Tape Resist Caterpillar Craft

Inside: This monarch caterpillar craft is fun and easy for preschool and up.

A spring thunderstorm knocked out our power this morning, and suddenly it looked like we were done with distance learning for the day. It was a great excuse to get crafting. There are lots of great caterpillar crafts out there, but we had something specific in mind… We pulled out the watercolors and created a fun tape resist monarch caterpillar craft.

Monarch Caterpillars

When we raised a monarch butterfly from a chrysalis that we found on milkweed in our yard, the kids had tons of questions. I knew the answers to most of them, but I had to go reading about monarch butterflies to learn more.

For instance, did you know that when monarchs emerge in the spring or early summer they soon lay eggs, but when they emerge in the late summer or fall, they know to migrate? Pretty cool, huh!

To help you out, I searched for a kid-friendly video that shows the monarch butterfly life cycle, and I really liked this one. The middle slow motion part is a little… well… slow – but you can skip through it or use that time to answer kids’ questions if your young viewers get restless. (The whole thing is just over 4 minutes long).

Caterpillar Craft

Let’s get to the craft now.

It took me a few tries to figure out how to make this tape resist art 2-color, but still easy for little hands. Here’s what we ended up with…

Supplies You’ll Need

  • White cardstock
  • Masking tape
  • Watercolor paint
  • Water cup
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Optional: Exacto knife
  • Permanent Markers: black + 1 color
  • Glue stick and school glue
  • Googly eye


  1. Print out this caterpillar outline template, or draw your own.
  2. Cut a length of masking tape in half lengthwise so that it’s about 1 cm wide. Then snip it into pieces aprox. 5 cm (2 inches) long. You can do this with scissors, but if you have an Exacto knife, it’s even easier: Just stick the tape down on a cutting surface, and run the knife along it. You can even cut the horizontal pieces that way too.
  3. For very young children you may want to do step #1 below for them.


  1. Stick pairs of tape across the caterpillar outline. You’re aiming for a super skinny letter V.

2. Paint black watercolor over the whole thing. Make sure to get every nook and cranny of white on the caterpillar.

3. Let the paint dry well. This is a good time to read a caterpillar book, or do our hungry caterpillar hole punching activity!

4. You’ll only be pulling off every other pair of tape strips, so it’s helpful to mark them first. See the pink dots?

5. Now peel up the tape pairs that you marked. Pull slowly and carefully so as not to tear the paper. (an adult should probably do this step – especially for more perfectionist kiddos). If the paint on the tape crackles into paint dust (ours did), just blow it up and off the caterpillar craft.

6. Paint the revealed white areas with yellow watercolor. The yellow will show on top of the black paint, so take some care to stay in the lines. You can fix any goofs with a black Sharpie once it dries though.

7. Now peel up the remaining tape, cut out the caterpillar, and glue it onto green paper. Then add a googly eye. Draw on legs and antennae.

(We ran out of green construction paper, so that’s why you see two squares taped together here.)

It looks a tiny bit like the real thing, right? Except for the googly eye…

I went looking for a monarch caterpillar picture to show you, and this is what I found.
She’s not one of mine, but isn’t she sweet? Caterpillars are so enthralling!

If your kids loved this activity, you can read about more tips and another cool idea for tape resist painting or, for older kids, just give them the right materials and see what they come up with!

Our power did finally come back on, of course, but we didn’t rush back onto our screens. As I started writing this, the kids were outside playing – where they should be – enjoying what turned out to be a pretty spring day. I’m secretly hoping they’ll find another caterpillar or chrysalis out there to keep this little paper caterpillar craft company.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.