Full of bright colors and loud noises, Chinese New Year begins on February 16 this year (the date of the celebration changes year-to-year because Chinese New Year starts on the second new moon after winter solstice). In ancient times the celebration was actually an effort by villagers to scare away a mythical wild beast named Nien with bright lights and big noises. Nowadays, Chinese New Year is celebrated around the world with family dinners, a thorough house cleaning, fireworks, and parades. Your family can get in on the festivities with three cool crafts perfect for ringing in Chinese New Year!
Paper Plate Chinese Dragon
The dragon is a symbol of China, thought to bring good luck. The dragon dance is a typical part of most Chinese New Year celebrations and it is believed that the longer the dragon dances, the more luck he brings! Make a bit of your own luck with this DIY Chinese Dragon project!
Yellow construction paper
Index cards or card stock paper
Tape or glue
1. Paint your paper plate red.
2. While it’s drying, draw a dragon head on one index card and a tail on another. You can find lots of templates and inspiration online if you’re not a master artist. Color your dragon with vibrant colored markers or crayons.
3. Cut the head and tail out and glue or tape each one to the top of a craft stick. Packing tape works well.
4. Cut a piece of yellow construction paper roughly 1” x 4”, accordion fold it, and tape one end to your dragon’s head and the other to its tail.
5. Use a knife to carefully slice the bottom of the center of the plate and insert your craft sticks into the opening.
Construction Paper Chinese Lantern
Chinese New Year lasts two weeks and culminates with The Lantern Festival. The Lantern Festival is celebrated near the beginning of spring time, when it’s finally warm enough for people to go outside at night. People everywhere head out of doors, carrying lanterns, often red which symbolizes hope, to light their way. Follow the instructions below to create your own Chinese Lanterns!
Red construction paper
Stapler or tape
1. Fold your sheet of construction paper in half, longways, pressing to make a heavy crease at the fold.
2. Cut through the folded edge of the paper, stopping about a ½” from the other side. Continue cutting until you read the other side.
3. Unfold the sheet of paper, and tape or staple the two edges together to form a tube.
4. Add a handle made of a strip of construction paper and embellish your lantern with fringe, ribbon, and stickers. Tape or staple a tube of paper in another color to the inside of your lantern to create a “hurricane” style or add a bit of fringed paper to the bottom edge.
Year of the Dog Layered Art
There are 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac and this year is sizing up to be a dog-gone good one! In China, dogs symbolize good fortune and people born in the Year of the Dog are thought to be loyal, responsible, clever, and brave. You can pay tribute to the Year of the Dog with this lovely paper craft.
Red and yellow construction paper
1. Fold a sheet of yellow construction paper in half and cut a half heart shape with the middle edge on the paper seam – open to reveal a full heart.
2. Paste the heart onto a full sheet of red construction paper.
3. Cut two small triangles of red and glue them into your dog’s “ears”. Use your marker to dot two eyes, a nose, and dog mouth.