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Making a Butterfly Kaleidoscope Shadowbox

Making shadowboxes is a fun and easy craft project to do at home, and a wonderful way to create new art for your walls. Using our lifelike paper specimens makes it sustainable and vegan! While there’s many different styles of shadowboxes you can make (including one we've already shared!), today we’ll walk you through how to put together a Kaleidoscope Shadowbox with our paper Monarch and Viceroy butterflies.

Fun Fact: Did you know that a group of butterflies is called a Kaleidoscope? 


To start, we got a Keepsake Box from a craft store. These boxes are great for displaying memorabilia and curiosities. The one we chose is 11”x14” with a 1.5” depth, and features a back wall covered in felt.


To adhere our butterflies to the box, we used one-sided velcro with sticky adhesive on the other side, which we cut into small pieces to fit the butterflies. This strategy worked well given the material of our shadowbox, but you can also use small pins to pin the butterflies, as you would with real specimens.

While working with hot-glue is a great way to make your shadowbox durable, we suggest finalizing your layout before using such a permanent option!


Starting with the center of your design is a great way to make sure the kaleidoscope spirals out evenly. We decided to work outwards from small to large, but the opposite looks great as well!


To make your butterflies appear more lifelike, bend them at the crease between wing and body, and gently curve their wings with your fingers.


Continue working outwards with your design. We made many adjustments along the way depending on what looked and felt right. There’s no right or wrong - just have fun and play with the placement!
Look at what you're doing from different angles to get a new perspective! 


When you’re happy with your butterfly kaleidoscope, simply put your Shadowbox frame on the backing, and enjoy it!

From start to finish, this project took us about an hour to complete, with the most time spent laying out the kaleidoscope pattern and adjusting to taste.

We chose the Monarch and Viceroy butterflies for this project because they are available in three different sizes in our shop (Life-sized, Mini, and Micro), but you can create wonderful kaleidoscopes using just regular sized butterflies or minis as well!

If you would like to order any style of butterfly in bulk, as we used in this project, please email us at