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  • Writer's pictureDiane M Kellogg

Fly Away


By Margaret Riley

Who doesn’t like to sit outside on a summer day watching a butterfly float in the gentle breeze and seeing it land on flower after flower drinking in the warm nectar? With this painting, you will create a butterfly on lightweight watercolor paper or heavy cardstock, and apply adhesive foams to the backside to make it appear it is flying by the sunflower. The background is done with stencils and a rubber stamp design. A wooden tag can have anything written on it, and the bow is 3-D that you’ll create. Let’s get those brushes ready to create this 3-D painting.



10“ x 10“ canvas

Lightweight watercolor paper or heavy cardstock 4-1/2” x 9”

3/4" x 1-1/2” wood tag


DecoArt® Americana Acrylics:

DA042 Baby Blue

DA019 Berry Red

DA227 Bright Yellow

DA353 Brilliant Purple

DA064 Burnt Umber

DA101 Dioxazine Purple

DA371 Golden Yellow

DA067 Lamp Black

DA106 Light Avocado

DA114 Light Cinnamon

DA367 Lilac Meadow

DA299 Marguerita

DA194 Marigold

DA04 Sand

DA036 True Blue

DA239 Warm White

DA08 Yellow Ochre

DecoArt® Dazzling Metallics Acrylics:

DA070 Shimmering Silver


Royal Langnickel® Madura

M47A Nos. 4, 8, and 12 angular

M77L No. 10/0 liner

M47R Nos. 4 and 8 round

Royal Langnickel® China Mini Mop (used for stenciling)

R999 Size Medium

(Note: Use a brush to accommodate the area unless instructed a specific brush)


1” foam brush

Tracing paper and pencil

Red ink pen

Black Graphite

1” masking tape (Frog tape works best)

Stencils of choice (a small checkerboard and a larger checkerboard were used for this project but use something that is appealing to you)

Rubber stamp of choice (butterfly designs were used)

Dragonfly stencil

6” white wrapped thin wire (for tag and butterfly)


1/4” or 3/8” square adhesive foam pads (for under butterfly body)


Permanent fine line black marker

Hot glue or Fusion glue


(Note: Highlights are on the top or right of a design. Shading is done on the left or bottom of designated design areas.)


1. Paint the background Marguerita using a 1” foam brush.

2. Trace the pattern with a pencil.

3. Place graphite onto the surface and pattern on top of that. Place a piece of tape at the top to prevent the moving of the pattern.

4. Trace pattern lines with a red ink pen.


1. Put masking tape along each side of the horizontal ribbon leaving a 1” opening.

2. Paint the opening area in Marguerita. This helps seal your edges to get a crisp edge. Allow to dry.

3. Paint the horizontal ribbon Brilliant Purple.

4. Float Lilac Meadow highlight on the top edge and shading of ­­­Dioxazine Purple on the lower edge.

5. Be sure the horizontal ribbon is completely dry before proceeding.

6. Put masking tape along each side of the vertical ribbon leaving a 1” opening.

7. Paint the opening area between tape strips Marguerita.

8. Paint the vertical ribbon Brilliant Purple.

9. Float Lilac Meadow highlight on the right edge and shading of Dioxazine Purple on the left edge.


1. On water color paper, measure two 1” x 4“(bow loops) and one 1/2“x 2“(bow center).

2. Paint both loops and center with Brilliant Purple on each side.

3. Float Lilac Meadow along one side of each piece ­­­­(highlighting) and on the opposite side Dioxazine Purple (shading)

4. Set aside all three pieces for the finishing step.


Note: To avoid getting the background designs onto the ribbon, use masking tape to cover the ribbon. If it gets into the butterfly shadow and the sunflower, it will be covered up later.

1. Using a stencil of choice, randomly place designs. Using the mop brush, touch into Lilac Meadow, remove excess paint on paper towels, and paint one stencil design. Use a swirling motion to apply paint to stencil openings.

