Chinese New Year Dragon Craft

Dana Hinders
Chinese new year dragon

Celebrate the Chinese New Year by decorating your home with a handmade dragon created in honor of the festivities. Dragon crafts like these are fun for crafters of all ages and skill levels.

How to Make a Clay Dragon Statue

A clay dragon statue is a great craft for celebrating the Chinese New Year since it can be enjoyed for many years to come. This statue is made using inexpensive air-dry clay, which makes it a quick project compared to clay that must be fired or baked.

Supplies

  • Air-dry clay, such as white Crayola air-dry modeling clay
  • Smooth work surface
  • Popsicle stick
  • Toothpick
  • Red, yellow, and orange acrylic craft paint or permanent markers (optional)

Instructions

1. Roll your clay into a large snake-like shape. Curve the snake to create a defined head, body, and tail for your dragon. You can add a small amount of water to your clay to make it easier to work with, but be careful not to get your clay too wet. Excessive moisture can cause the clay to become very sticky.

clay dragon step 1

2. Use your popsicle stick to make scales in your dragon's head, body, and tail. Don't worry if you mess up the pattern as it's easy to correct small mistakes by simply smoothing over the clay with your fingers.

clay dragon step 2

3. Roll together small bits of clay to make the dragon's spikes, horns, and eyes. Whenever possible, try to make sure your pieces are at least 1/4-inch thick. Thinner pieces are less durable and more prone to accidental breakage.

4. Use your toothpick to add details to the dragon's mouth and eyeballs.

5. Set your dragon in a safe place until he is completely dry. In most cases, it will take 24 to 48 hours for it to dry completely.

6. If desired, you can paint your clay dragon in the traditional shades of red, yellow, and orange. Acrylic craft paint is suitable for use with air-dry clay, although younger children might find it easier to decorate their sculpture using permanent markers.

When you're happy with your dragon's appearance, sign and date the bottom. You'll be able to proudly display your dragon in your home for many years to come.

clay dragon step 3

More Dragon Crafts to Make

If you're looking for more dragon craft ideas, here are a few additional projects that will be fun for the whole family to try:

  • Printable Dragon Puppet: Kids can color this printable dragon, then add construction paper and pencils to make their own tiny dragon puppet toy. If desired, the dragon can be used to make a puppet show for friends and family.
  • Chinese Parade Dragon: If your kids and their friends would enjoy putting on their very own Dragon Dance parade, you'll be thrilled to find detailed instructions to create their very own super-sized Chinese New Year dragon craft project with a few basic supplies and a little help from you. This Chinese parade dragon project is perfect for a scout troop, elementary school class, or a family project.
  • Handprint Dragon: Elementary school children will enjoy creating these unique Chinese dragons from their handprints. They are fun and easy to make and are terrific additions to the family refrigerator during the Chinese New Year celebration.

Crafting With Educational Benefits

It's a great idea to encourage youngsters of all ages to develop a solid understanding of the holidays celebrated by people of different cultures and backgrounds. One of the best ways for children to learn about cultural traditions around the world is to participate in creating crafts that help them understand the symbols and festivities. Not only do arts and crafts projects help kids discover and cultivate their own artistic abilities, they can also enable children to develop a deeper understanding of the world in which they live by learning about the traditions of other cultural groups.

Chinese New Year Dragon Craft