How to: Chinese New Year Crafts Made With Upcycled Materials
Tyke-Approved Lunar New year crafts made with upcycled materials
The Chinese New Year is almost here!
The Chinese New Year signifies a new start and being together as a family is very important. Homes are also decorated with gold and red banners and lanterns to represent fortune, happiness, wealth, and longevity.
The Chinese New Year is taking place from February 1-3, 2022 and will be celebrated by those who live in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam, and other countries around the world.
2022 is also the year of the Tiger according to the zodiac calendar.
Photo courtesy of Chubby Chubby
We’ve put together a few crafts to keep the tykes busy whilst also celebrating the new year at home, wherever you may be. They are super fun, easy, and tyke-approved and use upcycled materials too!
Egg carton dragons
Photo courtesy of I Heart Crafty Things
I Heart Crafty Things has this cute and unique egg carton dragon craft using upcycled materials that is perfect for the Chinese New Year!
What you'll need:
- Egg carton
- Red acrylic paint (or colour of your choice)
- Yarn & yarn needle
- Pipe cleaners (preferably ones you have used before)
- Sequins or hole-punches from upcycled paper
- White cardstock or upcycled thick paper
- Orange and yellow tissue paper
- Hole-punches from upcycled paper or googly eyes
- Black marker
- Begin by cutting apart your egg carton into individual sections. We used eight sections for our dragon but I thought it was a little long. Make your dragon whatever length you want. Paint the egg carton pieces with your red paint (or the paint colour of your choice). Once they are dry, add some gold metallic paint onto your egg carton pieces. Let them paint dry completely.
- Thread a piece of yarn onto your yarn needle. Sew each of the egg carton pieces together. When you get to the last egg carton piece, tie a knot in the yarn, cut off the excess and tape the end down inside the egg carton.
- Cut a few pipe cleaners into 4 sections. Bend the sections in half to make a point. Use your yarn needle to poke two holes in the top of your egg carton pieces and then poke the pipe cleaner pieces into the holes to make dragon scales.
- Cut out a few gold pipe cleaner pieces and poke them into the top of the dragon face for horns and into the sides of the face for whiskers.
- To add even more colourful scales, glue colourful sequins onto the sides of the egg carton pieces.
- Cut two slits in the front of your dragon face to define the dragon mouth. Cut out and glue some white pointy teeth under the mouth along with some small pieces of crumpled up orange and yellow tissue paper to look like your dragon is breathing out fire.
- Finish your egg carton dragon craft by gluing on googly eyes and using a black marker to draw on nostrils.
For more ideas about how to switch out common craft materials for things that can be found in nature, check out Mother Natured.
Personalised Red Packets
Photo courtesy of CHALK Academy
We are sure you have empty red packets around the house. Decorate the red packets any way to celebrate the happy Chinese New Year to come! Traditionally, red packet envelopes are given to children on the first day of the Chinese New Year.
What you will need:
- Upcycled empty red packets you have at home
- Markers (any colours of your choosing)
- Non-toxic paints (any colours of your choosing)
- Paint brushes
- Scrap tissue paper or any bobs and bits from your craft drawer
- Find an empty red packet.
- Decorate the front of your envelope with any craft materials you have found!
- Use your red packet envelope.
Paper Tube Koi Fish
Photo courtesy of Art Camp Studio
Inspired by the Chinese legend of the mighty carp who persevere against the odds, Art Camp has designed this craft with upcycled materials you already have at home!
What you will need:
- paper tubes
- koi fish fin and tail templates (linked below)
- acrylic or tempera paint + paint palette for mixing glue (we used a hot glue gun)
- card stock - orange and white
- black permanent marker
- Make a tint and shade for your carp. To make a tint, you will add your original colour to white. we decided to then turn our tints and shades by adding a little charcoal grey (you can see our shades on our fins and tails).
- Painted tubes, also known as fish bodies.
- Paint your fin and tail template.
- Cut out your tail shape and then cut some details on the tips of your tails.
- Insert your finished tails inside your paper tube. you can glue or staple your paper tube to your tail.
- Trim the outer edge of your tube to create more of an angled body shape.
- Cut out your painted fin shapes.
- You can make your eyes with whatever you have on hand, but we decided to make ours out of cork! A little black marker and a touch of paint does the trick.
They also suggest that you can play the toss pom-pom into the koi’s mouth game once you’ve completed the craft too!
Upcycled Paper Fans
Photo courtesy of CHALK Academy
Another fun and easy craft using materials you’ve already have at home! Even if you don’t have these specific materials, let your tykes get creative with upcycled ones you do.
What you'll need:
- Red printer paper or any colour of upcycle paper you have (even paper your tykes have drawn on before!)
- Upcycled piece of ribbon
- Pencil for tracing
- Cut half a sheet of 8″x11″ paper (folded lengthwise)
- Write a message in pencil; ask your child to trace the words with a marker for writing practice!
- Decorate the paper
- Fold 0.5″ accordion style
- Tie the bottom end with your ribbon!
Red Packet Fish Lantern
Photo courtesy of Crafty Crafted
Spending quality family-time is very important during the Lunar New Year and what better way to do this by making this craft together with your tykes! This craft will require some adult supervision and help especially for the little ones!
What you’ll need:
- 18 upcycled red packets
- Staple-less stapler
- First, make sure all 18 red packets are sealed. Use some glue to seal off the uncycled red packets if they do not have the self-adhesive provided.
- Fold all 18 red packets in half slightly, down the middle. Do not fold the whole red packet until there is a straight line, only fold for a tiny marking.
- Fold all 18 red packets at the corners.
- Staple 2 top corners of 2 red packets together. Staple another 2 more red packets to form the fish body. You will need to make 2 of these.
- Staple all sides together to form the fish body.
- Fold 2 red packets in half and staple them together at their centre.
- Staple the mouth piece to the body you made earlier.
- Fold another 2 red packets in half. Staple one of the folded red packets on the top of the fish body. Staple the other folded red packet into the fin. Repeat one more time for the fin on the bottom of the fish body.
- Fold the remaining red packets in half; there should be 4 left. Take 2 and staple them in the middle forming the tail. Do the same for the rest of the red packets. Staple one tail piece onto the body of the fish, then staple the second one.
- Put a string through the top fin of your fish and hang it in your home. Ta-da, your lantern is done!