painted fans

Decorating Chinese paper fans is a great way to experiment with a wide variety of artistic techniques while producing some nice decorative pieces. Hand fans have a close association with Chinese history and culture, so in celebration of the upcoming Chinese New Year festival we’ve come up with a few ideas on how to decorate your very own fans.

Chinese art history has so many different eras and styles to choose from, so we’ve picked just a few to provide some inspiration for you in decorating your very own Chinese fans.

Suggested Resources

Paper Hand Fans

Watercolour Pencils

Colouring Pencils

Watercolour Tin



Landscape painting has developed considerably through the centuries, and contains two major strands: blue-and-green, and Ink-and-wash. While the first uses blues, greens and occasional reds to depict often mountainous scenery and express the artist’s feelings through the world around us, Ink and wash landscapes are more dark, intense and bold; characterised by large brushstrokes. Both styles can be applied to any number of natural settings by all ages, and children can be encouraged to take a step back and create something meaningful to them through using this traditional style.

painted hand fans

Flower-and-Bird Painting

This style is a great introduction to Chinese art for young children, using familiar subjects – birds and flowers. While a traditional Chinese genre, recreating some local birds on your fans would be a great way to mix the cultures and produce a great result.

hand fan fish

Traditional Chinese Calligraphy

Decorative fans are also a great platform for exploring traditional Chinese calligraphy. The art of Chinese writing is difficult to master, but can be great fun. Children can write a simple message, or their own name in Chinese characters, and begin to understand the complexity and importance of this age-old art form.



These are just a few ideas for where you can take your decorative fans. Do you have any other suggestions?

For more Chinese New Year ideas, visit our dedicated page, or follow us on Pinterest.

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