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Dragonfly Wall Decor: Easy, Free, DIY Tutorial

Tutorial highlights:

  • One of the most unique & sheek home crafts anyone can make.
  • Go ahead and start stocking up on toilet tissue rolls and paper towel rolls. You’ll need them!
  • This piece will be the stir of conversation for any guests who come to your home. Mine has lasted nearly a decade and is hands-down the most talked about piece I own.

With the pandemic still going strong and unemployment numbers being higher than they were even in the Great Depression, about half of the American population has a lot of extra time and no extra cash to make it more enjoyable.

Don’t feel crappy, just get crafty! (I pulled out THAT much cheese just to make you smile – hope it worked on someone!)

After many posts about art and painting, I’ve decided it is about time I finally started posting some of the handmade home decor I’ve talked about in prior posts.

Luckily for you, when I made my own dragonfly wall hanging, I was already flat broke and bored. That would also fuel all of my other random but awesome craft pieces. Now that being broke and bored is the norm, maybe some of you can work on this dragonfly.

Out of all the oddball things I’ve created over the years, this one is definitely a favorite. It was the centerpiece in our living room at our rental home, and nearly eight years later, it is the centerpiece on our stairway center wall.

Given the lifespan, you’d probably never guess it’s made out of a bunch of cut up toilet paper and paper towel rolls, huh? Life’s full of little surprises.

It’s incredibly easy to make, but it does require patience. If you find yourself lacking in patience but would like to have one or a similar design, contact me, and I’ll make it happen!

The beauty of this project is you can make is small, huge, a dragonfly, butterfly, mermaid, flowers, or just about anything else you wish it to be.

Just for reference, the dragonfly I made is approximately 42 x 46 inches. It is not fun to take down, so please pardon the amateur hour photography. I included a couple of shots from far-off partly to show the size and because it couldn’t have a more awkward location for a photo. Just for kicks, I included one of my man-sized hand next to it for extra reference.

Dragonfly Tutorial

Materials:

  • A LOT of toilet paper and/or paper towel rolls. Preferably without the leftover bits of glue or paper, and not crushed.
  • Sharpie marker
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue. I use Aleen’s Tacky Glue. It’s usually about $1.50 and available at most craft and big box stores.
  • Paper clips (a dozen or so should work as the glue dries quickly, allowing you to shift clips from piece to piece easily)
  • Spray Paint(s) – feel free to keep it monochromatic or mix it up with a couple of different hues

Instructions:

  • Pick any of the leftover tissue off of your rolls.
  • Flatten each role, so that the opening looks like a diamond but with 2 curved sides
  • Make 5-6 marks per toilet paper roll (more of course for a paper towel roll, just as long as they’re all equal in width) to create equal sections on your newly creased sides.
  • Cut the rolls into sections using your the reference lines. Think like how an uncanned roll of cinnamon buns looks before & after you separate them.
  • You can even get fancy and slice out curvy edges. Just make sure you leave a flat side that’ll face the wall. If you intend on hanging your piece, why not make both sides curvy?
  • Now you have all of these pieces. Chances are, they’re not going to be uniform in thickness. Try to either trim them to be even or sort them so that you can use the thickness as a gradient in the 3-D effect of your piece. If you’re not a perfectionist, just try to glue your pieces so that you have one level side. The wall will never know the difference!
  • Take all your pieces and begin arranging them in the pattern you want on a large, flat area. For the dragonfly, I worked on the body first, starting with horizontal rows of 3-4 pieces (alternating) and gradually building to the thickest part of the body. Then I narrowed it back down to the tail. Next I laid out the wings, which there really isn’t as much of a strategy for, BUT once you’ve done the body, you’ll have the hang of it and will be able to lay out some pretty awesome wings.
  • Now that you’ve got your pattern, place a drop of glue where each piece connects, using a bobby pin or paper clip to hold it in place while it dries. Most pieces, especially internal ones, will be glued and pinned in several places.
  • Feel free to get creative and slice some of the pieces in half. Rolling these up adds for great detail, such as dragonfly antennae, flower buds and leaves, and anything else your mind can will it into.
  • Also, don’t be shy about bending the rolls into funky shapes. For our tutorial today, I did not recreate the entire dragonfly but rather wanted you to see some different tips and techniques so that you can make your own dragonfly or whatever else you feel like! In the pictures, below, you’ll see some of the rolled pieces as well as some curved ones that look kinda like hearts.
  • Continue gluing until the whole pattern is together as one big piece **If you’re using multiple colors, now is the time to spray paint!
  • Spray paint the whole thing, making sure to get the interior of the rolls and those little crevices. I didn’t spray paint the tutorial piece, as I really just made it to demonstrate how to do the process itself.
  • See the pics below of both the tutorial piece – we’ll call a flower bouquet – and the actual dragonfly, which we’ll call certified badass.
  • All that’s left is to hang and enjoy explaining to everyone that it’s not wrought iron but indeed is doodie paper rolls. Fantastic!

Like my work or just like supporting local artists? Even if your answer is no to both questions, follow me on social media and subscribe to my blog! You’ll stay up-to-date without the frustrating email blasts clogging your inbox. All items are for sale, unless marked ‘sold’. Prints are available for most drawings and prints. See an item without a price or want to commission a piece? Contact me! As always, thank you for reading!

By Willow Artistry by Christine Wueste

I’ve been crafting my home decor and artwork since I traded my bassinet walls for the real deal. Painting and paper art are my favorites and make up the bulk of my listed pieces. I hope you enjoy my pieces as much as enjoy making them!

1 reply on “Dragonfly Wall Decor: Easy, Free, DIY Tutorial”

[…] Over the years I’ve made a lot of unique home decor. Lots of great feedback. But this endeavor is different somehow. Many of my craft pieces are made of trash or scrap paper. (It’s amazing what you can do with zero budget and too much wall space). A good example is a 54 x 36 inch dragonfly which I crafted entirely from toilet paper rolls, craft glue and spray paint. Learn how to make it here: Dragonfly Wall Decor: Easy, Free, DIY Tutorial […]

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