Paper dragon tutorial and template

As promised, here is the tutorial for making the paper dragon from the last post. I made this one morning with V and loved the way it turned out. The idea originally came from Martha Stewart, but I also looked at the ones sold in Chinatown and made my own version and template (below).

You will need:

  • Thick red construction paper; my friend Lindsay gave us a package of beautiful thick paper that worked perfectly for this project
  • Dragon template (or you can free-hand it)
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knife
  • A hole puncher
  • Tape
  • A pair of chopsticks or just two sticks
  • Something to decorate the dragon; it can be markers, crayons, paints, or stickers
  • 4 brass fasteners


1. Referencing a few Chinese New Year children’s books, I roughly sketched out a dragon’s head, two body pieces, and the tail directly on the red paper (you can see my sketch lines in the picture above). If you don’t feel like drawing your own, I’ve included a template here.

2. Next I cut the pieces out with a pair of scissors. For the whiskers by the nose, you will need an exacto knife. Hole punch the ends of the pieces–they are marked on the template–and the eye.

3. Decorate the dragon however you would like. We used mosaic stickers from a kit that a friend gave to us.

4. Fasten the body together with the brass fasteners. I asked V to help me with that part.

5. Tape chopsticks or any appropriate sized sticks to the tail and head end of the dragon. After I had put the dragon together, V insisted on putting a brass fastener in the eye of the dragon. I liked the extra touch.

Then we marched around the house, V holding the dragon while I played the “drum” (a paper plate).


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