Making a Gothic Butterfly Crown

Do you ever wake up with an overwhelming urge to make a gothic butterfly crown or is that just me? Because last week that was the exact thought I had upon waking, and I was determined to do it.

I have mixed feelings about the finished crown, I think it’s neat but I know it could have turned out better. This project is really different from what I normally make, it involved a lot of experimenting so it’s a miracle the end result is even wearable! I think if I were to remake this it would turn out much better, so the issue wasn’t with the method, it’s with the execution.

I filmed the process of making this, so if you want to see how I did it in live action you can watch the video below or click here! If you are interested in actually learning how to make this crown I would suggest you keep reading, since far more information is provided in this post than in the video.

(playable videos do not show up in most emails)

I’m still trying to figure out how to ensure the lighting, angle, and focus of the camera remains the same throughout each clip. The camera I use to take progress photos is the one I use to film, so every time I need to take a picture I have to disrupt the video. I’m also using only natural light and it’s not very dependable. Hopefully I’ll improve on both of these things in the future.

Anyway! I wanted this to be drastically different from my last butterfly crown so I had to get creative. I decided using a darker color scheme, less butterflies, and arches would do a good job of making it unique.I didn’t draw out a sketch or anything, but I knew what I wanted it to look like in my head which was good enough!

I started by measuring my head, then added almost two inches to account for a wig or elaborate hair style. Later on i’ll be making a headband which will match that measurement exactly.

I wanted to mount six wire arches onto that headband, which meant they each needed to be 3.5″ at the base. I played around with a ruler and french curve until I had an arch shape I liked, then cut it out of thick paper…which in this case was a snickerdoodle box.

Then I used tin snips to cut floral wire into pieces that were long enough to make into arches. I bent each piece of wire around the paper arch base until they held the shape I wanted.


Despite my best efforts I couldn’t get them all to be smooth and perfect. If I could go back I would spend way more time trying to get them as close as I could, because in the finished piece the wiggly wire is what bothers me the most!

After they were all archified(?) I painted them black. Once they were painted I used the tin snips to trim the ends so they were all the right size.


I cut a piece of ribbon that was twenty one inches long with a bit of space at each end. I marked spots every three and a half inches, then glued down each arch with heaps of hot glue.

This was set aside for a bit, the glue needs a while to harden and you have to make the headband to mount them on.


I decided to make my headband out of quarter inch wide plastic fabric covered boning. This will serve as a base for everything and was cut to the measurement I decided on earlier (twenty one inches).

On it’s own that would look pretty ugly, so I cut a strip of velvet to serve as a slip cover. The strip was almost three inches wide and twenty two inches long.


Each edge of the velvet was hemmed. I did this by hand with a running stitch because I was too lazy to make a black bobbin for my sewing machine.

Then I slip stitched the boning to the velvet, about an eighth of an inch away from the edge. I did this very quickly and poorly but that’s okay, it won’t be visible later on.


Remember the strip of ribbon with all the arches attached? That gets glued down directly to the boning. I had to use lot’s of glue because these two things don’t like sticking to each other!


The lower edge of velvet got folded up so it touches the top and hides any ugly bits! I used a slip stitch to sew the two edges together.

Hot glue will not work for this step, sewing it will give you the best results. If you are unable you could try fabric glue and use binder clips to keep everything together until it dries.


When I was sewing I also stitched the two ends together to create a circlet. At this point you have a functional crown with fancy arches – super exciting! Mine was in a really odd shape, so later on I used heat to bend it into something more circular.


I had a selection of beads already out which I was using for embellishing a bodice, but worked fabulously for this crown as well. I also had some cross pendants (from the beading section of Joanns) which I painted black.


I used a heavy duty black thread and strung beads from the base of the arch, to the middle, to the base on the opposite side. Then I went in and attached the crosses to the center of the arch.


I was originally going to embellish the base of the crown but felt it would look messy. Instead I used orange beads, fake pearls, and rhinestones to create little bits that dangled from where each arch meets.

DSC_8412 Then I glued butterflies over the join point for each arch, and added a few on the tops of the arches. I used large Ashland nature center feather butterflies for this step, they come in a few different colors and can be purchased at  Michaels.

The finished crown looks like this:



And when worn it’s like so! I experimented a lot with makeup for these photos and I don’t think it worked out to well, but I do like how the crown and bodice look.




Thanks for reading!

Making A Butterfly Crown

I actually attempted to film making this, the key word is attempted. I forgot how bright my desk gets in the afternoon and all the footage ended up too over exposed to bother with. Of course I had to use the camera I usually use for photos to film, which is why I only ended up with three pictures of the process. I wasn’t even going to post about it, but I got so much positive feedback about this on tumblr I decided to make one anyway.

Fair warning – it’ll be more wordy then usual!

My butterflies were bought at Michaels, they carried a few different sizes, colors, and brands, but I ended up going for the large twelve pack of imitation Monarchs. The ones I picked are by the brand Ashland Nature Center, and thanks to a fifty percent off coupon I only ended spending $6 on them!

These butterflies are made from feathers which have been painted and mounted on plastic bodies. No animals were harmed in the making of this crown!

I also used orange and brown glass beads, wire, a strip of linen, and a five inch piece of beaded trim. The beaded trim was disassembled until I had a pile of crystals and pearls to use for decoration, which is why you don’t see it in the picture below.



The first step is creating the base of your crown. I did this by measuring my head and adding a few inches – I wanted this to rest pretty low and I planned to wear it with wigs, so it needed to be larger.

Then I cut a one inch wide strip of linen that was the same length. I turned the edges inward and sewed it into a tube so the end result was a 23″ long strip of linen, with all the edges finished. I made mine a little over a quarter inch wide.

I cut a piece of wire slightly shorter the the strip of linen and threaded it through the linen. The cloth covering makes the wire look less harsh and gives a base to sew beads onto, so it’s pretty important!

Once I had the wire in the linen strip I closed the end with thread, and bam, you have a crown – sort of. The shape doesn’t really matter at this  point since you handle it so much during the beading process you’ll have to reshape it anyway.


Then using a very small needle I beaded the thing – I created a lot of dangle bits and tried to create a solid (though not dense) covering of beads over the linen. I didn’t go in a very particular pattern, and it only took me an hour to do.


Once  I was finished with the beading I added the butterflies. Since these are made for floral arrangements, they already come with two pieces of wire attached. All I had to do was wrap the wire around my crown, then snip and hide the ends!

So that’s that. Total time was a little over an hour, for me the cost was only $6 since I owned everything except for the butterflies – I think it’s well worth it. Having a butterfly crown definitely makes life a little bit better.



DSC_7017Thanks for reading!