Whether you are celebrating the Chinese New Year, or holding a cultural festival or lesson about China, it's fun to make brightly colored Chinese decorations for the festivities. Children and adults will agree that cheerful decorations will spruce up any party, and allowing your guests to help make the decorations can be a great way to get a celebration started. Follow these simple instructions to make Chinese paper lanterns and a dragon's head out of a paper bag.
Paper Chinese Lanterns
Lay your piece of construction paper in front of you, horizontally, on the table. Cut off a one-inch strip from one side, and set it aside for now. Take the top two edges and fold them over to meet the bottom two edges. Crease the fold with your fingernail.
Along the folded edge, cut into the paper, making straight cuts that end an inch from the end. Make cuts down the sheet at approximately one inch intervals.
Unfold the paper. Roll it so the top two corners meet and then tape it into place. Tape the bottom two corners together as well. Take the one-inch strip you've set aside and tape it to the top, one end on each side, to form a handle. Push the top and bottom end towards each other --- this will make the inner cut strips radiate out.
Take a paper grocery bag. Open it up and stuff it with crumpled pieces of newspaper to help it retain its shape. This will be your dragon head. Lay it on its side. Turn it around so that the bottom of the paper bag faces you. This will be where the mouth goes.
Cut out colorful construction paper into shapes to glue onto the dragon's head to make the features. There is no exact way to do this, so get creative. One option is cutting out white circles for eyes, and gluing them on the top of the head. Then cut out smaller black circles for pupils, and then glue them onto the white ones. Cut out triangle shapes in bright colors and glue them to the paper bag for dragon scales. Glue more triangles where its mouth would go --- these will be its teeth.
Take crepe paper streamers and cut a few strips about three to six feet in length. Attach them to the sides of the dragon's head for whiskers, off his chin for a mustache or beard, or attach a few streaming out from the back of the dragon's head for decoration.
Tape three pieces of thread to the dragon's head. Tape one to each side, and one to the front above the mouth. Tape or tack the other ends of the thread to the ceiling, slightly tilted forward, so it is looking down at you.
About this Author
Mackenzie Wright has been freelancing since 2002 in the realms of writing, painting, photography, crafts and teaching the arts. Her writing has been featured in publications such as the "Saint Petersburg Times," "South Florida Parenting Magazine" and "Home Education Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and education.