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How to Make a Chinese New Year Dragon Craft

How to Make a Chinese New Year Dragon Craft

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Are you looking for a Chinese New Year dragon craft to make with your kids this year? Check out these adorable cardboard Chinese dragon puppets that are so cute!
This post about how to make a Chinese New Year Dragon Craft was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Growing up, I never really heard much about Chinese New Year. And when I finally did, I think we celebrated by eating fortune cookies.

I’m really thankful that these days, there is SO much more awareness about cultural traditions, holidays, and world celebrations.

My husband’s family is from Hong Kong and Chinese New Year is a REALLY big deal for us.

We usually do a huge family dinner the night before the first day of Chinese New Year and it’s full of yummy food and lots of red envelopes stuffed with cash.

This year, it’s going to be very different as we’re not getting together with family.

So, in an effort to create some new activities for Chinese New Year, we’re going to make these cute Chinese dragon puppets out of cardboard tubes.

This kids Chinese New Year craft is pretty awesome because you can make it any year to celebrate, not just the Year of the Dragon. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit.

Whether you are looking for Chinese New Year crafts for kids, teens, or adults, this one is sure to be a hit!

Chinese New Year Dragon Craft Tutorial

These are the materials you need to create DIY Chinese Dragon Puppets. Image of craft supplies including flowers, googly eyes, craft sticks, a paintbrush, and more.

Chinese Dragon Craft Materials

Learn how to make this Chinese New Year kids craft. Image of a cardboard tube Chinese Dragon puppet.

How to Make a Chinese New Year Dragon Puppet

Cut both large cardboard tubes into three equal pieces (about 3 inches long.) Depending on your desired length, you can use four to five of these cardboard tube pieces. 

Cut your cardboard tubes into 6 pieces to make this Chinese New Year craft. Image of a cut up paper towel roll.

From the sixth tube, cut a curve into one side so it will rest on another tube to form the head of the dragon.

Find out how to make this Chinese New Year art and craft. Image of a cut up paper towel roll.

Then, cut a piece about 2 inches wide.

Cut one of the pieces into a smaller piece.

Glue this piece towards one side of a cardboard tube to create the head.

Glue the smaller piece to the larger piece to form the head of your Chinese New Year dragon puppet.
Glue the little piece to the larger piece to form the dragon puppet head

On the opposite side, cut a curve so the body will fit together with other pieces and have room to move.

On each of the other cardboard tubes, cut a curve in each side so that the body will have room to move when they are attached. Punch a hole in each pointed side created by removing a curve.

Cut a hole in the cardboard tube to make this Chinese New Year art project.

Paint the cardboard tube pieces with red paint and allow them to dry completely.

Use the red paint to paint your Chinese New Year dragon craft pieces red.

Once dry, decorate the dragon head using the paper flowers, buttons, and googly eyes.

Decorate these Chinese Dragon Puppets with googly eyes, flowers, and buttons.

To create the golden flames from the mouth, cut lengths of ribbon and attach them together before gluing to the inside of the dragon’s mouth.

Cut a bunch of gold ribbon to create the dragon flames coming from your Chinese New Year dragon craft.

Connect the body pieces using brads.

Connect the Chinese New Year dragon craft pieces together with brads.

Decorate the rest of your Chinese paper dragon craft with flowers.

Decorate your Chinese New Year dragon puppet with paper flowers.

To make a puppet, use scissors or a craft knife to make a small cut on the bottom of the head and the last piece of the body.

Cut a small slice into the paper towel roll to turn this into a Chinese New Year Dragon Craft Puppet.

Poke a craft stick into each hole to create a stick puppet.

Insert the craft stick into each hole to make this a Chinse New Year Dragon Puppet.

And that’s it! Now you have an adorable Chinese dragon craft to make this year!

Looking for Chinese New Year kids crafts? Learn how to make this Chinese New Year dragon puppet by top Seattle mom blog Marcie in Mommyland

Chinese Dragon Puppet Craft FAQs

What is a Chinese dragon puppet craft?

A Chinese dragon puppet craft is a DIY project where you create a representation of a Chinese dragon, often used in festivals and celebrations, using various materials. In this case, the main body of the dragon is made from a paper towel roll, with other items adding detail and color.

How do I start making the dragon puppet?

You would typically start by painting the paper towel roll, which forms the body of the dragon. After it dries, you can then add details such as googly eyes, a ribbon tongue, and button or brad spikes.

What age group is this craft suitable for?

This craft is suitable for a wide range of ages, but younger children may need adult assistance with certain steps like using glue or handling brads. It’s a fun activity for school-aged kids who can handle the materials safely.

Can this craft be educational?

Yes, this craft can be a fun way to introduce children to Chinese culture and the significance of the dragon in Chinese mythology and celebrations. It also encourages creativity, improves fine motor skills, and can teach kids about recycling and reusing materials.

What can I do with the dragon puppet once it’s finished?

The dragon puppet can be used for imaginative play or as part of a Chinese New Year celebration. It can also be used for storytelling, puppet shows, or as a decorative piece.

Do I need any specific tools for this craft?

Apart from the materials mentioned, you may need a paintbrush for painting the paper towel roll and a pair of scissors for cutting the ribbon. Always remember safety first when using scissors or dealing with small parts like brads and buttons.

Can I customize the dragon puppet?

Absolutely! You can customize your dragon puppet however you want. Use different colors of paint or ribbons, add glitter or other decorations, or even make a family of dragons. The only limit is your imagination!

Chinese New Year Craft Wrap Up

Our Chinese dragon puppet craft is a fantastic way to infuse a bit of culture, creativity, and hands-on fun into your Lunar New Year celebration.

Crafted with simple household items like a paper towel roll, buttons, and ribbon, this project is not only accessible but also a great way to teach children about reusing and recycling materials.

But these vibrant dragon puppets are more than just an artistic endeavor. They open a window to a rich cultural tradition, introducing children to the significant role of dragons in Chinese mythology and Lunar New Year celebrations.

It’s an opportunity for kids to learn while they create, building a deeper understanding and appreciation for a festival celebrated by millions around the world.

Whether it’s used for an educational activity, an addition to your Lunar New Year decor, or a playful prop for imaginative storytelling, this dragon puppet is sure to add a spark of excitement and color to your festivities.

So gather your materials, round up your little artists, and let the crafting begin! Here’s to a creative and joyous Lunar New Year filled with the roars of homemade dragons and the delighted laughter of children.

May this activity bring as much joy to your home as it does color and cheer to the Lunar New Year celebrations. Happy crafting and Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Looking for more Chinese New Year content? Find out 10 easy ways to celebrate Chinese New Year, how to make a Chinese New Year cootie catcher, and how to make Ling Ling potstickers!

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