PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Punchneedle Butterfly 3: Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing

I’ve started an ongoing long term craft project to make a group of different butterflies using Punchneedle embroidery – all different colours and shapes but all based on my interpretation of real species – and mount each one individually on a wall so they all ‘fly’ together in a colourful cloud.

It took me the best part of a year to sketch up the design for my next Punchneedle butterfly, and only a few pleasurable hours to transfer my design, punch it, wire the wings, back it with felt, and trim it… You may have seen my in-progress shot a couple of weeks ago on Twitter:

punchneedle butterfly: rajah brooke's birdwing by planetjune

Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing is the national butterfly of Malaysia, and all our attempts to spot one during our trip to Borneo last year were in vain. I decided to make up for that disappointment by creating my own in punchneedle – the bold electric green on black makes for a spectacular design…

punchneedle butterfly: rajah brooke's birdwing by planetjune

Each of my punchneedle butterflies is designed to fit inside a 6″ embroidery hoop, so my collection is definitely not to scale. While my Peacock and Sea Green Swallowtail are both much larger than their real-life counterparts, birdwing butterflies are huge, and my ‘Brooke Butterfly’ (as they called it in Borneo) is actually just about life-sized!

punchneedle butterfly: rajah brooke's birdwing by planetjune

This brings my little collection to three, and I think my butterflies are almost ready to leave the safety of my shelves and migrate to their eventual wall display. I’ll probably get started on that when I’ve completed one more design…

punchneedle butterfly: rajah brooke's birdwing by planetjune

This is a very long-term project for me, but I’m so enjoying seeing my small collection slowly grow with each new butterfly. I think I’ll try to make a Monarch next, although it’ll be fiddly to make: punchneedle is best suited for bold shapes, not fine lines. But the Monarch is my favourite butterfly from my time in Canada, so it wouldn’t feel right to omit it just because it’ll be a challenge.

While it’s a shame that my punchneedle patterns don’t really sell well enough to justify making any more, there’s a silver lining to that too: it gives me the freedom to call this project pure art, with no constraints for making the butterfly designs easy to replicate by others. If that changes at some point in the future, I’d publish all my butterfly patterns as an ebook and grade the designs by difficulty, so it’s still not a bad idea to make my Monarch. And, if not, I’m enjoying making my butterfly collection, and I hope you’re enjoying seeing them!

If this post has piqued your interest in Punchneedle embroidery, take a look at my Punchneedle intro page for information on this craft and how to get started.


  1. inger leivo said

    I`have just now found your site and I love it. I´m a beginner needle punsch

  2. Dianne U said

    I’ve had a punch hook, but no instruction on how to use it. These have inspired me to try to learn more. Butterflies such as your’s are amazing. Even more simple designs would be pretty in different applications. You’ve given my imagination flight, but it will still be great to have more from you. Videos on ALL the steps – start to finish would be extremely helpful for many of us. I hope you have many people interested in this so maybe you’ll think about giving us more of your time and talent in this category. Count me in!!

  3. Theresa said

    Those are amazing.

    • June said

      Thank you, Theresa! I love how they look – they have a really strong visual impact, don’t they?

  4. Lindy said

    Absolutely incredible – they’re all beautiful and I love them. They look fantastic. Love, Lindy xxxx

  5. Adrianna said

    I love your punchneedle patterns and bought several. Will you ever release your butterfly patterns? They are so beautiful!

    • June said

      Thanks so much, Adrianna! See the last paragraph of this post for a brief overview of my current thoughts about making these designs into patterns…

  6. <3 I love this so much!

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