Paint & Paste Chinese Dragon Craft

Chinese New Year is almost here and today we made a Chinese dragon to celebrate the year of the dragon. When I suggested we make a dragon today my son said ” Okay but it has to be huge!” My request was that it was a project that we could all do together. I also wanted a longer project since we are stuck at home in the snow and needed a long project to break up the at home day.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some craft ( butcher block) paper, red, yellow and green construction paper , green paint, a rolling pin, cutting board,  potato masher ( optional), scissors, glue, bubble wrap and a googly eye. Oh and painters tape to hold it down while you create.
  2. Start by taping the paper down and draw a dragon. I free handed the dragon and while perfect it’s not , I am trying to model effort not perfection for my kids and we are focusing on making something fun, not something perfect.
  3. Using the construction paper make triangles for spikes on the dragon’s back and head, long strips of red and orange for fire . If your child is cutting make some long strips with guided lines or blank strips thin enough for them to hold and cut easily. My daughter isn’t cutting yet but she still enjoyed ripping so I made sure some of our construction paper was in strips the right size for her to rip and even made little rip to get her started. Set these aside for later.
  4. Wrap bubble wrap around your rolling pin and grab a potato masher – both will give a reptilian like print when your child uses them to paint.
  5. Spread the paint on a cutting board .
  6. Roll and paint.
  7. They were both into it. I moved my daughter’s booster around to different parts of the dragon and my son moved around the table painting and printing.
  8. She loved the rolling pin.
  9. Let dry – I popped this up in my bathroom to dry while we played , went out in the snow and had lunch.
  10. Rip
  11. Cut 
  12. Add glue
  13. Add the spikes!
  14. He had fun with the fire .
  15. Let dry and cut out.
  16. Hang up and celebrate the year of the dragon!

Books About Chinese New Year

D is for Dancing Dragon: A China Alphabet by Carol Crane is a in valuable book when teaching about China and Chinese New Year, it is more than a simple alphabet book, going into detail about lanterns, chopsticks, panda bears and so much more. What I love about these books is that younger children can be shown the pictures and given a easy to digest synopsis of the text, while older children can read the whole book. The illustrations by Zong-Zhou Wang will make the most reluctant traveler want to get on a plane to china, they are simply spectacular!

My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz is a simple introduction to Chinese New Year for young children. It’s a board book so if you have let’s say a 4 year old who , let’s say has decided he thinks board books are only for babies, you may want to have him be a reading helper for this one.I had to cajole my son into helping me read this book to his sister but once I started he was into it and enjoying the simplistic way the author illustrator explains the Chinese customs. Even adults may learn something new. Did you know that cutting hair for a fresh start for the new year is a tradition? I never did! The illustrations are bright and cheery and for those of you who aren’t fans of the baby lift the flap books from this author you may want to give the author another chance because her holiday books are really great.

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin is a wonderful book to explain Chinese New Year and some of the customs that comes along with it to your preschooler. The illustrations are bright and help explain the festivities and preparations that go into the celebration. The book culminates with a fold out page with a huge dragon briging in the new year. There is also a great explanation of the holiday for parents at the back of the book.

Hamsa – Crafts From Around The World

by Katy

In this project we were studying Africa and created a Hamsa as part of that study. A Hamsa is an ancient good luck sign that has been adopted by almost every culture and religion in North Africa and Central Asia. They are often created at stained glass pieces and hung in windows to help protect the home. I decided to make ours in a similar fashion.

To make the Hamsa, you will need:

An assortment of light colored crayons (red, yellow, orange, etc.)
wax paper
black and white construction paper or sticky foam
A hair dryer (may substitute another heat source like an iron if necessary)
pencil sharpener
dark permanent marker

The first thing you do is turn your crayons into shreds. A really easy way to do this is with one of those little hand-held pencil sharpeners, but before I figured that out, I was just snipping at it with a pair of scissors and that works too.

You want to get a lot of shavings, and it’s best to stick with light colors. The darker colors just read like black or brown when they mix together. Once you have a nice little pile of shavings, place them between two sheets of wax paper.

Now, most of the crafting books I’ve read suggest using an iron to melt the wax. I tried this, and it was a complete disaster. Wax ran everywhere, residue got on the iron, and I was a little afraid I was going to catch something on fire. I found that pointing my hair dryer at the wax paper worked just as well, felt safer, and created a lot less mess.

Once your wax is melted and cooled, take your child’s hand and place it on top. Hamsa’s are traditionally thought of as right hands, so go ahead and use their right one. Then, cut out the hand.

Create and eye with your construction paper and attach it.

And that’s it! You can hang it in a window to catch the light if you’d like.


Katy is a mom of three who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracles at Bird on the Street.