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How to make a dragon puppet

Chinese Dragon

Chinese Dragon

© Metropolitan Museum of Art

    • In China, dragons symbolise luck, strength and success. At Chinese New Year, there are big celebrations in towns and cities all over the world, and at these celebrations you can often see a Dragon Dance.

      Performers dance under a big dragon puppet, which can be any up to 100 metres long and is decorated in bright colours.

      Here's how to make your own dragon puppet...

      Art supplies including paper, glue, scissors, pens and sellotape
      You will need:

      • A piece of red card and a piece of gold card (both about A4 sized)
      • Scissors
      • Glue (optional)
      • Sticky tape
      • Two drinking straws (not the bendy ones) or garden sticks or disposable chopsticks
      • Pencil
      • Crayons and glitter glue for decoration
      Take the sheet of red card...   

      A sheet of red paper
      ...and fold it lengthways.

      A piece of red card folded lengthways
      Open the card up and use scissors to cut all the way down the fold - you might need a grown-up to help you with this.

      A pair of scissors cutting a sheet of red paper in half
      You should then have two identical long rectangles of card.

      Starting at the short end of one of the rectangles, make a fold about 2cm deep...

      A piece of red card being folded
      ...and keep folding backwards and forwards, like a concertina, until the whole rectangle is folded.

      A piece of red card being folded
      Then do the same thing with the other rectangle of red card.

      Two pieces of red card, one folded as a concertina.
      Next, put glue or tape on one short side of one of the pieces of folded card.

      Glue being applied to two folded pieces of red card
      Fasten the sticky end of the card onto one short end of the other folded piece - making sure you fasten it so the zigzag of folds looks right.

      Two pieces of red card being attached
      Take the piece of gold card and draw the head and tail of a dragon on it.

      Gold card with the head and the tail of a dragon drawn on in pencil
      Cut the head and tail out.
         
      the head and tail of a dragon made from gold card
      Using crayons, glitter or whatever you like, decorate the head and tail.

      A decorated dragon's head and tail
      Using glue or sticky tape, fasten the red card to the back of the dragon's head at one end, and the back of its tail at the other end.
        
      Attaching the dragon's head and tail to the body
      It should look a bit like this when you turn it over.

      front view of the chinese dragon
      Using sticky tape, fasten straws to the back of the dragon's head and tail.

      Attaching handles to the dragon
      There should be about 3cm taped to the card, so you're left with long handles to hold the puppet with.

      A finished Chinese Dragon
      And here it is - your dragon puppet is ready to dance in celebration of Chinese New Year!
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