Chinese Paper Lanterns

26 Jan

January Lesson for Room 10 & 8

Happy New Year!  This month in Room 10 & 8 we talked about the Chinese New Year;  The year of the Dragon.  We discussed one of the traditional ways of celebrating – Chinese Lanterns!- and celebrated by  making some of our own!


  • To learn about the history of Chinese Lanterns and how their symbolism relates to the Chinese New Year.
  • To study and learn Chinese Characters, their meanings, and how to write them using different line types.
  • To create a Paper Chinese lantern with original student artwork including at least two Chinese characters.

We started the lesson by discussing the history of the Chinese lantern.  The Chinese have been using lanterns since 250 BC to celebrate special events.  Each year, on the Lunar New Year, Chinese celebrate with a lantern festival, hanging hundreds of lanterns in the streets in hopes of seeing the spirits of loved ones.

Students then studied the Top 10 Lucky Chinese Symbols, looked at pictures of dragons and thought about other images that were important to them.  After sketching their designs out in pencil,  students painted their designs on red construction paper using diluted speedball ink and bamboo brushes.  After the ink dried, students crafted the lanterns and embellished them with glitter and yarn.

Here is a link for the Top 10 lucky symbols:

Here is a link for folding, cutting & pasting the lanterns into shape:

While students were waiting for the ink to dry, we filled the time with Chinese new year mazes, puzzles and coloring pages.  I found them at:

Art docents then hung the lanterns from the ceiling outside Room 10 and Room 8  just in time for Loyal Heights own New Year Parade!


12 x 18 red construction paper

bamboo brushes (but any brush will work)

speedball ink diluted with water (you could also use watercolor)

water cups

yellow/gold yarn


hole puncher

Comments: Bamboo brushes paint thick lines.  Encourage students to sketch their Chinese characters and other images large so that they are easy to paint.

Art Docent: Kimberly Albert, Britt Sutherland


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