Lesson Objectives: Students will make their own textured papers and use them to make a collage of a butterfly in the style of Eric Carle.

Time Required: 2 sessions: 1 hour each

Materials (Session 1):

White 9×12 paper cut in half (6×9)

Tempera paint: red, yellow, orange, green, blue, light blue, purple, pink, metallic paints

Tools to make textures (Some are in the Textures bin in the Explore Art room)

Drying rack 

Materials (Session 2):

White 12×18 paper

Papers created from Day 1


Elmer’s Glue



Oil pastels (optional)


Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Explain how Eric Carle does his illustrations: using tissue paper and acrylic paints, he paints papers in different colors with different textures. When it comes time to  “color” his illustrations, he uses his papers and cuts them into the shapes he needs to make a collage.

Procedure, Session 1:

  1. Plan on 4 stations with enough different color combinations and tools to make textures to get 2 different pieces of paper per station, for a total of 8 different 6×9 papers per student.
  2. Make sure names are on the back of each paper!
  3. Tools to make textures can include sandpaper, a scrub brush, the wooden end of a paint brush, or anything you might find in your kitchen or cheaply at a hardware store.
  4. Rotate the students through all 4 stations.
  5. Let papers dry.

Procedure, Session 2:

  1. Pass out hand made papers and white 12×18 paper. Write name on back.
  2. Have students select one of their papers. Show students how to fold paper in half lengthwise. Draw outline of a butterfly wing with pencil, and cut. Because paper was folded, they will only need to cut once to get 2 symmetrical wings.
  3. Using a Q-tip, glue down near the top of the page with the wings overlapping slightly in the middle.
  4. Selecting a different paper, cut the 2nd wing just like the first. Glue down.
  5. Do the same with the 3rd and 4th wings.
  6. With a different paper, draw a body large enough to cover the overlapping wings. Cut. Glue down.
  7. Cut one head. Cut eyes if desired. Glue down.
  8. Using any paper they desire, have students cut shapes to decorate wings (circles, wiggly lines, etc). Make sure they fold paper in half first, so that they’ll get one shape for each side of the butterfly.
  9. Have students draw in antennas with oil pastels, or cut out antennas.


Using different shades of green, make Hungry Caterpillars. Or you can adapt this lesson to create any image from an Eric Carle book.