Get crafty for Chinese New Year…the year of the dragon!

chinese new year dragon craftI had an extra hand in today’s craft, he had sniffles and a sore throat but he enjoyed it nonetheless.

Today my daughter and seven-year old, together, made a perfect craft for celebrating the Chinese New Year and the year of the dragon.

Here’s how we transformed a couple of toilet paper roll and a paper towel roll inserts into a fun, flying dragon.

What you’ll need:

  • Toilet paper and/or paper towel inserts. (We had two toilet paper inserts and then cut up one paper towel one for our dragon)
  • Paints & paint brushes
  • Googly eyes or anything to make funny eyes, like a puff-ball or paper
  • Red paper streamers for fire
  • A ribbon or string to connect all of the pieces
  • A couple of popsicle sticks to use as feet and holders to make it dance and fly.
  • Something for wings…we used feathers that we had, but you could also make them out of paper.
  • White glue

(I didn’t use the hole punch…fyi ;) )

Get to dragon making

First have the kids paint the dragon parts (the paper towel and toilet paper inserts). I let them go for it but then my son said the body parts should match so we changed directions and went for a polka dot dragon with a colorful tail from his little sister (the more free-spirited one of the two).

painting the dragonSo that they could paint on them and not get their fingers covered in paint, we popped them onto a piece of drift wood (any stick would do).

Once painted, we let the cardboard pieces dry and cleaned up our paint mess.

When they were all dry, it was time to put our dragon together.

I took a piece of ribbon and ran it through all of the cardboard pieces, tying it to both of the end pieces. This way the tubes can move as the kids play with it, but it won’t fall apart.

On the first cardboard segment, we created the dragon’s head, with two fuzzy eyes and two black dots added on with marker, as nostrils

We put some glue inside the opening that was the mouth and glued red streamers coming out of it.

We added some feathers to the sides of one of the sections.

Lastly we cut tiny slits in the bottom of the first and second to last section and popped popsicle sticks into it as feet and holders to make the dragon dance.

And there you have it! It’s a dragon of a different color! Read for your kids to run around, holding the sticks and making their dragon move.

My son loved to problem solve with this one. He helped me figure out how to connect the pieces and really took a leadership role in planning it all out. Overall it was fun, educational and a great, sick day project.

Are you doing anything to celebrate Chinese New Year? We’ll be heading to a friend’s house to celebrate and feed the dragon. Want to know more about Chinese New Year? Read more here!


  1. I love this idea! My family and I were away- the closest we got to celebrating was angry birds (seasons- Chinese New Year!) and a meal out. But this is a fun craft, maybe we’ll still do it over the weekend.
    Loving this series (mainly because as a non-crafter, your approach doesn’t leave me feeling intimidated!)

  2. This is so neat! I love crafting with my kids, but we didn’t do anything to celebrate the Chinese New Year… maybe next year. I can tell your helper is very proud of his work!

  3. What a great idea! I’m half-Korean and I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t do anything for the New Year! haha! Love these! So smart!

  4. so cute

  5. Absolutely amazing! My girls would love this craft!

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