Are you looking for Chinese New Year crafts to make with your kids? Check out these cardboard Chinese dragon puppets that are so cute!
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Did you know that Chinese New Year is a really big deal in Hawaii?

That’s because there’s a huge Asian population in Hawaii. Many people came from counties like China, Japan, and the Philippines to work in the sugar cane fields during plantation days.

They also brought along their culture, holidays, and traditions.

And since Hawaii is truly a melting pot, they celebrate as many cultural traditions as possible.

We’ve attended some Chinese New Year celebrations in Waikiki that were absolutely incredible.

Of course, my boys always love seeing the Chinese Lion Dances and the Chinese Dragon Dances and feeding them the red envelopes full of cash.

This year, we won’t be participating in any of our usual activities for Chinese New Year, so I’ve been brainstorming a few Chinese New Year kids crafts.

Out of all the ideas of crafts for Chinese New Year, nothing really compares to this adorable Chinese paper dragon craft for kids.

Be sure to check out my DIY Chinese Paper Lantern tutorial and my Chinese New Year Activity Pack!

Chinese New Year Dragon Craft Tutorial

Chinese Dragon Craft Materials

Here's what you need to make Chinese dragon puppets. Image of carboard tubes, red paint, ribbon, silk flowers, googly eyes, brads, and more.
Find out how to make Chinese dragon puppets with this detailed Chinese New Year craft tutorial. Image of a cardboard Chinese dragon craft.

How to Make a Chinese New Year Dragon Puppet

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

Chinese New Year Dragon step one is to cut the cardboard tubes into 3 equal pieces. Image of a cardboard paper towel roll cut into pieces.

From the sixth tube, cut a piece about 2 inches wide.

Cut one of the cardboard pieces into 2 smaller pieces. Image of a cardboard tube cut into pieces.

Fold the piece and cut a curve from one side so it will rest on another tube to form the head of the dragon. Glue this piece towards one side of a cardboard tube.

For this kids Chinese New Year craft, you'll want to create a dragon head out of paper towel rolls. Image of a dragon head out of a cardboard tube.

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

Fit the cardboard tubes together to form the Chinese dragon puppet head. Image of cardboard tube pieces fitted together.

On each of the other 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.

Punch a hole in each cardboard tube to make your Chinese dragon puppet body. Image of a star punch in a paper towel roll.

Paint cardboard tubes with red paint and allow them to dry completely.

Paint your Chinese dragon puppets red. Image of paper towel rolls painted red.

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

Decorate your Chinese dragon puppet with flowers, buttons, and googly eyes. Image of a Chinese New Year dragon craft.

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 the gold ribbon to make the flames for your Chinese New Year dragon puppet. Image of someone holding strips of gold ribbon.
These are the golden flames for your Chinese dragon puppet craft. Image of a Chinese paper dragon.

Connect the body pieces using brads.

Attach the pieces of your Chinese dragon craft using brads. Image of a brad connecting two painted cardboard tubes.

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

Cut a slit in the paper towel roll so you can turn it into a paper dragon puppet. Image of a red painted cardboard tube with a slit in it.

Poke a craft stick into each hole.

Insert the craft stick to make your Chinese dragon puppet. Image of a Chinese New Year dragon puppet out of cardboard.

And that’s it! Now you have an adorable Chinese New Year art and craft to make this year!

Learn how to make these Chinese New Year kids crafts by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids. Image of a Chinese Dragon Puppet.

Looking for more Hawaii craft ideas? Find out how to make a paper lei, crepe paper flowers, and a macrame rainbow!

Yield: 1

Chinese Dragon Puppet Craft

Chinese Dragon Puppet Craft

Looking for awesome kids Chinese New Year crafts? Learn how to make Chinese Dragon Puppets out of cardboard tubes!

Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Difficulty Medium

Materials

  • 2 paper towel-sized cardboard tubes, cut into thirds
  • Red paint (I used tempera but acrylic would also work)
  • 6 to 8 brads, depending on chosen length
  • Colorful paper flowers
  • 2 googly eyes
  • 2 small red buttons
  • Glue or glue dots (I used glue dots)
  • Gold ribbon
  • 2 craft sticks, if making as a puppet

Tools

  • Scissors
  • Paintbrush

Instructions

  1. Cut large cardboard tubes into three equal pieces (about 3 inches long.) Depending on your desired length, you can use four to five of these pieces. 
  2. From the sixth tube, cut a piece about 2 inches wide.
  3. Fold the piece and cut a curve from one side so it will rest on another
    tube to form the head of the dragon. Glue this piece towards one side of a cardboard tube.
  4. On the opposite side, cut a curve so the body will fit together and have room to move.
  5. On each of the other 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.
  6. Paint cardboard tubes with red paint and allow them to dry completely.
  7. Once dry, decorate the head using the paper flowers, buttons, and eyes.
  8. 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.
  9. Connect the body pieces using brads.
  10. To make a puppet, use scissors or a craft knife to pierce a small slice
    on the bottom of the head and the last piece of the body.
  11. Poke a craft stick into each hole.

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