2. Using a different stencil of choice, randomly place designs. Using the mop brush, touch into Dioxazine Purple and remove most of the paint onto paper towels. Use a swirling motion to apply paint to stencil openings.

3. With Dioxazine Purple, add a dot of paint onto the palette. Add a few drops of water to thin the paint (the paint needs to be very thin).

3. Press the rubber stamp onto the thinned-out paint on the palette.

Note: If using a canvas, place a book behind the canvas in between the wood frame strips. This will give you a smooth surface to use the rubber stamp and keep the canvas from sagging.

4. Press the rubber stamp onto the surface in the area of your choice.

5. Randomly, add True Blue dots onto the background.


1. Using a dragonfly stencil, place on vertical ribbon and swirl on ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Shimmering Silver with a soft stencil brush.

2. Shade around the dragonfly onto the ribbon in Dioxazine Purple.

3. Shade around the dragonfly onto the background in Light Avocado.

4. Highlight the top of the wings with Warm White.


1. Paint the shadow first in Light Avocado.

2. Mix together Warm White and Avocado (2:2) and paint evenly overshadow with one coat to tone down the darkness slightly.


1. Paint each petal Bright Yellow, highlight in Sand, and add streaks in petals in Yellow Ochre.

2. Using Burnt Sienna, do shading around the center onto petals. Refer to the photo, if needed.

3. Basecoat center in Burnt Sienna and shade along the bottom of center in Burnt Umber.

4. While Burnt Sienna is still wet, tap in some Sand on top of the circle and along the partial inner circle.

5. Tap on some Marguerita lightly on the inner circle 2/3’s of the way down.


1. Base in entire butterfly in Baby Blue, allowing it to dry, and trace on the pattern.

2. Using True Blue, paint end sections.

3. Float on highlight on top of each wing using Warm White.

4. Using the stylus, add Dioxazine Purple dots in each scallop on the upper wing.

5. Base each ladybug in Berry Red.

6. Highlight the body in Bright Yellow.

7. Add Lamp Black legs, head, body dots, and body triangle section to the body. (Note: A fine line black marker may be used for the legs and antennas).

8. Highlight the top of the head in Warm White.

9. Using the handle end of the brush, dot on True Blue dots on each side of the ladybug.

10. Add ­Bright Purple teardrops on the bottom wing with Lilac Meadow highlights and Bright Purple shadowing.

11. Using a stylus, dot Bright Purple on top of each teardrop.

12. With a stylus, dot True Blue between the teardrops.

13. Paint the scallop on the lower wing Bright Yellow.

14. Paint each sunflower petal Marigold on each butterfly wing section.

15. Shade on petals along the center in Yellow Ochre and add Yellow Ochre lines to each petal.

16. Using a soft stencil brush, tap on Burnt Sienna for the center.

17. Using Sand, tap on a circle around the center.

18. Paint the body Lamp Black.

19. Add some Warm White highlights on the body.

20. Using a stylus, add Marguerita for the eyes.


1. Base the tag in Lilac Meadow, highlight the top edge in White Wash, and shade in Brilliant Purple.

2. Using permanent fine-line ink, add “Fly Away” in your choice of font or another saying of choice.

3. Add a 2-1/4” piece of white-covered wire for the tag string.


1. Loop ribbon ends together and glue them together in the center.

2. Loop a smaller piece over the center seam and secure it on the back with glue.

3. Cut out the butterfly and bend the wings up slightly keeping the body flat.

4. On the backside, apply squares along the body on the underneath side.

5. Bend 2-1/2” piece of wire in half, curling each wire end around a pencil point to glue behind the butterfly head for antennas.

6. Glue on the tag so the wire goes under the bow.

7. Glue bow to the intersected ribbon.

8. Peel off protective paper off foam squares and center to apply butterfly overshadow.

9. Optional: Paint the outside edges in Dioxazine Purple or frame canvas.

10. (Optional) If you have a button that looks like a bee, clip off the shank and glue it onto the sunflower.



Design and photos ©2023 Margaret Riley. All rights reserved.

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