Learn how to make 3D paper insects and study insect anatomy with this printable insect kit!

Printable Insects

Insects are fascinating! For a start, they live very close to us, as a natural part of our surroundings. Compare how often one sees a live bear with how many encounters one has with flies, or bees, or ants! We depend on insects to pollinate and protect our crops. They play other important roles in ecosystems. But they also cause immeasurable harm to us by destroying crops, spreading disease, ruining buildings, etc. Some people are frightened by insects, and some are enamoured. There is a good case for both and an even better one for studying them.

Using our printable insects kit, children will read about four common insects, take a close look at their fascinating anatomy and, finally, learn how to make 3D paper models of them with the printable templates and step-by-step instructions.

The insect paper models are realistic yet vastly magnified, so the experience is akin to using a microscope. Children will have a chance to take a closer look and study the intricate structure of insect legs or admire the vibrant colouration of a butterfly.

3D Paper Butterfly Model

Inside the 3D Paper Insects Kit

In the pack, you will find:

  • General introduction to insect anatomy
  • Pages with labelled anatomy drawings of insects as well as their Latin name, geographical position, information on their life cycle, and noteworthy anatomical facts
  • Templates for making paper models of four insects (vivid dancer damselfly, Canadian tiger swallowtail butterfly, seven-spotted ladybug, and the treehopper Archasia belfragei)
  • Step-by-step tutorial on how to build the models

For instance, these are the damselfly pages – the information page, the pattern, and the instructions for assembly. You can either print the instructions or open them on the screen of a computer/tablet/phone.

How to Make Paper Insects

How to Use the Printable Insects Kit

First, read the introduction to get excited about the project and to learn some general facts about insects and their anatomy. There you can find out that:

  • Insects make up about 90% of animal species living on our planet.
  • There are more than one million species of insects that have been studied and documented by scientists.
  • There may be as many as 6-10 million species of insects on Earth, including those not yet described.
  • Insects are incredibly varied but have the same basic body structure.

Second, read the specific information about each of the four insects. Find the similarities and differences. Each of the insects has a few interesting facts from their life cycle described below, as well as any noteworthy peculiarities of their anatomy.

Insect Anatomy for Kids

Third, read the instructions on how to make the 3D paper insects and build them, with an emphasis on reinforcing what was learned about their anatomy. The hands-on part of the learning experience makes it personable and memorable. Children can play with the insects later, make stop animation videos, or simply put them up as decorations.

If your children have ever wanted an insect collection, here is their chance to get an easy start! These 3D paper insects don’t have to be caught yet look great on display.

Paper Insect Models on Display

How to Make 3D Paper Insects

In order to build the insect paper models, you will need a printer to print the templates, scissors, and glue. It is preferable if you use cardstock, though plain paper could work as well. For glue, you can use a hot glue gun to speed up the process, but a glue stick or white glue would work too, if small children are involved. Just leave the parts to dry for a while between steps.

Printable Insect Templates

If you have a Silhouette or a Cricut machine, you can also upload the PNG designs into the program and have the machine cut it for you. I did it with our Silhouette machine. I love that device for all kinds of papern crafts, from paper dolls to shadow puppets.

Once the parts are cut-out, it should take about 5-20 minutes to assemble each insect, following the instructions. Each individual printable insect model comes with step-by-step instructions. The ladybug and the treehopper are quite easy, so start with them.

The butterfly and the damselfly consist of more steps, so try them afterwards.

More About Insects

Draw the missing half of an insect to make the picture complete! These drawing prompts are good for children learning the concept of symmetry and, of course, for all young entomologists.

Draw the Missing Half Insect Prompts

Some insects are amazing builders. Learn all about the structures they build with animal engineering prompts!

Animal Houses Engineering Prompts

Learn about endangered insects – and other animals – with Endangered Animal Guess Who board game!

Endangered Animals Guess Who Board Game

When you build paper models, we’ll be delighted to see your results! Tag us on facebook or instagram (@adventureinabox).