPS!

I was so inspired, I grabbed a completed butterfly out of my stash and added a few little glittery accents! There is more glitter in my butterfly future!

Coiling gizmo for the ultimate body!

Diane made me this little butterfly years ago using the coiling gizmo to create the body. Lucky for you she wrote a tutorial for using this ingenious little tool

Wire embroidery - which you can probably figure out just looking at the next photo and reading the tutorial on bead embroidery!

To embroider your butterfly, you will need 24 gauge colored wire, a lovely, indispensable little tool used in jewelry making and wire work called nylon jaw pliers, and a pair of wire cutters.

Punch your embroidery design into your butterfly wings making sure that you punch completely through the metal.  I used a running stitch so I punched two holes very close together and then a space and then two more holes close together along the entire design line for the embroidery.  See photo above. 

Start just as shown above in the tutorial for bead embroidery, securing one end on the back side with tape.

Now, simply pull your wire through one hole at a time, always taking up the slack.  Keep a close eye on the back side, because the wire likes to slip once and a while.  Check after pulling up slack on every hole and then hold the wire in place with one hand while embroidering with the other.

When you reach the last hole punched for the design, twist the two ends of wire together.

Note:  Nylon jaw pliers is a fabulous tool for securely holding your wire as you pull up the slack.  It also is great for straightening your wire if it gets small bends in it. Find a nice little tutorial for straightening wire here.

Note:  Because the colored surface of the wire can be stripped off, I usually embroider small sections so that I am working with short pieces of wire.  In making the butterfly above, I used a separate piece of wire for each line and each loop.

Painted butterflies?  Certainly!

Simply grab that stash of Sharpies and have fun! 

I actually lightly embossed the design from the back for the butterfly above tracing lines I had drawn with a black sharpie.

Those of you who can draw may want to simply "paint" the design free-hand. 

Or you can trace a design from a book or magazine using Diane's method for doing just that in her Craftstylish tutorial for her Embossed Pet Frame.

I wasn't too crazy about my design at first and almost "erased" it - but it's  growing on me!

Mix it up!  Try new ideas!

I created a really radical wing design and added beads to the wings. Then I pulled wire through holes punched in the bottom wing sections and formed it into coils. Finally, I added a couple tiny beads to the wires coming out of the bottom of the body bead.

There are so many, many possibilities!  I hope some of you will share your own ideas for embellishing your beautiful butterflies!

Again, here is the tutorial for making a basic "punched tin" butterfly

And if you are into dragonflies, the tutorial for making a "punched tin" dragonfly is right here!

All sorts of creatures can be made using "punched tin" so don't stop at butterflies!  Find ideas for birds, sea stars, sea horses and more right here!


Hi! TodayI posted an entry on


TodayI posted an entry on my blog with a link to this tutorial.

Would you let me know if that's OK?


Nancy Ward

Okay, Pam, I would never have

Okay, Pam, I would never have thought glitter would work out. These are beautiful. The beads, too!! You've really gone the whole mile, here.

I've had back pain keeping me from the web for very long, because sitting was very difficult. But I'm catching up now. when I get some swap stuff done (I'm behind!), I'll definitely have to try these techniques out. The results are gorgeous!

I *LOVE* the one with the

I *LOVE* the one with the glitter! So pretty!