Tie-Dye Butterflies

You can still make cool art without a paintbrush and canvas. Tie-dye butterflies are sure to brighten up any gloomy days this summer.  

What you’ll need:

  • Washable markers
  • White coffee filters
  • Newspaper
  • Cup of water
  • Black pipe cleaners
  • Scissors
  • Disposable gloves (optional)


  1. Lay newspaper down to protect your work area.
  2. Fold a coffee filter in half and use markers to decorate one half of the coffee filter. Use lots of generous blocks of bold color.  
  3. After coloring, fold the filter in half and half again until it’s a cone shape.
  4. Place just the tip of the cone shape into the water in your cup and pull apart the base of the cone so that it balances on the rim of the cup.
  5. After the colors start to spread across the coffee filter to obtain the tie-dye effect, place the filter on the newspaper to dry.
  6. Cut your black pipe cleaners in half.
  7. Scrunch up one of the now-dry colorful coffee filters in the middle and wrap a pipe cleaner around the center (the pipe cleaner is now the antennas of the butterfly!)

The tie-dye effect looks best with bright colors. In addition, too much water may make the colors diluted. Leave the tip of the coffee filter in the water just long enough for the water to absorb and start blurring your colors.  Wearing disposable gloves may protect your hands from staining.  You can also consider using string to tie around the butterflies for a nice hanging display!

This project was inspired by two articles, this one and this one.

Check out other arts and crafts activities from Camp Little Victors: