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How to Face Paint - Butterfly Face Paint Tutorial

How Do You Paint A Butterfly Mask?

Below you are going to see a great tutorial for butterfly face painting, and as you scroll down you will see that we updated this post with 75+ butterfly face painting inspiration for 2024. Some cakes used in this blog may have been discontinued, but we still carry a huge variety of rainbow cakes to choose from to paint very pretty butterflies. If you don't use rainbow cakes you can scroll farther down to see designs done without them. 

Follow these easy steps to create an amazing looking butterfly painted by the amazing Elodie Ternois-Biségna, a certified qualified face painter by the International Face Painting School and owner of Lodi Up Face and Body Painters. Follow the step by steps below and hear what she has to say about the products she used for this particular design!

Leanne's tropical butterfly” by Global Colours is just beautiful! It’s one of my favorite cakes! The colors are very vibrant, almost electric, and bright when applied to the skin. Application is very easy with a face paint sponge. As a tip, I suggest you spray your sponge with water rather than spraying water directly on the cake, that way you will keep the separation of colors. This rainbow has a "wow" effect and will make little girls very happy!" 

"The 098 TAP Stencil by Jest Paint is a pretty and easy-to-use ornament. It is perfect for any design. Here I used it to make the body of the butterfly. It adds a touch of elegance and detail quickly to your designs. I highly recommend this stencil in your face painting kit."

Materials used:
Global Colours Leanne's Tropical Butterfly for the base (This cake has been discontinued, we suggest this replacement Fusion New Unicorn Party)
Global Colours Pearl Magenta for the lip color (This cake has been discontinued - we suggest this replacement Fusion Pearl Magenta Dreams)
TAG Regular White for the highlights
Loew-Cornell Brush Round #2 for the dots (This brush has been discontinued, here is it's twin King Art Round #3)
Loew-Cornell American Painter Angular 1/2 for butterfly contour (This brush has been discontinued, we recommend this one Bolt Medium Angle Brush)
Splash Teardrop Sponge for the wings
Jest Paint TAP Stencil Number 098 for the centerpiece 

Step 1- Load the teardrop sponge with paint from your rainbow cake and pat the wing shapes above and below the eyes.

Step 2- Load your 1/2" angle or flat brush with the colors from darker side of the cake and paint scallops that edge the wings. Three scallops on top and three on the bottom is just enough. Make sure they are different widths in order to make the design look more interesting and alive. 

Step 3 - Load a dry sponge with slightly moist face paint and use a stencil to apply the centerpiece. 

Step 4 - Use white for highlight dots of different sizes, and a pretty color like Pearl Magenta for the lips. 

Since butterflies are one of the most popular designs for face painting, we are going to add more butterfly step by steps and inspiration pictures from fellow face painters around the world! Check them out below!

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How to Paint A Simple Set of Butterfly Wings?

I painted the design above on Oceana using the same sponge technique using a large rainbow cake, but I used a 1 stroke that didn't have a dark enough edge so I decided to outline the design in Fusion Magic Dark Blue. Notice the simple butterfly body of three different size dots connects and long swirling antennas.
The step by step above incorporates some baby butterflies between the wings using the TAP Butterfly Stencil. I added white outline inside the black outline to really make it pop. Notice how the three teardrops by the edges of the eyes leave the wings a little more open and flowy. They also mimic eye lashes. 
Pintando Lunitas Butterfly Face Paint
Pintando Lunitas made this design with a very simple Butterfly Face Paint and just added some flowers to add details to the design. Some flowers are double dip petals while the ones on the forehead are pretty one stroke flowers. 
Cara Drum Butterfly Face Painting
Cara Drum created this sweet simple Butterfly Face Painting and didn't even have to outline with a round brush because she used such a bold rainbow cake for the outer edge with her flat or angle brush. If you struggle with fine outlining you should really give this technique a try if you haven't yet. Learn more about this below.
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How to Paint Fancy Butterfly Face Paint Designs?


Susy Amaro Funny Cheeks Face Painting Butterfly Face Painting Design Idea
Susy used lots of cake to create this beautiful butterfly with a bright pink to white edge. Her loose flowing swirls and little bright dots of colors give this design so much movement!
Em'azing Faces by Emily Pink Butterfly

You can paint really fancy looking butterflies by using rainbow cakes and adding bling and glitter to enhance them. Add extra details like flowers, rainbows, hearts or multiple layers of out line in dark and light colors.

Erika Hotchkin Painted On Chaim Taraselli Butterfly
Chaim Taraselli was painted by fellow artist,  Erika Hotchkin. There are hearts and flowers and rainbows added to this Water Melon Colored butterfly. It is full a of movement and highlights her beautiful eyes so well!
Christi Draves Beautiful Butterfly Face Painting Idea This beautiful butterfly face paint design by Christi Draves was based big enough that there was room for a few levels of one stroke scallops inside the wings.
.............milena face artist beautiful face painting butterfly.jpg
This Butterfly Face Paint design by Milena Potekhina is so delicate, with lower wings that fade into the child's skin tone. Her fine one stroke edges and layering of strokes inside other to create spots on the wings is so amazing. Once again the Bling adds an extra level of magic to this pretty butterfly design. 

 Ruth Deet used bold warm colors with a dark 1 stroke outline to capture this little cutie in all of her butterfly rainbow glory! The rainbow arched across the forehead joining the wings is a popular way to paint a butterfly if you don't want to paint the butterfly body on the face...or if the kid just loves rainbows! Adding stenciled on stars and Chunky Glitter adds details to this design.

 Susy used warm and cool colors for extra contrast on this one stroke butterfly. She didn't use a sponge base to create this face paint design. She started with the orange outline shape and then filled it in with blue strokes and then used the flat brush like a knife to create long thin lines. She outlined this beautiful design with silver liquid glitter bling.

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How to Paint a Fairy Butterfly Face Paint Design?

Anna Wilinski Face Paint Butterfly Idea
I made a cool colored base and then did the line work in green, but stepped it up a notch by highlighting the tops of the green lines and adding black thin shadow lines under them. It gives a floating effect that I love. I added the Dancing Fairy Stencil by TAP and little three petal flowers to tie in the other side of the face.

Svetlana Keller from Sparkling Faces Painted this fantastic butterfly with the rainbow arch, and added another twist by stenciling on a Diva Fun Fairy #8 stencil over the rainbow. She added little hearts to give it a Valentine's Day look. 

Here is another example of how you can sponge on a base like the one above but use the butterfly wings to create a fairy. Just stencil the TAP Dancing Little Fairy on the side of the nose or forehead.

Milena Potekhina Butterfly Fairy

The client can also be the Butterfly Fairy if you don't want to draw a fairy in the design. This delicate design by Milena Potekhina uses tiny thin white linework and double dip petals around the wings. She added some amazing bling to turn this into a butterfly fairy princess. 


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How to Paint a Henna Style Face Paint Butterfly?

Henna Butterfly design by Anna Wilinski
Here is a sample of a design just painted with one strokes. I added white dots over the dark berry color near the eyes to brighten them up. 
...........................Milena Potekhina Butterfly Design with Stencil - Easy Face Painting
Milena used the same technique as Elodie did above but only sponged on the top wings and made one stroke swoops on the cheekbones when she outlined the top wings with the blue gradient. Milena added flowing teardrops and made use of her Henna Centerpiece Stencil for extra details.
------------Andrea Ka Henna Style Butterfly
Andrea Ka Henna Style Butterfly using stencils and warm colors.


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How to Paint A Frozen Butterfly Face Design?

Linnea  Novak Frozen Butterfly.jpg
Linnea Novak painted this dramatic Frozen Butterfly with a blue one stroke cake and white details. The Bling centerpiece gives it that Frozen Princess flair!
Natalee Davies Frozen Butterfly Face Paint Design
Natalee Davies's take on a Frozen Princess Butterfly Face Paint Design is breathtaking! Look at the white to silver edging, the arch joining the wings, the white pearl dots over the arch, the bling with antennas and the dripping icicles off the lower wings. 
Nicola Patterson one stroke frozen butterfly face painting design

 Nicola Patterson from Stardust Face Painting painted this precious one stroke frozen butterfly face painting design using blue and purple 1 stroke cakes and added some white dots for a snowy effect. The small wings and simple details make this design look so dainty!

Anna Wilinski Frozen Butterfly Face Paint Eye Mask Design Carnaval
This frosty butterfly was painted with Superstar Shimmer Colors and bright white for icy highlights. I used the TAP Ornate Heart Stencil for the centerpiece and details in the lower wings.
FROZEN BUTTERFLY - FB Linnéa Önnerby Novak from Linnéas Ansiktsmålning - IG linneanovak - 12
This is a very dramatic frozen ice butterfly by FB Linnéa Önnerby Novak from Linnéas Ansiktsmålning - (IG linneanovak)

Natalee Davies Butterfly Princess

Natalee Davies Frozen Butterfly Princess has elegant colors inspired by the girls dress and snowflakes to add the icy feel. You can use Natalee Davies Gold Range Palette or Nature Palette made by Fusion for your own incredible butterfly designs!


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 How to Face Paint Sunset Colored Butterfly Designs?

Tyra Jones Butterfly Face Paint
Tyra Jones painted this super sun set inspired butterfly face paint with a bold orange and yellow and white edge! Look how she used Festival Glitter to paint the body of the butterfly!
Buttar Cups butterfly.jpgButtercups painted this sunset colored butterfly and used stripes and tear drops to create an open flowing outline. The pearls on the forehead dress this design up a lot, making it perfect for a princess party!
Gio Guzman Butterfly face paint design one stoke
Gio Guzman created these butterfly princess faces and really boosted up the centerpieces to make them extra magical! There is a such a big difference in the two designs just based on if she edged them with a lighter or darker color. 
Lydia Hermann Butterfly Face Paint Frisbee Stencil
Lydia Hermann painted this beautiful sunset colored butterfly and added flower details using the Frisbee Stencil.
Natalee Davies Sunset Butterfly Face Painting Design
Natalee Davies created this beautiful butterfly with a purple and gold edged cake for the outer edges of the wing and an orange and yellow cake for the inner wings. She added a little green in there to add the eye spot pops on the wings and finished the design off with a lovely bling!

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How do You Paint a Butterfly Unicorn Mask?

Andrea Ka Butterfly Unicorn - Buttercorn
Andrea Ka  painted this blue and purple Unicorn Butterfly, or  Buttercorn, as I like to call it. Just put a 3d or painted on unicorn horn between your butterfly wings, and Walla! The kids will love this mashup!

Here is another design by Elodie from Lodie Up Face Painting using the TAP Prancing Unicorn Stencil  and the TAP Magical Stars Stencil to create a Unicorn Butterfly Design. 

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Two stamps of the sponge for the upper wing and one for the bottom wing is perfect for a nice sized butterfly. After that quick sponging you have the freedom to outline however your feel flows and draws attention to your clients eyes!
Butterfly Wing Face Paint Line Work Options 
I painted this to show you another simple line work option for painting your butterfly wing outlines. For the top wings I painted a big arch, three little arches and then a swirl coming from the crack of the  outer eye and reaching up to the little scallops and swirling into the wing. The bottom wing in just three large half arches and a swirl from the bottom of the eye coming down and curling in towards the nose. 
How to sponge on a butterfly wing base

Here I am using a half moon sponge to work the rainbow colors around the eye in a fanned out shape, keeping the sponge tight near the eye and wider by the hair line. 


Face Painting Butterfly designs by Anna Wilinski
Let your creativity go wild when trying out new butterfly designs. You don't have to paint your butterflies like any body else. Play with colors, shapes, themes, be inspired by nature and modern day inventions like cartoons, technology etc. Think to yourself...what if? What if I added a vine to my wing, or bright white eye spots, or edged the wings like they were feathers, or surrounded the wing with a wreath of purple flowers?
Line Work Butterfly Anna Wilinski Face Painter
Above I used the same cakes, but I wanted to show the difference between keeping a nice space between the wings or having them touch. The wings on the left look cool with the heavier line work to break them up a little, but I prefer an nice split at the corner of the eye so they really look like two separate wings.
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How Do I Paint Butterfly Wings with a Flat Brush?

Wing face paint designs
If you don't want to sponge a base and just want to use a flat brush, take a look at how I made Small strokes first and then went around them with larger strokes that have scalloped and pointed tips.

 For this butterfly design I used one cake to do the outer edge of the wing and then I alternated between two cakes to do the inner scallops. You will notice that underlining the eye in a darker color helps pull everything together and make the butterfly design a little more dramatic.

Anna Wilinski Face Paint Butterfly Design Idea
I had fun using four different cakes to paint this butterfly mask with a heart center. I played with large and small strokes of different shapes and outlines them in a variety of ways with black face paint. The few white highlights on the butterfly wings really made this face painting design pop.
Gio Guzman Butterfly Face painting design
Gio Guzman Butterfly Face painting design with the rainbow arch looks so pretty with the strong contrast in color strokes. Mixing warm and cool colors together always stands out! She used a flat or angle brush for all of the strokes in this design. 

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How to Paint Fast One Eye Butterfly Designs?

Painting just one eye means you can either paint twice as many kids in the same amount of time or you can focus a lot of time and creativity into one butterfly wing instead of two. You don't have to worry about symmetry between two sets of wings, and some times people don't want their whole face covered in paint. I also paint just one wing more often than I do two because I paint one side of the face better than the other. 

Face Painting Butterfly design by Anna Wilinski 1 stroke
When I painted this butterfly I didn't paint under her eyes, I had all of the strokes from the lower wing come out of the corner of her eye. Avoiding the bottom of the eye is nice for people who are not enjoying the application process too much and  it is easier for symmetry. 
Nury Matarrita Vargas butterfly face painting
Nury Matarrita Vargas tested the limits with the wing size on this beautiful butterfly face painting. Since it was half a face design she edged the wing with little double dip flowers and petals and painted lips and matching eye shadow. 
Anna Wilinski Face painting Butterfly
One butterfly wing with lots of flowers makes a pretty eye design! I used Fusion Sea Creatures for the outer edge around a white base. 
Anna Butterflies  Wing Face Paint

Draj Devlekar edited this picture of me. Isn't it cool?

Graffiti Butterfly
This boho kind of graffiti butterfly is perfect if you have some extra time to add details! I used a rake brush to add all of the fine white feathery lines and rows of dots. 
Pam Kinnenberg Butterfly Design
Look at the creativity of Pam Kinnenberg from Pikadilly Face Painting! This Monarch Butterfly with rainbow going between the wings is so pretty!
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What Kind of Brushes and Sponges Should I use to Face Paint a Butterfly?

Face paint steps for Butterfly designs

When you paint flowers you learn how to paint these petal strokes by creating series of arches, sometimes a petal is just one arch with a tight base, or three or more arches. For the butterfly design on the left I went petal crazy and fanned them all around the eyes, but keeping the wing shape in tact. 


For the design on the right I painted the left wing with long strokes that go thick to thin by dragging the bristles of the 3/4" flat brush away from the eye, and then twisting the brush to form a point. The wing on the right is just a series of scallops and wavy strokes layered around the eye. 

