Family activity: Make an animal suncatcher

Make a colourful animal suncatcher inspired by The Postal Museum's collections.


The first time an animal appeared on a British stamp was on a Victorian stamp in 1887 (see below left). Look closely, can you see the lions?

Three stamps.The first stamp on the left is a purple Queen Victoria stamp with tiny lion illustrations and the text '5d Postage Revenue'. The second stamp in the centre is a red, one-penny King George V stamp with a lion illustration. The third stamp on the right is a blue, 10-shilling King George V stamp with an illustration of horses.

For a long time, animals were put on stamps next to the Queen or King’s head. Which animals can you see in the above stamps? Why do you think they picked these animals to put on the stamp next to the King or Queen?

Much later, in the 1960s special stamps were produced that put animals centre stage. Some of the first stamps to feature just animals are these bird ones below.

Two stamps with the silhouette of a young Queen Elizabeth II. One stamp features a drawing of a blue tit, and the other shows a red robin.

Since then, animals on stamps have included cats, dogs, butterflies, dinosaurs, farm animals and many many more. Do you have a favourite animal that you think should be put on a stamp?

Three stamps featuring a photo of a kitten playing, a drawing of a dinosaur skeleton, and an illustration of a butterfly.


Ready to turn that animal into a suncatcher?

Challenge level: Easy

  • Little crafters (7 and under) you may need a grown up to help with scissors.
  • Bigger crafters (8 and over) might like to share the activity with a grown up or a friend for fun.


You will need:

  • An animal-shaped template. We’re using a butterfly shaped one, but you can do whatever you like.
  • 2 sheets of black paper
  • Coloured tissue paper
  • A pair of scissors
  • A pencil
  • A glue stick
  • Blue tack


  • 1. Cut around the butterfly template.


  • 2. Place 2 sheets of black paper together and fold them in half.


  • 3. Place your butterfly template on top of both sheets, with the body of the butterfly next to the fold.


  • 4. Draw and then cut around the template.


  • 5. You should have 2 identical butterfly shapes.


  • 6. Keeping both sets of butterflies together, use your scissors to carefully cut shapes out of the middle of the wings. You can fold the wings here to make cuts in the centre of them.


  • 7. Cut the coloured tissue paper into small pieces.


  • 8. Take one butterfly and use the glue stick to stick the pieces of coloured tissues onto the spaces in the wings.


  • 9. Once you’re happy with your design, and all the wing spaces are filled, glue your second butterfly on top of your first.

  • 10. Your suncatcher is now finished! Use blue tack to stick it to a window so it catches the sunlight.

Try other shapes

You can use the other black paper and the rest of the coloured tissue to create other animal suncatchers of your own design. Have a look at some of the animals on the stamps from The Postal Museum’s collection for some inspiration.


Share your creations

We’d love to see what you’ve created! Share with us on Facebook and Instagram.