Easy Paper Plate Dragon Twirler (Free Printable) – Chinese New Year 2022

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We had so much fun with our previous Paper Plate Twirlers & Whirligigs that we thought we would combine one of our favourite Chinese New Year Craft for kids an design for you a free printable Paper Plate Dragon Twirler for Preschoolers to make this Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year 2024 falls on 10th February 2024! And it is the Year of the Dragon!

First published in Dec 2017

A wonderful Chinese New Year Printable for Preschoolers! We have adapted our popular and easy Paper Chinese Dragon Puppet to fit our Paper Plate twirlers.. and if I say so myself, I think they look fabulous – a lovely magical dragon for Lunar New year. I can just see a family of Paper Plate Dragons hanging from the ceiling in reds, greens and yellows!

People have often asked me – how do you make a paper plate Chinese dragon…?

So, finally, I have this super easy paper plate dragon twirler for you! 5 Simple stemps and voila, you have you very own 3d dragon decoration!

Paper Plate Dragon Whirligig – Supplies needed in this tutorial:

  • One paper plate per Dragon Twirler
  • Red paint (or any colour you wish.. great colours for Chinese New Year are red, yellow, green and blues)
  • Your FREE Paper Dragon Template – comprising the dragon’s head, feet and set of scales foe the tail) – enter $0 at check out
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick is perfect, though PVA Glue will work as well, just use it sparingly)
  • String & stapler for hanging
  • Markers/ pens for colouring
  • Brushes for painting

Enter $0 at check out to get this freebie!

How to make a Paper Plate Dragon Twirler step by step instructions

We have a quick Paper Plate Dragon Twirler video or follow the steps below!

Step by Step Dragon Twirler How To

As you can see in our twirler tutorial, we chose to paint our paper plates red.. but you can skip this step and buy red paper plates if you find it easier and less messy (especially if making these Chinese Dragons in the classroom!). Having said that, we love painting our paper plates, as it means you can customise the dragon colours to suit the children’s tastes.. and make yellow dragons, orange dragons and green dragons to go with our red one!

All of those dragon colours work really well for Luna New Year and it would be wonderful to have a set of different coloured dragons dangling the classroom.

You can even had some gold glitter (eco frienldy please) and add that touch of sparkle fun to your dragons body!

Pain the paper plate dragon body

Paper Plate Dragon Twirler - a super fun Paper Plate Chinese New Year Craft, the printable makes this a quick and easy craft for the classroom and preschoolers too. LOVE Paper Dragon Crafts for Kids #ChineseNewYear #PaperPlates #preschool #dragons #printables #papercrafts #papercraftsforkids #twirler

  • Paint your paper plate a lovely Dragon Red. Of course your dragon can be any colour – green, yellow, or maybe a mixture of colours to represent the scales. Or add some orange glitter paint to over the top and give your dragon’s body some texture. Really.. the options are wide and varied, work with the materials you already have!
  • Let it dry and paint the reverse side.

Colour in your free dragon template

FREE Paper Dragon Printables

  • Whilst waiting for the paper plate to dry, you can start colouring your Paper Plate Dragon Twirler Printable – we have a 3D Dragon head, tail and some feet for you to print and colour.
  • Colour in whatever way you wish – use crayons, pens, pencils, markers or watercolours! Whatever takes your fancy. You can have fun with some yellow glitter paint too and sprinkle sparkle over your creation!

Cut out your Chinese Dragon features

  • Cut out your details – do NOT cut the head or the tail in half. You need them to be joined. If you carefully FOLD your head and tail in half, you can cut the two halves in one go – saving a little time.

Shape the paper plate into a long dragon body

  • Once your paper plate is dry, get your scissors and cute a spiral into your Paper Plate to make the Dragon Whirligig. It should look a bit like a snail.
  • NOTE: the thicker your snail twirls the more compact your Dragon tree will be.. the thinner.. the more “elongated” it will be. It is a style preference!

Assemble the paper plate chinese dragon

  • Take a piece of string and tie a knot one end. Then staple it into place.
  • Next you glue your dragon’s paper tail to the top of your dragon– make the string stick between the two dragon tail halves.
  • Now “assemble” your head. You will need to glue the bottom of your dragon face together. You can even add stray pieces of tissue paper as fire streamers to the dragon’s mouth (like we have done for our Chinese Dragon Puppet here).
  • Then add a little glue to the top of the nose and glue that too.
  • Now glue the paper dragon’s head to the bottom of your whirligig…. you can add tissue paper for FIRE if you wish.
  • Finally add your legs.

ALTERATIONS: I think these paper plate Chinese New Year Dragons would look amazing with a set of spines – cut triangles and stick.. OR as mentioned above, have fun with colours when painting your paper plate to begin with!!!

Hope you like this Chinese New Year Printable as much as we do!!! Happy Chinese New Year!

I think you will also love our simple Dragon Paper Puppet:

More fabulous Chinese New Year Craft ideas – you will find fabulous Egg Carton Dragons, moving dragon puppets with brads, Easy Chinese Paper Fans and of course Chinese Paper Lanterns! Plus MANY more fantastic ideas to celebrate the Lunar New Year!

2024 is the Year of the Dragon:

More Paper Plate Whriligigs from Red Ted Art