Chinese New Year Craft: Dragon Puppet & Free Printable

| | | |

2-3 years ago, I was at a craft fair and saw some simple Chinese New Year craft colouring sets – one was one of the paper dragon puppets.

I thought “I could make one of those” and create a Chinese New Year Printable for you. Only 3 years later, I have finally gotten around to drawing my own free DIY Dragon Puppet printable for you.

Dragon Puppet Printable. Super easy and fun Paper Dragon Puppets for Chinese New Year! A great Paper Chinese New Year craft for preschoolers. Love these gorgeous paper dragon puppets. #dragon #dragoncrafts #kids #preschool #chinesenewyear
Paper Dragon Puppets are fun to make! First published in 2012 and republished for your convenience

We are currently in the Year of the Dragon! The upcoming Chinese New Year falls on 10th February 2024 and it is FINALLY the Year of the Dragon – with many fabulous Dragon Crafts heading our way! Woohoo!

Of course you can design your own paper dragon, but if you don’t have the time or have a large amount of children to work with (I am hoping to do these with Red Ted’s class again), then these are perfect for you! We made them on a play date – 5 kids – and they all loved making these fabulous Dragon Paper Puppets!!

The two younger one’s lost a little colouring patience, but they still love their dragons. And to be honest, I think you can leave them “uncoloured too” – or print out the free printable of coloured paper (e.g. red paper) and stick things on?

With 2024 the Year of the Rabbit, we thought our Chinese Dragon Crafts round up may be of use:

This list of Year of the Dragon crafts also includes a number of fantastic free Dragon

Chinese New Year Craft for Kids: Dragon Puppet

Paper Dragon Craft – Materials

  • paper for printing (though I used very light card) – or print on coloured paper to save colouring your paper dragons youserlf
  • a printer,
  • red paper for the body,
  • pens or crayons,
  • tissue paper (optional),
  • lollipop sticks (we used recycled ones from summer ice lollies),
  • glue & scissors

The FREE Printable Paper Dragon Craft is in my Gumroad store. It is FREE for you today. All you need to do is add $0 at check out!

You can also get STEP BY STEP Photo instructions worksheets on my Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s Account. Perfect for the classroom or a playgroup! By purchasing this $2 printable (Lesson plan, worksheet and dragon outline), you help support the upkeep of this website! Many thanks!

How to make a Paper Dragon Craft for Kids

We have a How to make a Paper Dragon Step By Step video or read the instructions below!

To get your kids excited about the project either make one first or show them photos of the finished product (e.g. this post) – when they see what they will make the colouring in sheet makes “much more sense”.

UPDATE: We had a go at these in Red Ted’s class room and changed the “Order” of the craft a little: First we cut, then we folded, then we assembled and finally coloured. So that each child could “finish their dragon”, even if they got bored of colouring. We also taped on the Popsicle sticks, so that we didn’t have to wait for that it to dry. The kids were brilliant and did an amazing job!

If you require step by step PHOTO instructions in worksheet format, you can get those here.

1) Print out your dragon printable for Chinse New Year – there is  a double sided head, to fold later and a double side tail part. 4 feet – so that you can stick them together and that your dragon looks great from both sides.

Chinese New Year Crafts for Kids - Dragon Puppets. Paper Dragon Crafts for kids #chinesenewyear #dragon #dragoncrafts #papercrafts

2) The children used pens to colour, but we soon discovered that was going to take ages (Red Ted took ages over it and even did a good 30min to finish it off at bed time, he did a GREAT job in terms of detail and patience). So… I recommend the following options:

* pens for kids who like colouring and are patient,

* crayons for younger children who want to cover big surfaces quickly,

* experiment with paints (but you may make it a bit soggy), or

* print on coloured paper and use glitter glue or stickers.

3) Once they are finished colouring, cut out the shapes. The mums did it on this occassion, but again, I think, if this was in the class room, they can do it themselves. Of course it won’t be as neat, but I think it will look lovely anyway. When you have cut the head out fold it over by the mouth and then you can cut out the “mouth space”, so you can some tissue paper fire.

4) We used a sheet of A4 paper cut into three equal strips – each strip was for one body. And folded it “concertina style”. I was impressed at how well the children managed with instructions (fold, turn over, fold, turn over, fold…). Red Ted wanted an extra long dragon, so we glued two of these strips together before folding.

5) Glue your head, tail, feet and lollipop sticks to your body.

6) Cut some tissue paper to add fire (optional of course).

Enjoy! Hope you liked our Chinese New Year Printable and that you have a go at making these fun and easy DIY Dragon Puppets!!

Dragon Puppet Printable. Super easy and fun Paper Dragon Puppets for Chinese New Year! A great Paper Chinese New Year craft for preschoolers. Love these gorgeous paper dragon puppets. #dragon #dragoncrafts #kids #preschool #chinesenewyear

We noticed that if you hold the two lollipop sticks at right angles in one hand, the dragon makes a nice fan too!

Liked this printable? Here is a set of activities to use this Free Printable Dragon in different ways:

We have a fabulous Paper Plate Dragon Whirligig (complete with printable) for you:

Dragon Puppet Printable. Super easy and fun Paper Dragon Puppets for Chinese New Year! A great Paper Chinese New Year craft for preschoolers. Love these gorgeous paper dragon puppets. #dragon #dragoncrafts #kids #preschool #chinesenewyear
Check out our Paper Plate Dancing Dragon printable

Or check out printable Dragon Finger Puppet & Coloring Page:

Build Your Chinese Dragon Printable:

chinese new year dragon craft

Another one of our free resources, is this fabulous build your own Chinese Dragon Printable. This can be used in so many ways… make it really short.. make it really long. Make it curly wurly or make it straight. Use it to count or work on number bonds (add more segments) or explore colour theory (mixing colours on the dragon’s body..). Or, if you are short on time, print onto coloured paper and assemble – perfect for Chinese New Year Bulletine boards in the classroom!

More Chinese New Year Crafts here:

For 2023 the Chinese Zodiac animal is the Rabbit – you may like these rabbit crafts