Face painting butterfly tutorial ideas

I like to alternate between using flat and filbert brushes for my butterfly wings. You can also use angle brushes for those scalloped edges. Have fun trying different looks with different strokes and layering methods. See how on the filbert image the left wing was made with long flowing drops in two different color combo loads. In that same image the wing on the right had one set of tear drops on the outer edge and a blue and yellow combo closer to the eye. 
For the 3/4" Bolt Brush I made some strokes with pointed tips to create the left wing, while on the right they are all rounded arches.

For a more exciting looking design I like to make some of the strokes longer and reaching our farther to the edges of the hairline, while I keep other strokes shorter. This creates for visual interest and a look of movement.

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How to Do Butterfly Face Paint - 2 Easy Steps

Sponge Base Butterfly design ideas

You can use Splash Tear Drop Shaped Sponges for easy butterfly bases. You can also use Splash Half Moon Sponges. See all of our face painting sponges here!


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Step by Step Butterfly Face Paint Design with Rainbow Cakes

Butterfly face painting design step by step - Anna Wilinski
Step 1  I used a sunset base applied with a Splash tear drop sponge.
Step 2 I used a Bolt 3/4" flat brush loaded with a purple and blue one stroke cake to do the wavy edging around the top and bottom wings. Always make sure that the color that will touch your sponge work will blend in nicely.
Step 3 I added double dip petals using a Bolt Blooming Brush at the inner and outer corners of the eyes and between the eye brows. Some little white tear drops and yellow dots added just enough detail to finish off this pretty design. 

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 One Eyes butterfly design face painting in Blues
If you don't use one stroke cakes you can sponge on a base by loading two colors or shades of the same color on a sponge and then adding free form line work. This Pretty Blue butterfly wing has more added drama with the black cat eye. I used a rake brush to add the lines of white dots on the black line work. 
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How do You  Paint a Spider Man Themed Butterfly?

Kay Norris Butterfly Spiderman face painting
This Cute Spiderman inspired Butterfly, painted by Kay Norris, has a red base and black and white line work. This would be a very fast and easy butterfly design to do for spidey fans!
Angela Fodor Munsell The Face Paintertainer - Spidey Butterfly
Angela Fodor Munsell The Face Paintertainer's Twist on the  Spidey Butterfly. Notice how both designs used red gems for the body to glam the design up!

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How do I paint  Purple Butterfly Eye Design?

Purple Butterfly Face Paint design on Anna
For this simple butterfly, I just used a lilac base applied with a filbert brush and a dark purple outline does with a small angle brush. The matching lips make this simple design stand out. I painted  a diamond the on forehead and added a bling cluster on top to dress it up, along with some silver glitter on the wings. 
Chaim Taraselli Buttefly Face Paint
Chaim Taraselli painted this pretty purple butterfly with a body made out of hearts! Chaim outlined the wings in a darker purple and then white to make them extra fancy!
Leanne Courtney Purple Butterfly Design
Leanne Courtney painted this simple pink and purple butterfly design by sponging a base and then 1 stroking the purple edges. She added double dip flower petals and white swirls and dots to add fast details to the design. 

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How do I paint a Pink Butterfly Eye Design?

Natalee Davies Pink Butterfly

Natalee Davies Perfect Pink Butterfly! How do you paint a butterfly this amazing? With a lot of practice and taking the time to wiggle your brush to get that amazing edge on the outer and inner wing strokes. Natalee Davies has inspired thousands of artists with her butterfly designs, be sure to look her up for classes and more inspiration!

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This bright orange butterfly really pops with the dark blue metallic squiggly line work. I added little brush strokes of yellow, pink. I added teal dots with yellow highlights for the body and wing spots. Going all orange could be good for a Halloween Theme butterfly as well!
FB Linnéa Önnerby Novak from Linnéas Ansiktsmålning - IG linneanovak - 15.jpg
Check out this Tigerfly by  FB Linnéa Önnerby Novak from Linnéas Ansiktsmålning (IG linneanovak). Linnéa painted a yellow and orange base and added tiger stripes on the wings and even made the antenna and body look like tiger stripes. The gold lips and black under eye liner really make this design stand out! 


