Back to Explore

Make a beetle or butterfly out of recycled materials. You can be even more environmentally (and insect) friendly by not using glue, so your bug can be taken apart and reused or recycled again.You could even turn your litter bug into a bug hotel!

What you need

  • Clean and dry bits of recycling or rubbish
  • Scissors
  • Colouring pencils
  • A helpful grown-up

Beetles have three body segments. We used a bottle for the abdomen and thorax, and an egg box for the head. Beetles have 6 legs. We made holes in the bottle and pushed three long bits of garden wire through. Beetles also have antennae, and we used garden wire for this. These antennae are very long, just like a Coracina beetle! The coloured wing cases and eyes are made from bits of cereal box. The stripes are inspired by an Australian jewel beetle. We stuck them on with sticky tape.

Butterfly bodies are often long, slim and tube-shaped. We used a toilet-roll tube covered in a pattern from a magazine. The wings are made from other magazine pages. We cut a slit in the side of the tube and pushed the wings in. Butterflies usually have club-shaped antennae. To make the antennae and club-shaped ends, we’ve used garden wire and beads.

Common blue butterfly © Ashleigh Whiffin.

Turn your litter bug into a bug hotel

If you’ve used a sturdy container to make your insect, you can stuff it with twigs, pinecones or corrugated card and hang it outside. Make sure there’s at least one open end and that it is hung in a sheltered spot. This will make a great bug hotel, for any flying insects nearby that might need a home.

Want to print this activity?

Download the instructions.

Make a litter bug
Our family programming is supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery  People's Postcode Lottery
Back to top

We’re reopening our museums

After nearly five months of closure, we have started to welcome visitors back to our museums with a phased reopening.

Find out more