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“The very hungry caterpillar“ BUTTERFLY Craft; A Collage Homage to Eric Carle 1929-2021 🐛

Eric Carle, the beloved children’s author and illustrator who wrote the classic “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” was an influential and inspiring artist. His work has become engrained in children and adult’s minds, enriching our lives and inspiring learning and creativity. To honour Eric Carle’s amazing legacy we wanted to make some inspired crafts and share the process so that others can make them too!

We used Eric Carle’s technique of painting on tissue paper and collaging it to create the colourful, textured butterfly wings. It is such an interesting creative process, that has stunning end results. Teaching children a technique used by this amazing illustrator is what makes this craft so special.

We used recycled cardboard for this craft. The template wings and head is created out of a cereal box and tissue paper. The cylinder body is a toilet paper roll painted green and cut in half.

Have fun flying this toy puppet around and using it in pretend play and in puppet shows!


  1. Mod Podge or clear school glue

  2. Washable kids Paint or non-toxic acrylic paint

  3. Paint Brush

  4. Recycled Cardboard (thin cereal box, cracker or pasta box)

  5. A Recycled Toilet Paper Roll

  6. Painters palette and water and jar to clean your brushes.

  7. Scissors

  8. Xacto Knife (or scissors)

  9. The Very Hungry caterpillar book - if desired as a reference.


PAINT: Start by painting onto coloured tissue paper, leaving some of the tissue paper colour exposed.

Make your brush strokes however you’d lke, back and fourth, up and down. Experiment with the brush and see what texture you like best. Paint carefully so you don’t rip the paper. Holding down the paper helps.

Now that you have your paints out, you should now paint the toilet paper roll green. You’ll be cutting the toilet paper roll in half for the caterpillar body, So either paint half or the entire roll, if you plan on making two!

Set that aside to dry.

Creating the BUTTERFLY:

1. CUT out your butterfly design using cardboard (a cereal box). You can use our free Printable template, if desired. Print, cut out like a stencil,, trace it onto the cardboard and then cut.

Free template! Print it directly here or go to the Printables section on our website to download it!

2. GLUE each section on one at a time, by cutting out the pieces if tissue paper and gluing it on.

Allow the tissue paper to hang over the sides, you’ll cut the excess off later!

Keep cutting whatever colour of tissue paper you’d like and layer them on like so! Or layer and collage it however you’d like!

We started with the bottom and worked our way up, doing each side one at a time.

Continue to add different colours to the different wing segments, we added three different colours.

4. Now that you have the entire template covered, you can now add smaller shapes for details.

We added smaller rounded off rectangles to some parts.

We Cut out two yellow eye shapes to attach to the bottom of each side.

Then cut out two red circles to go onto the yellow eye.

Make more circles and place them wherever you’d like. You can use The Very Hungry Caterpillar book by Eric Carle as a reference to copy the similar patterns.

When you are happy with your butterfly, set it aside while you glue on the head to an oval piece of cardboard. You can cut the excess after you make the head, that way it will be completely dry.

Creating the head:

Using your toilet paper roll as a template, squeeze it slightly to create an oval shape and then trace that shape onto your piece of cardboard (a cereal box, or a thin box).

Make the oval slightly bigger than the toilet paper roll oval. We made ours slightly round.

Now, glue on a piece of red tissue paper to the cardboard oval. that will be the red face!

Cut out two green small oval for the eyes and glue them to a piece of yellow tissue paper.

Cut out the eyes, leaving a yellow border around the green oval eye.

Now you can cut the excess red tissue paper around the cardboard (once it is dry).

Glue the eyes onto the red head and cut out a triangle green mouth and glue that on too!

You can now cut away all of the excess tissue paper on the butterfly wings.

Adult help require: with an xacto knife cut a finger sized hole in the middle of your butterfly!

For our butterfly we made two finger sizes, so make it as big or small as you’d like.

Finally, Glue the head onto the half toilet paper roll, by applying glue to the rim.

- For the final touches add two purple felt antennas during this step and allow it all to dry face down.

When everything has dried, attach the caterpillar head onto the butterfly body and away you go!

Have fun flying it around and playing outside!

Set up a blanket outside and read the book with your new puppet!

We made this wearable larger scale version, the same way we made the puppets, but with thick cardboard! You may want to give it a try!

We hope you enjoyed this Eric Carle inspired Craft! This was design by in 2021. If you make this craft and want to share it with us, tag us on Instagram @acorns.and.aprons . We may end up sharing your creations to our story or feed!


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