An Easy Tutorial On How To Draw A Butterfly

What is one of the few insects most people don’t mind seeing fluttering around? It’s a beautiful butterfly, of course!  With their bright colors and big wings, most little kids (and parents) love watching them fly from flower to flower. 

If you’re looking for a fun, easy animal to draw with your kids, the butterfly is a perfect option. All you need to draw are some basic shapes, and you can create the cutest little butterfly. Before we get to the easy tutorial on how to draw a butterfly, let’s learn a little more about these amazing creatures. 

What Is A Butterfly?

Okay, you’ve probably seen a butterfly and know what it is, but did you know they’re insects? Most insects we think of are a little creepy when actually, they’re all pretty interesting if you get to know more about them! (Check out Weird Insects by Michael Worek to learn more!) 

Butterflies are also insects. They have six legs, an exoskeleton, antennae, and three main body parts – head, thorax (the middle), and abdomen (the tail end).

Did you know all butterflies are adults? When they’re babies, they’re called caterpillars! Caterpillars kind of look like worms, but with legs. Their biggest job is simply to eat and eat. Once they’re ready, they build a chrysalis around them (this is a lot like a cacoon, but moths build cocoons, and butterflies build chrysalis). If you want to learn more about the differences between butterflies and moths, read Animal Look-Alikes: Butterflies and Moths by Joanne Mattern, on Caribu.

While in the chrysalis, the caterpillar turns into a butterfly. When the butterfly is ready, it breaks open its chrysalis and emerges. They stay there for a few minutes flapping their wings to dry them out and once they’re dry, they fly away to find flower nectar to eat.

What Can You Do To Protect Butterflies?

When you think of endangered animals, you probably think of the big ones like the panda, elephants, or the blue whale. Certain insects, like the butterfly, are on the endangered list too. While there are thousands of species of butterflies, sadly, 35 species are listed on the threatened or endangered list. This is due to a few reasons, like their habitats being destroyed or the use of pesticides. 

Sometimes, when kids learn about endangered animals, they can feel helpless in the fight to protect these animals. But, there are little things everyone can do to help the endangered butterflies rebuild their populations.

Plant A Butterfly Garden

The very first thing you can do at home is to plant a butterfly garden! This doesn’t have to be a huge expansive garden, as you can just use a potted garden if you don’t have a big yard or if you live in an apartment with a balcony. Not only will you be helping the endangered butterflies, but you’ll also add beauty to your outside area!

Before you start your butterfly garden, research which butterflies are native to your area. Once you know this information, you’ll be able to look up what their host plant is, and plant them in your garden. 

For example, if you live in Florida, the Bartram’s hairstreak butterfly may be native to you. These butterflies’ host plant is the Pineland croton. If you’re from New Hampshire, you may recognize the Karner blue butterfly. The wild lupine is their host plant. 

Reduce The Use Of Pesticides

No one wants certain insects in their home or on their lawn. Certain insects can bite or take over quickly, and we use pesticides to get rid of them. Unfortunately, when we use pesticides on insects that we don’t want to have in our homes or lawns, we also risk harming insects that are endangered or not a threat. 

While pesticides need to be used at times, there are also other ways to get rid of certain insects that are a nuisance in or near your home. One example is using a vinegar and water solution to kill and deter ants. The ratio is 50/50. Some people find that this solution works, and others aren’t convinced, but feel free to give it a try! 

Learn More About Butterflies And Spread The Word!

Another thing you can do to protect butterflies is to learn more about these incredible creatures! There is so much to learn about the beautiful butterfly. The more you learn, the more you can spread the word to your friends and family. On your next Caribu video-call, choose a book all about butterflies to read together, and share what you’ve learned about them. 

How To Draw A Butterfly

Now that you’ve learned all about butterflies, let’s learn how to draw one! The best part about butterflies is there are thousands of different shapes and colors, so every butterfly can look different. Once you understand the basic steps, you can draw a bunch of different butterflies!

Before you get started, give your grandparent a video-call. You can pull up the How to Draw: Butterfly coloring sheet, and draw together!

Step One

Once you pick what color you want to use for the outline of the butterfly, you can start with the head and body. First, near the top of the page, draw a circle for the head. Once you have the head drawn, it’s time for the body. The body shape is similar to a slightly straightened boomerang, or a bent oval. It’s perfectly okay if the top of the body slightly overlaps the right side of the head. 

Step Two

After the head and body are complete, it’s time for the wings! For this butterfly, the wings on the left are slightly smaller than the wings on the right. The shape of the wings is similar to the top of a heart shape on its side. The top part of the wing should be bigger than the bottom of the wing. 

Step Three

The next thing your butterfly needs are antennae and eyes. Butterflies have two antennae to help them smell, balance, and they also detect wind speed! The antennae are located at the top of its head. To draw them, start at one side of the head and draw a curved line up, with a small spiral at the top. Then, draw a second one beside it, curling and spiraling in the same direction.

For their eyes, draw two smaller circles on their head. Like many features on a butterfly, their eyes are very unique. They can see ultraviolet light and polarized light, which helps them see flowers better when they’re looking for food.

Step Four

In step four, it’s time to add more detail in the wings and the eyes. On each wing, draw a circle in the top portion of the wing and the bottom portion. These circles represent the beautiful patterns found on butterfly wings. 

For their eyes, you’ll want to draw a pupil, or the black part of the eye, even though technically butterflies don’t have the same type of eye we have (we’re going for more of a cartoon version here). To draw the pupil, in the middle of the eye, simply draw a small curved line. The curve should go in the same direction as the letter C.

Step Five

Now it’s time to finish the body and do more work on the eyes. For the body, draw three evenly spaced lines horizontally across the body. These lines can be slightly curved up to show a little movement to your cute butterfly.

For the eyes, draw a very small circle at the top of the pupil. This represents light hitting its eyes. 

Step Six

Finally, it’s time to complete your butterfly! First, erase the portion of the body that has overlapped the head. Once that’s completed, give your happy butterfly a little smile! Next, color black in your butterfly’s pupils.

Now that you have your completed butterfly, you can color it in with any color you would like. Let your imagination be your guide!


Now that you’ve learned all about butterflies and how to protect them, you can start making a big difference by making small changes! Your butterfly friends may thank you by visiting your freshly planted garden!

Drawing a butterfly may look tricky, but once you break it down into a few easy steps, you’ll be drawing one in no time!

Learning about the world around us through books, activities, and art brings fun back to learning! With Caribu, you can do all of these things and more, all while video-chatting with your loved ones!


All about butterflies | Department of Horticulture | University of Kentucky

Listed Animals | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

10 Endangered Butterflies and Their Host Plants | Save Our Monarchs