Iridescent Insects


Fascinated with animal feathers, scales, and shells that seem to change color when they move? Create your own naturally iridescent insect colors!


1. Have you noticed that some insects, birds, or fish seem to change color as they move? What you see is the light hitting the surface and ultraviolet rays bouncing back from different angles. If the animal’s covering (scales, shells, or feathers) reflects light at several different angles, they are often iridescent.

2. Look for pictures of insects that have one main color, but seem to reflect different colors when they move. What are some of your favorite Iridescent Insects? Choose one that appeals to you.

3. Use Crayola® Scissors to cut the insect’s shape out of construction paper that is the main color of the insect. Add six construction paper legs.

4. Glue your insect to white paper with a Crayola Glue Stick.

5. Use a white Crayola Gel Marker to fill in areas where you see iridescent colors on your insect. Color over the marker with the appropriate color of Crayola Gel Markers.

6. Use Crayola Glitter Glue to highlight iridescent areas. Air-dry flat before displaying.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Glitter Glue— WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD—Small parts. Not for children under 3 years. Not for use on skin.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.


  • Visit an insect zoo. Make sketches of insects that have unusual markings or features, such as iridescence.
  • Find other examples of iridescence as they occur in nature (bubbles, birds, tropical fish). Add paint to bubbles and print the bubbles as they pop. Are the bubble colors still iridescent? Why or why not?
  • Explore how light and color are interrelated. What is color? How does reflection work?

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Gel Markers
  • Glue Sticks
  • Glitter Glue
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Construction Paper



  • Grades 1 to 3
  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Science
  • Visual Arts


  • Less than 1/2 hour
  • 30 to 60 minutes


  • Children recognize the relationship between color and reflected ultraviolet light in iridescent insects and other animals.

  • Children examine specimens or pictures of iridescent insects.

  • Children create iridescent insect art.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards