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Upcycled Spindle Butterflies Tutorial

Do you ever make mistakes? nah. I know I’m the only one. haha. However, let’s just say you had to order a set of replacement spindles and found out you got the wrong size. What to do? Get your craft on, of course! I’m not a quitter, so I’m super eager to share with you my upcycled spindle butterflies.

Wood Spindles Before Upcycle by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Do those look like butterflies to you? Maybe not now, I get it. However, hang with me. These turnings are sure beautiful and definitely worth making use of. Especially when they are as fun as this…

DIY Upcycled Butterflies for Salvaged Style Art by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home #art #homedecor

*post sponsored by Zibra (see full disclosure)

The colors and details are totally customizable to your liking. If you don’t have spindles, don’t worry. You can still create this from what you have on hand or is available locally. In addition, take a peek at the sheep I created from spindles in this past post. Here’s what you need to get started:

TERMS OF USE: If you want to create a these butterflies, you agree to the following: it cannot be shared or distributed for monetary gain in any way, it may not be modified in any way, and you may not claim the work as your own. 

TOOLS & SUPPLIES

  • spindles, dowels, sticks, paper tubes…whatever you can come up with
  • soda pop cans – two for each butterfly (washed and dried)
  • Zibra Crafting Paintbrush Kit
  • stain of choice
  • paint of choice
  • scissors
  • mixed media – fabric, paper, buttons, waxes, stamps, etc.
  • hot glue gun
  • hot glue sticks
  • floral wire

Let’s get started!

STEP 1

First, decide what size you want your upcycled spindle butterflies to be. I had a 11 ½” spindle that I halve. That way, my pieces are 4 ¾” long when the spindle is cut in half. However, if you’re into dragonflies, you can keep them whole to make those too.

To start, I chose to keep them whole until I stained them. Easiest way to do that is to support them in some fashion. I prefer to use a box with a hole punched in to support the spindles.

Spindles Ready for Stain by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

You can finish these in any way you like. For me, I’m after an aged appeal with a mixed media flair. To do that, I begin by bringing out this fun kit from Zibra that I’m super excited to share with you. It’s got a Square Brush, Fan Brush, and a Stubby Round brush along with a fun canvas storage bag.

Zibra Craft Paintbrush Kit showcased by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Without a doubt, these are my favorites out of the entire Zibra line. You can see all my past projects using these brushes HERE. I use the Round Brush to apply my reactive stain. With a reactive stain it will cause this new wood to age within minutes.

Staining Spindles for Upcycled Butterflies by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com
STEP 2

Next, while I’m waiting for my stain to cure, I begin to cut my soda pop cans. Just pop the tip of your scissor in and cut around, then cut down the side, and finally around the bottom.

Cutting Soda Pop Can for Upcycled Spindle Butterfly by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Then, because your can will want to curl, you can reverse roll it up to get it to lay flat. Last, cut a wing shape out of the aluminum. It’s super simple to draw or etch into the metal before cutting.

Aluminum Butterfly Wing | prodigalpieces.com

Of course, you need opposing wings. Use a bead of hot glue to attach them together. I think you can even just use a the bead of hot glue for a butterfly body and skip the spindle.

Glued Butterfly Pop Can Wings by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

STEP 3

With your butterfly wings assembled, it’s time to dress them up. I’m going for a neutral palette, but feel free to change them up however you like. I use the Fan Brush to apply two coats of paint, letting them cure in between.

Painting Upcycled Butterfly Art | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

STEP 4

Finally, this is where you can let loose and have fun. Add bits and baubles…anything you like. I added textiles, paper, and beaded bits for antennae (added at the end).

Upcycled Paper Butterfly with Spindle by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Also, I used a wax to create an aged appeal to my my design as well. Notice I’m using an old, worn out Square Brush. When you brush is done with painting days, you can use them for waxes.

Waxing Upcycled Spindle Butterfly by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

One last thing, you can add a bit of floral wire or similar to the back as a hanger.

Butterfly Wire Hanger | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

DONE

And we’re done!

Rustic Farmhouse Butterflies Created from Upcycled Spindles by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #crafts #diy #home #homedecor

Beige Tulle Butterfly by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #crafts #butterfly #upcycled

Vintage Lace Butterfly By Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #crafts #diy

Which one is your favorite? I’m smitten with each one for different reasons. Going bold would be fun too!

Handmade Butterflies from Upcycled Spindles by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Newspaper Spindle Butterfly by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

If you’re not feeling crafty or just love my butterflies, you can purchase a set in my online shop. (SOLD OUT)

Shop Prodigal Pieces Furniture, Vintage Finds, Handmade Goods, & Supplies for your home | shop.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

GIVEAWAY TIME

Now, Zibra and I are all about encouraging you to tackle your own DIY projects. Whether it is furniture, remodeling, or exterior projects, they have the brush for you. We can’t wait to get these awesome brushes in your hands. You can enter to win this set of brushes for your very own.

Zibra Paint Brush Craft Kit Giveaway by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #giveaway

Giveaway open to U.S. and Canada residents 18 years of age and older. Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to claim their prize. Also, be sure to check your spam!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition, to leaving me a comment below, also pin and share to inspire others. Creating is great therapy!

Upcycled Spindle Butterflies for Salvaged Art Style by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #crafts #art #home #homedecor

Up next, there’s a kitchen lockdown going on! Head HERE TO SEE.

