How to Paint a Butterfly – Acrylic Painting For Beginners

Learn how to paint an abstract butterfly on canvas with this step by step acrylic painting lesson for kids, beginners and first time painters.

With this painting tutorial, you will master acrylic painting for beginners and create a beautiful butterfly painting – simple, quick and fun for family, classroom or painting parties.

Also see: sun and moon acrylic painting tutorial

How to Paint a Butterfly on Canvas - Step by Step Acrylic Painting Art Lessons for Kids and Beginners

*This post contains affiliate links*

Canvas painting has become a very popular hobby in recent years and many people have started to try it at home instead of just going to a class elsewhere. Canvas painting with online tutorials or videos also makes it easier.

Acrylic Painting for Beginners - DIY Butterfly Canvas Painting

With this butterfly canvas painting, you can paint it yourself or make a copy for many people to do together for a fun time or family activity.

Draw a butterfly

You can also teach this as an art class, if you are homeschooling or in an art class, and everyone will love it because you can customize the butterfly to any color or style you like.

How to Draw a Butterfly Step by Step Drawing Tutorial for Beginners

How to draw a butterfly

What you will need:

  • Disposable plastic tablecloths
  • Easel if you like
  • Paint comes in many different colors, acrylic is best, and you can buy cheap store brand paints that work just as well.
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Transfer paper and tracing paper if you want to make copies
  • 16” x 20” canvas per person
  • Tissue
  • Coloring sheets or paper plates and cups of water for each person
  • Paint brushes come in a variety of sizes, from the smallest to the largest of 1 inch.

How to draw a butterfly step by step

Let’s learn how to draw a butterfly!

Set up your workplace

First, take a piece of cloth and sketch out the shape of a butterfly.

Don’t let this overwhelm you, it doesn’t have to be detailed or perfect, you just want it to fill about ¾ of the canvas and have 4 wings, and mostly a body. If you want to draw a more child friendly butterfly with a smile on its face, we also have a tutorial on how to draw a butterfly.

Draw lightly and erase if you make a mistake.

Drawing a butterfly

If you are too nervous about painting directly on canvas, tape parchment paper together to cover the canvas to a size of 16” x 20” and paint on that.

See also Hatching Chick Easter Craft

Follow step 1

Any dots, designs on the wings or antennae will be added after drawing and will be painted over, so don’t bother adding those. Just the main outline of the butterfly will be enough.

Now, if you’re doing this just for yourself, you don’t need to worry about copying unless you draw it on tracing paper.

If you have done this, or if you are making copies for a gathering or class, use transfer paper to copy over the rest of the drawing. This eliminates the need to redraw. You will need to first trace the butterfly you drew onto the tracing paper, then transfer it.

If you have never used transfer paper before, here is how to use it:

Find the side of the paper with the ink and place that side down on the fabric.

Then, place the wax paper on top so that it matches the canvas, so that the butterfly is exactly where you want it on the canvas.

Take a pencil or blunt highlighter and trace over each line you want to copy. When you think you have completed all the lines, try lifting the paper up a little and peeking to make sure you haven’t missed any lines, before pulling the paper back, so it doesn’t deviate from the line you just made, and trace over any lines you missed. Then repeat on each canvas you need to copy. Saves a lot of headaches from having to draw the same thing over and over again!

Time to paint

Now that your image is complete on all the canvases you need, you are ready to paint. Lay the tablecloth down on your surface before pouring any paint.

Choose a background color and a butterfly color, you will also need black and white and at least one accent color. Get your paints ready and then start how to draw butterfly adventures.

Draw nomarly

Start by using a thinner, smaller brush to sketch.

You should always wet your brush when you first use it, then blot the excess water on a paper towel, then dip the brush into the paint. This will only thin out the paint and the brush, making it flow better. However, you don’t want the brush to get wet, as this will ruin the paint.

See also Surprise Halloween Cards Craft

background paint

Now, using the background color you chose, draw an outline around the outside of the butterfly.

Go around it, including any part of the wing that can reach the outer edge.

Then use a larger brush to paint the background color.

Depending on the color you choose, you may need to apply a second coat, but let the first coat soak in a bit before applying the second coat so you can get an idea of ​​how much paint is needed.

Drawing a butterfly

While you wait for the paint to soak in, go ahead and color in the butterfly. I also like to outline it, just like I did the background, drawing around the wings and the middle of the body, so I know exactly where to hold the lines and sections as I color. Leave the middle of the body blank.

This also helps you reach small areas of the fabric and avoid having to use a larger brush that is not suited to the purpose.

The wings may need a second coat as well, so let them dry a bit and continue painting the base while you wait for the paint to dry.

Apply a second coat over the base coat and try to move the brush strokes in the same direction over this coat.

This helps the paint to cover more evenly and without streaks on the paint.

Paint the edges of the butterfly canvas

Make sure you paint the edges of the fabric too. If you want to be sure you get the bottom edge right when you think about it, turn the fabric over and paint it, or you can wait until the last minute to do this.

Paint the center of the fuselage with a coat of black before moving on to the wings as you will definitely need another coat of black.

Car body paint

Now move on to the wings, paint a second coat, then paint the body black again.

At this point, check to see if there are any gaps where the white canvas shows through your paint or if you see any streaks of paint that need a little touch up. Go ahead and paint those areas until you’re happy.

See also Giraffe Toilet Paper Roll Craft

Let it dry for a few minutes and now you will need the accent color for the wings and the swirls in the background.

More details

I like to use a lighter version of the color used on the wings for this purpose, but you don’t have to. You can take a little white paint and mix it with the wing color to get this accent color, which is what I did on my wings.

Now using a medium to small brush that is longer than it is wide, draw strokes on the wings or you can create your own pattern if you want.


Draw circles of different sizes and randomly in the background to give the picture depth, creating a soft light effect in the background.

You can also use a round sponge to stamp the circles if you like. They don’t have to be perfect, the idea is to create movement without adding to the wings themselves.

wing sketch

Then using the same brush or a slightly smaller brush, paint a black outline around the wing and draw into the middle of the wing so that the black outline runs through the middle of the wing and to the body.

Beard Paint

Now take a very small brush and paint on the antenna.

Add accent mark

The final step is to add a few finishing touches.

Paint white accents on the wings, in the wing corners and along the edges on at least one side, then down one side of the body, as well as accents on the head and antennae.

Then add a few white highlights to the background circles to create the illusion of light reflections.

Now just check the areas you want to edit, sign your name and you’re done! Congratulations! You’ve learned how to draw a butterfly.

How to draw a butterfly

Want instant access to all of our printable crafts, activities, and resources?

With thousands of printable crafts, activities, worksheets, coloring pages, and drawing tutorials, you’ll always have the resources you need at your fingertips. Perfect for parents and teachers alike!

Sign up now and start printing!

Categories: Activities for Kids

Leave a Comment