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How to make your own "butterfly house"

Making a butterfly house that is safe for the butterflies can be both easy and inexpensive. All you need are the following materials:

  • 2 yards (6 feet) of bridal netting with a width of at least 36 inches (48 inches is better)
  • About 2 feet of ribbon or string
  • 2 circles cut from corrugated cardboard, with a diameter of about 14 inches
  • An old tree branch
  • A small, shallow plastic dish or bowl
  • A new plastic pot scrubber (Do not use a scrubber that has ever been used with any cleaning soaps or chemicals.)

Directions for making your butterfly house:

1. Fold your bridal netting into thirds as shown to make a rectangle.

2. Tie one end of your netting closed using a short piece (6 inches or so) of string or ribbon. Be sure to tie the knot securely! If this knot comes loose, you will lose your butterflies!

Build a butterfly house

3. Tie the other open end with the longer piece of string. With the loose ends of this string, tie a loop from which you could hang your butterfly house.

4. Your tube of bridal netting should now be securely tied on both ends, and the only opening into this tube of netting is between the overlapped ends of the netting.

5. Place the circle of cardboard in the bottom of the hanging netting by slipping it in between overlapping layers of netting. Lay the cardboard circle down so that the diameter of the cardboard circle will be parallel to the floor and ceiling when hung. This should both open up the tube of netting and tighten the overlapping layers of netting.

6. Place the second circle of cardboard in the end of the netting from which the house will hang. Secure it with a few spots of hot glue to the netting above the cardboard.

7. Place an old branch in the butterfly house, which will give your butterfly a place to perch.

8. Hang the butterfly house from a hook in your ceiling.

9. Put butterflies into the cage by carefully slipping them between the overlapping sections of netting. Alternatively, hang pupae in the cage so they will emerge inside it. This is easier and safer (for the butterfly) than moving an adult butterfly.


How to keep a butterfly in its new butterfly house:

1. Place a new, plastic potscrubber in a small dish. The dish should be about as high as the potscrubber is tall when sitting in the dish.

2. Mix a solution of sugar and water (one part sugar to four parts water). It is best to boil this solution when you make it in order to dissolve the sugar completely and kill any bacteria that may be present.

3. Pour the sugar solution into the dish with the potscrubber. Use enough sugar solution to fill the dish about half the height of the potscrubber. Refrigerate any extra sugar water for later use.

4. Place the dish with sugar water in the base of the butterfly house so the butterfly can drink. Change the sugar water daily to prevent mold and bacterial growth.

5. Be sure to release your butterfly within a few days so he or she can fly freely and find a mate!