Refinishing Wood Kitchen Counters by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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Also, even more crafty fun like these upcycled spindle butterflies:

So cute!! You can create a woolly clothespin sheep ornament with this easy video tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | A perfect kid craft for kids of any age (even 99!) | Head to prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #handmade #toys #home #homedecor #farmhouseDon't trash or donate your old Christmas decor. Upcycle it! Larissa of Prodigal Pieces shows you how at prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #farmhouse #upcycle #home #homedecor

Comments

  1. ColleenB.~Tx. says

    Oh, My, them butterflies are quite unique and just so cute. What a fun little project.
    Thank you for this wonderful giveaway opportunity.
    I do have a few small projects that could use a paint job.

    Cherish one another. You all stay safe and stay healthy.

    • Larissa says

      These were so easy to do. I’m eager to try different styles too. Thanks, Colleen!

  2. Susie Wilcox says

    These are so cute! What a great mistake. You always make lemonade out of a mess up! I am painting an old sewing machine cabinet. Boy, those brushes would be great on the spindly legs. Thanks for always having great give aways. I enjoy reading your posts every week.

    • Larissa says

      haha! I tend to mess up often. 😉 Thanks so much for the smile, Susie.

  3. lyn says

    Cute idea. And thanks for the giveaway! Happy New Year!

  4. Marci McGarvey says

    Love butterflies! And paint brushes! So creative.

  5. l bryant says

    I really enjoy your blog and the helpful hints!!!

  6. susan says

    Such a cute idea! And thanks for the giveaway!

    • Larissa says

      Thanks! I’m excited for you all to try the Zibra brushes.

  7. Cathy says

    Your butterflies are so cute and easy for me to replicate. They would look so cute on my garage door…Thank you for Sharing…

    Cathy

    • Larissa says

      I love that idea, Cathy! These were definitely addictive to make. I want color-filled ones next!

  8. Mother Deer says

    I just picked up a free Victrola cabinet over the weekend and am considering putting some paint over the damaged areas. Thank you for this opportunity to win some awesome brushes!

  9. Ginny says

    Such a unique idea! I have an end table that I’ve been wanting to paint. The fan brush would come in very handy for this project. Thank you for the opportunity to win this giveaway!!! Happy New Year! Hope it is filled with lots of blessings!

  10. Tim says

    I would paint our window sashes, WE painted our baseboards and trim last fall, but we didn’t bother with the window sashes because they are usually hidden behind the blinds.

  11. Renee Pedersen says

    Cute project! Sometimes mistakes turn out to be the best projects!

  12. Melissa Storms says

    The butterflies are so cute, I may just have to make some. I collect butterflies because my nana loved them and they always make me think of her. I have a bunch of shelving that I picked up and need to repaint, I would definitely paint those first.

    • Larissa says

      Fun! For me my mother is the same. We all love them too.

  13. Sandi Allen says

    Omgoodness! How cute are these! Love them.
    I think I’m gonna try making these & use the dollar tree cookie sheets for the wings, since Ali already have them on hand. Thank you for the inspiration

  14. Jeanette says

    A group of these butterflies would be so cute hanging on my patio wall and since they’re aluminum, rust wouldn’t be an issue. Another great project idea to add to my list!

    • Larissa says

      Yes!! They would be so neat on a garden shed too. Have fun!

  15. Michele L Meacham says

    I guess I’ll be looking for some spindles!!! Thx for the giveaway … wishing you & your family a Blessed New Year!!

  16. Robin says

    What a unique idea. I would have never thought of it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  17. Megan H says

    Love it. Amazing what your mind conjures up!!! It must be going a hundred miles an hour most of the time lol
    Would Love to win the brushes too!!

    • Larissa says

      haha! Yes! Always going and keeps me going. Thanks! I know you’ll love the Zibra brushes too.

  18. Kristina L Austin says

    I adore your blog! I used to subscribe to a few but just ran out of time to view/read them all. Not yours! I will always make time for you!

    • Larissa says

      Kristina, you just made my whole day! Even my week! Thank you so much.

  19. Becky Fischer says

    You are so very creative. Your creativity & skill are so outstanding. It just amazes me what you make. I never would have seen an angel made from the spindles, but as I looked at what you had created I could envision an angel.

    • Larissa says

      aww…thank you so much! 😀 Love that idea too. So many possibilities with it.

  20. Gwen says

    I didn’t know I could buy replacement spindles, let alone make butterflies with them! Good job!

  21. Alison S says

    I love this idea. It is very cute! I would paint a small dresser that has been waiting for me for a while.

  22. Cheryl says

    These are so cute! Now I know what to do with my spindles!! Love them.

  23. Peggy Wilson says

    I love the butterflies but honestly I love the dollies more as I collect them.

    • Larissa says

      me too! My addiction as I crochet and understand how much love is in them.

  24. Andrea Peery says

    I can’t wait to do this butterfly project with my daughter. They will hang in her boho style room:) Thanks for the inspiration!!

    • Larissa says

      That’s the spirit! I’d love to see them when you do.

  25. Kim Harkey says

    I have a vintage dresser that I’m planning on painting.

  26. Alicia H says

    I bought a new hutch that I want to remake into a pantry cabinet. I would use the brushes to paint it.
    I am thinking of painting it with Dixie Bell Palmetto.

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