How to make a paper dragon

Making a paper dragon is easy and fun! Just follow these simple steps and you’ll have your very own dragon in no time.

make a paper dragon
By Nelson Oae

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn how to make a Chinese dragon puppet out of a paper bag and some simple craft materials. This project is perfect for a Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year celebration, or any time you want to add a fun dragon to your playtime!

What You’ll Need

To make a simple origami dragon, you’ll need two squares of paper, a pair of scissors, and a bit of patience. The finished project is about the size of a playing card, so choose your paper accordingly. If you want a bigger dragon, use sheets of construction paper or poster board.

Fold one piece of paper in half diagonally to create a triangle. Unfold the triangle and then fold it in half again the other way to create another triangle. You should now have a square with a fold down the middle.

Fold the square in half to create a rectangle. Unfold the rectangle and then fold it in half the other way to create another rectangle. You should now have a square with two folds.

Using your scissors, cut along both folds to create four equal strips of paper.

Step One: Making the Head

Use a pencil to sketch a basic dragon head shape onto the colored paper. The head should be big enough to fit comfortably in your child’s hand.

Next, have your child use scissors to cut out the dragon head. If necessary, help them make any tricky cuts.

Once the head is cut out, encourage your child to get creative and decorate their dragon however they like! They could add glitter, googly eyes, or anything else they can think of.

When they’re finished decorating, help them glue the two halves of the head together.

Step Two: Making the Body

Cut a long, curved strip from the green construction paper. This will be the dragon’s body. Make the body as long or short as you want, but keep in mind that a longer body will be harder to curl into a circle. Once you have cut out the body, set it aside for now.

Step Three: Making the Wings


Now you need to make the wings. Cut two long strips of paper, about four inches wide. Make sure they are mirror images of each other.

Fold each strip in half lengthwise. Then, starting at the fold, the accordion folds the paper until you have a strip that is about two inches wide.

Next, take one wing and curl it around your finger to give it a curved shape. Do the same with the other wing.

Now it’s time to attach the wings to the body of your dragon. First, make two small slits in the body where you want the wings to go. Then insert the end of one wing into each slit.

Step Four: Finishing Up

Now that you have your dragon all put together, it is time to finish it off. You will want to add any final details, such as eyes, claws, teeth, or whatever else you can think of to make your dragon look ferocious. Once you are satisfied with the way your dragon looks, it is time to give it a try. Hold the dragon by the tail and throw it into the air. Watch as it soars through the sky. Congratulations! You have just made your very own paper dragon!

Conclusion

This easy-to-follow guide will help you make an impressive paper dragon that is sure to delight all who see it. With just a few supplies and a little bit of time, you can create your own unique dragon friend. So what are you waiting for? Get crafting!

Credits

Thank you to the many people who have contributed to this project over the years, including:

  • Quentin Brown for the original idea and design
  • Andrew Stacey for cutting and folding instructions
  • Beth Hetzer for help with photography
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