Making Faux Butterfly Art (And Checking Out Foamhenge)

Let’s talk about bridges, butterflies, and big foam rocks. Is anyone else getting a little “Beets, Bears, Battlestar Galactica” from that title (a la Dwight Schrute)?

Just me? Anyway, on Sunday we took Clara on a little weekend adventure. And one of our stops was a butterfly exhibit with all sorts of real live butterflies who were doing their thing:

And thanks to something that we picked up while there, I was able to make this new framed art for our built-ins as soon as I got home:

Wait, it’s not what you think. My little craft isn’t made from real butterflies. It’s actually cut from this information sheet we were given at the exhibit (I asked if I could buy it with this idea in mind and they said that they didn’t sell them but I was welcome to take the one I was given home with me – so nice of them, right?).

See, ever since seeing this post over on Little Green Notebook and a few cool faux butterfly shadow boxes on Pinterest (like this one) I was ready to try my hand at some faux butterfly taxidermy.

So my first step of the whole oh-heck-let’s-see-if-this-works process was to cut out the butterflies (the paper was double sided so I flipped it back and forth and picked out my favorites on each side. Oh and the little flier was laminated, so if anyone wants to try this at home, you might want to print out some small butterfly images on glossy photo paper and cut them out so they have the same butterfly-like sheen (or even get regular printer paper with butterfly images on it laminated at a place like Kinkos for the same effect). I was also thinking that folks might be able to get this look with realistic stickers from a craft store stuck to printer paper or cardstock and then cut out.

Oh and my cutting method was just to use my good sharp scissors and go slow. I wasn’t perfect or anything (and all of the antennas had to go since they were too thin to keep) but it worked out pretty well. And I was left with these babies:

They weren’t especially convincing at this stage. So in another fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-and-see-what-happens move, I decided they would look more convincing if I could get them to fold a little. So I very carefully folded each wing back like a taco:

When I released, they looked like this:

They were suddenly looking a lot more convincing. Then it was time to pad around the house to look for a shadow-box-like frame to use (something with some space between the paper and the glass so they’d have room for the whole folded thing). This old one from Ikea that was already sitting on our built-ins in the dining room fit the bill. And I had zero attachment to the green leafy print inside (an old Ikea poster) so I laid out my nine favorite butterflies atop the glass to play around with different layouts. I decided the three-rows-of-three approach was my favorite:

Then I just used Aleen’s Tacky Glue (it’s the same tube of craft glue that I’ve had since before making Clara’s nursery mobile 17 months ago) to adhere them to a piece of white cardstock that was cut to fit the opening in my frame:

All I did was dab it on the back crease of my butterfly (don’t be thrown off by the blue butterfly image that you see below – that’s the back since the flier was double sided)…

… and then I just stuck them in place (by eye, I didn’t measure but they look pretty good since I tweaked the spacing until I liked it beforehand, and then just glued them down):

I let them lay flat like that to dry overnight before attempting to hang them (I didn’t want them sliding or popping off before the glue had fully cured).

Then in the morning I put my little frame of faux butterflies right back up on the dining room built-ins:

I love how the white frame, mat, and backdrop pop with the moody teal paint behind them (sort of like how all of my other faux animal friends like Mr. Horse, Sir Rhino, and El Bird stand out).

And even if you get pretty close, they definitely don’t look like a free flyer from a butterfly exhibit. In fact I think they could fool my mom (which has been a measure of success for me since I was a tween).

And in case you were wondering where the heck this butterfly exhibit was, I’ll tell ya: Natural Bridge. It’s just shy of three hours from Richmond in Southwestern, Virginia. We picked it as a good little weekend activity because (1) we’d never been there and (2) it was a good place to meet up with John’s BFF Kevin (who’s currently teaching/in grad school at Virginia Tech).

The bridge was more spectacular in person than we had expected. If we understood the guide correctly, it’s what’s left of an underground cavern that collapsed on all other sides. It’s got cool history (involving American Indians, Thomas Jefferson and some “G.W.” initial carved into the side that may or may not be George Washington’s). So it’s totally worth the visit if you’re ever in the area.

Seeing the giant stone bridge was only a portion of the visit. There was also a really beautiful (though humid) path that we all hiked (well, Clara got strollered). It led to a scenic little waterfall, but our only good pictures from that spot ended up being of this butterfly (foreshadowing of the butterfly exhibit to come later, perhaps?)…

We also learned that we have a future geologist on our hands. Seriously, Clara was inexplicably obsessed with this rock:

Speaking of rock obsessions, these beauties in the gift shop did catch my eye. Everyone say it with me: “Oooooooh, shiny.” I didn’t take any home with me (the big ones I loved most were around $80-100) but mark my words: giant shiny rock fragments are the new coral when it comes to natural decorating accents, methinks.

And since we hate to ruin the illusion that we rank up there with only the classiest of travelers, you’ll be glad to know that we most certainly did not visit “Foamhenge” while in the area…

Sure, visiting an all-styrofoam full-scale replica of Stonehenge for free right here in the Virginia mountains a would be tempting for less sophisticated sightseers, but not the Petersiks. No-siree-bob.

