This started out as a simple project, but turned into a homeschool keepsake. I’m not even sure at what point it happened, but this project took on a life of its own! It pulls together three different projects we’ve done over the course of our Butterflies and Caterpillars unit. We made paper butterflies which ended up being more time-consuming that I expected, clay and felted caterpillars, and a clay chrysalis and leaves with wax caterpillars. I wanted to do this project after a Life Cycle of a Honeybee project we did during our last Spring Nature unit. I liked our previous one a lot, in part because it was educational, but more so because it was very pretty to see the project with all the dimensional pieces.
Admittedly, Life Cycle of a Honeybee was far easier to make, save the felted honeybee, than this Life Cycle of a Butterfly. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do the leaf and chrysalis but thought that clay was a good option. So I went to my polymer clay box with supplies and clay and thought our Fimo clay had gotten too hard and was going to be difficult to mold, especially for my kids. When I bought all our clay, I also happened to buy some Sculpey Ultra Light Oven Bake Clay, and oh my goodness!! I love this clay! I plan to just order this clay next year because it was sooooo easy to work with. It’s so soft, and satisfyingly easy to work with. Plus it doesn’t dry out if you leave it out (at least in our experience). It bakes hard or flexible depending on the thickness, and it’s super easy to paint. We used both acrylic and soy paint, and the result was a soft matte finish that looks natural. The only downside I can see is that if you work with your clay with dirty hands, it will transfer to the clay. If you decide to paint it, no big deal, it won’t show, but if you decide to leave it white, then make sure your hands are very clean. I also noticed this clay didn’t crumble the way my FIMO clay does (granted ours are now a year old) and seemed simple to clean up if any did happen to fall on the floor.