DIY Garden Bowling Pin Butterfly

An old bowling pin can metamorphose into a beautiful DIY garden butterfly with this striking pair of wings made from plywood. Try painting different wing patterns and let your imagination soar!


  • Printer (optional)
  • X-Acto knife
  • Pre-primed lauan plywood
  • Jigsaw
  • Medium or fine grit sandpaper
  • Bowling pin
  • Drill and small bit
  • Stiff wire or coat hanger
  • Primer
  • Spray paint
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Four L-brackets and screws
  • Galvanized wire or coat hanger
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Super glue
  • Exterior-grade spray varnish

Step-By-Step Instructions:

Step 1

Enlarge to desired size and tile-print the free downloadable butterfly wing stencil available here. Don’t have a printer? Draw the butterfly wing freehand.

Step 2

Cut out the printed wing stencil, and, if desired, the inner detailing. Trace its outline and detailing onto the plywood with a pencil, then flip the stencil and repeat to create a pair of wings that are mirror images of each other.

Step 3

Using a jigsaw, cut out the butterfly wings. Lightly sand the wings until smooth.

Step 4

Prep bowling pin by drilling two holes for antennae on either side of the top using a drill bit slightly larger than the diameter of the wire to be used as antennae.

Step 5

Prime the bowling pin or use a spray paint with primer. Spray paint bowling pin in color of choice, then let dry.

Step 6

Paint your wing design using acrylic paint in colors of choice. Let dry.

Step 7

Drill holes into bowling pin for affixing wings. Screw wings to bowling pin using two L-brackets per wing and accompanying screws.

Heidi Hess

Step 8

Center and affix a screw to the back of the bowling pin for hanging. Wrap wire around the head of the screw and form a hanging loop using needle-nose pliers.

Heidi Hess

Step 9

Cut wire antennae to length desired, then use pliers to twist ends, forming a small decorative loop on each. Drop small amounts of super glue into antenna holes, then insert wire antennae. Leave butterfly standing upright until glue dries.

Step 10

Spray butterfly with several coats of exterior-grade spray varnish. Once dry, hang and properly secure butterfly to a gardening shed or tree.

Heidi Hess

Step 11

Want to create a bowling ball caterpillar to match your butterfly? Get the directions here.

Heidi Hess

Alison Auth
Alison Auth makes crafts with her love of wildlife in mind. She enjoys beckoning birds to her backyard and creating an oasis for butterflies with beautiful plants.