Chinese New Year Lanterns

Decorative Chinese New Year lanterns are a central symbol of the annual celebrations, and making some of your own is a great way to encourage children to get thinking about different national cultures. Our lanterns offer the opportunity for each child to get creative with a large window for a Chinese-style drawing or writing. This art and craft is perfect for Key stages 1 & 2, and is easily adaptable to the age and ability of your individual group.

To make Chinese New Year lanterns you will need

Coloured Craft Card
A3 Tracing Paper
Watercolour Pencils
Sticky Tape
Glue Stick
Ribbon or other colourful decorations

1. First, make the lantern’s handle by cutting a 3-4cm wide strip off one of the short sides of the coloured card.

2. From the remaining card, form a border by folding it in half lengthways, and starting from the folded edge, cut out the centre of the card leaving a border of around 3-4cm around three sides.

3. Unfold the card to reveal a rectangular border around all four sides of the card.

watercolour lanterns CNY

4. Now you’ll need to create the picture to go in the centre of the lantern. Using the watercolour pencils and a small quantity of water as per the instructions, draw a Chinese-style picture on your tracing paper.

5. Stick the picture to the back of the card border, then fold to form a cylinder with the picture facing out from inside the border. Fix in place using sticky tape, or with a stapler if required. Then add the handle to the top of the lantern and secure with tape.

6. Finally, decorate the lantern borders with brightly coloured ribbon, glitter pens, or in any other colourful way you like.

row watercolour chinese lanterns

Extension Ideas

  • Ask the children to add some Chinese writing to their Chinese New Year lanterns and encourage a discussion about the different alphabets used around the world.
  • Research Chinese art online to find inspiration for pictures to feature on the Chinese New Year lanterns.

Looking for more ideas? Visit our Chinese New Year page or follow us on Pinterest.

Follow The Consortium Education’s board Chinese New Year on Pinterest.