And even if we had, we definitely wouldn’t have taken pictures with a life-sized Merlin statue that was constructed to illustrate one of the theories of Stonehenge’s mysterious creation. Please, give us some credit people. We’re mature adults.

Good thing Clara doesn’t have embarrassing parents, right? I’m sure she’ll thank us for being so poised and level-headed when she’s 16 and treasure this picture always.

So that was our little Sunday adventure this weekend. Gotta enjoy summer while it’s still here, right? Especially when you can score a free souvenir-turned-project in the process. Has anyone else out there made any faux butterfly crafts? Mobiles? Art? Jewelry? Tattoos? Foam replicas? Speaking of foam, someone else out there has to have witnessed the hilarity that is Foamhenge. Anyone…?

Psst- My BFF Cat is working on her three month old son Edison’s room, so I dug up ten of my favorite nurseries to inspire her over on BabyCenter. So much cuteness, so little time.


  1. Ashley says

    Did you check out the scary wax museum there at Natural Bridge? A couple years ago I went to Natural Bridge and before we left, we went to the wax museum there. I still have nightmares from it.

    If you didn’t go, good. Would have been too traumatic for little Clara!, and probably for you and John too!

  2. says

    Love the rocks! My grandpa was a geologist and has collected a ton of rocks over his many years. A good portion is actually in a museum in Harvard! I haven’t gone to see them but my mom and dad went last year and they said it was great to see them! We have a few special ones throughout our family and there is one I’m obsessed with – like Clara and her rock! But I agree, I think rocks are the new coral. It goes well with the whole scheme of adding more color as they come in every color out there, vs coral (well, dried up coral).

    Cute butterflies. I did something similar for my daughter’s room but it was just out of scrapbook paper. I like yours better!

  3. Mary K says

    That’s awesome! I’m originally from upper east TN, so I’ve been to Natural Bridge before, but I didn’t know about Foamhenge! Now I live in Santa Fe, and there used to be a replica of Stonehenge here made out of old fridges and called, yes, Fridgehenge.

    Unfortunately, it was taken down due to fears that people would get stuck in the old fridges, so I never got to see it. :-(

    Love the butterfly art!

  4. says

    Just for the record…. I read that just like I would imagine Jim making fun of Dwight. WIN.

    The free art is AWESOME- I was a little sad until I realized they are paper :]

  5. says

    You guys really amaze me every time…seriously! You were meant to be bloggers, because you are so creative! I absolutely love your butterfly art and the post is just too cute…Good Job You Guys!

  6. Erica says

    so awesome to see you guys traveled to Southwestern Va…why? Because that’s where I grew up! It’s full of beautiful scenery and I’m so glad you guys enjoyed your visit!!

  7. Teresa says

    awwee, you guys were right around the corner from me :) Good old Eagle Rock is about 15-20 min away. They also have a safari park up that way, I have heard it is fun!

    Love your new art… it really makes you start looking at everyday items a little differently when you can turn them into art huh?

  8. says

    As soon as I read the title, I knew exactly where you guys went!! My husband and I live about 45 min away in Lynchburg, VA and we actually just went to the Natural Bridge for our 2 year anniversary in June. I have to be honest, I would have seriously loved bumping into your family there..even my husband knows who you two are bc I’m always saying to him “oo, Adam, come check this out..look what they did..built..” and so on :) So fun! Thanks for sharing this post, it definitely made me smile this morning! I wrote a post (mostly pictures) of our trip to the Natural Bridge, feel free to check it out :)

    Have a great week you two!

  9. Chris says

    OMG…Natural Bridge! Flashbacks to my tween self going there MANY times with my family. Back then it was the! I even have a photo of myself in front of the bridge being all emo and dressed in head to toe black in mid-August. Hehe.

    The caverns are pretty awesome, but slick and steep. Def. not stroller friendly!

  10. Lauren says

    Oh man! I about fell out of my seat when I saw you went to Foamhenge. I used to work on a horse farm about 5 minutes from there. And you better believe every single person that visited me was dragged over there immediately!

  11. Christina says

    This post was so great! That has to be one of my favorite Office scenes. And also, I’ve been trying to get my husband to go to Foamhenge for years now! (I think it’s awesome, he thinks it might not be) We live in NoVa, so not too far away. Of course, now I can show him this post and how we really do have to make the drive down.

  12. says

    Haha my friend randomly texted me “beats, bears and battlestar gallactica” last week. Love that show. Did you hear Pam is going to be pregnant this season?? She’s pregnant in real life so they are writing it in!

    ps- I comment on here about tv shows way too much… haha

  13. says

    Holy moly! I would have never known those were from a flyer. Great job, Sherry!

    Also thanks for talking about the bridge. I am planning a trip to Virginia soon to visit family. Need fun, non-history ideas. (the husb will have lots o history stuff planned)

  14. Briel K. says

    I love the butterfly shadowbox! I really need to do the heart one but just haven’t had time. Perhaps soon! :)

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