If you have an holiday theme to stick to, but you know the kids are going to want their favorite butterfly, here are ways that you can combine the theme with flutter wings! 

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How to Paint a 4th of July Patriotic Butterfly?

Patriotic Butterfly design by Anna Wilinski Face Painter
I painted this butterfly design for 4th of July. I sponged on a mix of pearl blues and then added red, white and blue teardrops to edge the wings in a loose flowing way, kind of like fireworks going off. 
Svetlana Keller Patriotic Buttefly Face Paint Design
This cute butterfly by Svetlana could be an inspiration for a 4th of July Butterfly Mash up. If you use red instead of pink it would really ring Independence Day.
Linnea Novak Avenger Butterfly Face Painting
Here is a cool Captain America themed butterfly design in red white and blue by Linnea Novak. She used a blue gradient rainbow cake and added some bling and an A stencil. 

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How to Paint a St. Patrick's Day Butterfly?

Green Butterfly face painting Alyson Harris

 Decked out in glitter, this green butterfly face painting by Alyson Harris is perfect for St. Patrick's Day! I like how she made the butterfly body a work of art with the gradual line of dots and painted swirls on the wings on the forehead instead of connected to the head of the butterfly for an artistic twist. 

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How Do I Face Paint A Valentines Day Butterfly Eye Mask?

Gio Guzman Face Painting Butterfly Design Valentine's Day Twist
Gio Guzman created this pretty face painting butterfly design with a Valentine's Day feel, just by adding the large heart on the forehead. She cleverly filled in the white heart with a pink heart stencil pattern.
Fairy Valentines Day Butterfly Design by Anna Wilinski
I used three stencils to help me paint this pretty Valentine's Day Butterfly Fairy. If you are interested in adding them to your collection, they are the TAP Ornate Heart, TAP Sitting Sweet Fairy and TAP Hearts.  The TAP Ornate heart is perfect for adding details in a butterfly wing!

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How to Paint a Butterfly with Roses?

Buttefly rose face paint design
This design mixes long green strokes with the flat brush and red roses to create a rose garden butterfly design! Tie it all together with tear drops and pink lips and you will have some very happy customers. 
Andrea KA Rose with face paint butterfly
Andrea KA painted this simple pink one stroke rose with a face paint butterfly mask. 
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How to do Easy Butterfly Face Paint?

This is a super face design that you can do for school events. 


magenta line

How Do I Paint a Water Color Style Butterfly?


This is a more elaborate butterfly design, perfect for someone who wants something unique! 

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What are some Good Tips for Cheek Art and Body Art Butterfly Painting?

Body art Butterfly designs by Anna Wilinski

Body Art Butterflies can come in all sorts of styles and painted in many ways. The ones above show two styles of line work in the same wing shapes. One is kind of clam shell feathery and the bottom one is more swirly stain glass like.  

Butterfly Body Art Painting by Anna Wilinski

The butterflies above have no black line work. You don't need it to make a dramatic pair of wings. Just choose a contrasting color to the wing base, be it white, pink, blue or teal. 

Butterfly Arm Art Face and Body Painting by Anna Wilinski

I like to add white hash marks and stars around my butterflies. You can make the wings sleek and compact or big and fluffy. 

Arm painting Butterflies by Anna Wilinski 

I had fun throwing diamonds in wings on the butterfly on the bottom left and painting part of the other top wing. The right one is a sunset butterfly.

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How to Paint a Butterfly Necklace?

Body Painting Butterfly

This lady requested a butterfly necklace with  a lot of coverage. Make sure to keep a flow going for a décolletage look. I added the shoulder butterflies just for fun and made sure that it matched her tank top. Always look at what the person is wearing to see how you can add a little color from their outfit into the design. 

Don't forget to visit Elodie's 




 page. She is the queen of unicorns and all things pretty!!
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