For the past few years I have been making butterfly baskets to use as May Day baskets and for Mother's Day........ what is May Day, you ask?
Traditionally May Day is a celebration to welcome warmer weather, beautiful flowers, and the end of the cold winters. It is celebrated on May 1 every year. Parents and children would fill May baskets with candy and flowers and leave them on neighbor's porches, in addition to dancing around May poles.
In my family growing up, May Day meant someone secretly leaving beautifully handmade May baskets on our porch. Now that I am older, I found out that it was my mother and grandmother who made the baskets while my sisters and I were in school. Below is what our May Day baskets looked like. They were made out of crepe paper and covered with flowers that were twisted crepe paper bows.
I would probably get carpal tunnel after making just one basket with all that twisting required. They are beautiful and so traditional. However, my version of a May Day basket these days is the Butterfly basket which could also be used as an Easter basket or Mother's Day basket. In the past, I would make a bunch of these and donate them to a local church:
The above baskets were hand cut using a template printed on pattern paper. Still a lot of work involved in all the manually cutting of templates. I've also been asked to make several of this kind of basket for girl's birthday parties to hold treats at the table.
Today, I can easily make my Butterfly baskets so quickly and easily using a large butterfly die by Nellie Snellen.
The largest die in this set is approximately 4.5" in diameter. That makes for a nice sized basket or shaped card.
To make the baskets, I cut two of the largest butterfly die. For the basket part itself, I cut a strip of cardstock 2" x 6", placed it on a scoring board vertically and scored at 1/2" and 1 1/2". You can make this strip wider, if desired, to get a wider basket (see below).
For a wider basket, cut your strip at 3 x 6 3/4" instead of 2x6
Then turn the paper horizontally on your scoring board and score at 2" and 4". Fold along all the scored lines. Next you want to cut triangles at the 2 and 4" scored lines where they intersect the 1/2" scorings (above photo).
Flip the paper over and adhere double sided tape along all of the 1/2" scored areas:
Remove the double sided tape from just the two center parts of the paper that are between your two vertical score lines. Adhere the butterflies to these center areas with the good sides of the butterflies facing upward as this will be the outside of the basket. Make sure the bottom of the butterfly wings touch the table top when standing up and the bottom of your "box" part is not showing between the bottom wings:
Lie the box on one of the sides so one butterfly is flat on your table, remove the tape covering from the other two sections of the box for the same 1/2" strip your butterfly is on (it's easiest to do just one side at a time) and adhere the sides to the inside of the butterfly, making sure the box edges do not show along the sides of the butterfly:
Flip the box over and do the other side:
Cut a strip of paper for your handle. If you are making the smaller 2x6 box, use a strip of paper approximately 8 1/2" x 1" wide. If making the larger box, use a strip of paper around 10" x 1 1/2". On the wider strip, you have room to use an edge punch or die to make the handle fancy as in the photo below:
(old photo of my baskets before using the butterfly die for the shape of the basket
It's also easiest to embellish the butterfly part of the baskets before attaching to the "box" part.
When you are done, you can either add a tag to the handle or adhere a butterfly.
Here is a photo of the basket with the larger "box" part:
The larger the box, the more room to fill with candy and toys. Add some leaves and an embellishment in the flower center and your basket is done:
You can also make these with a heart shaped die instead of the butterfly:
I will have a tutorial on how to make the daisy on these baskets on Friday, April 15. I used the Tattered Lace Michaelmas Daisy. I also made a matching card to go with the Butterfly Basket:
Other products used on the basket and card:
Golden Lilac Gilding Wax (on the purple larger basket, rubbed on over the embossing)
All of the products used to make the basket and card are available at Ecstasy Crafts..