One thing that comes to mind when we think about Chinese New Year is the Chinese Dragon Dance that occurs at the end of the parade. The movement and colour of these dragons is mesmerizing. As part of our Chinese New Year celebration, we wanted to do our own Chinese Dragon Dance so we made our own Chinese Dragon Puppets (mini size).
The nice thing about this dragon puppet is you probably have most of the supplies in your home:
- paper egg cartons
– coloured construction paper
– crayons (you could use markers, paint, pencil crayons)
– bendy straws (2 per dragon)
- yarn or ribbon
The first step is to separate the egg carton sections into individual pieces. I found using a utility knife was easier for this than scissors but scissors will do. We used one row in an egg carton for each dragon we made. With each section, kids can now colour the outside of the carton pieces.
Once all the pieces are coloured, then using the scissors poke a small hole in the top center of each one. Using your ribbon or yarn, string each egg section through (make sure to have the first one facing the opposite way as the other ones as this will be the head. After stringing your first carton through, tie a note inside the carton. This will keep all the sections from sliding together when you have them all on the ribbon.
Once you have all your body pieces on, cut strips of coloured construction paper roughly the height of each egg carton cup (about an inch). Starting from the last body segment on your dragon, you will glue the strip on the outer part of the egg carton section, like you are going to wrap it in paper. You want to glue the middle part of the paper so when folded down there will be an equal amount of paper on each side.
Glue a coloured strip on each egg carton piece, except the head. We used a glue gun since I find this tends to stick faster and stronger but white glue would work too. We used different coloured paper for each section but you could use all the same colour if you wanted to work with a colour scheme. Once all the strips are on, fold the paper sticking out, down like legs or wings.
Taking your scissors cut a straight, thin line up each strip of paper. Do this to each strip and on each side. This will give that fringed look like the Chinese Dragon’s in the parade have.
With the body done, you can now focus on the head, drawing an eye on each side. The egg carton cup will have a natural gap from when you separated it from the carton; this gives your dragon it’s mouth. We used scissors to cut the opening a little wider. For added fun, we glued a strip of orange paper on the inside of the head carton as fire coming out of the dragon’s mouth. We also stuck long, thin triangle piece of paper on the inside of the back egg carton to be a tail.
You’re dragon is done, now to make it a puppet. This is where the bendy straws come in. Trim the short bent part of the straw so it fits between the paper and the underside of the egg carton. Put glue on the short bended end and hold it in place. You could also just tape this right to the underside if you don’t want to use glue or are having difficulty getting the straw between the paper and the egg carton. You won’t be seeing the underside so it doesn’t matter if a straw is stuck there. We picked the bendy straws as the natural bend makes them idea puppet holders.
Now that your Chinese Dragon is finished, you can add your own Chinese Dragon Dance at the end of your Chinese New Year festivities. Checkout our Chinese New Year piece for other great ideas on planning an event with your family.