Watercolour Chinese Lanterns


Decorative Chinese lanterns are a key part of the annual Chinese new year celebrations. This fun and easy craft project is a great way for children to learn and talk about the world’s many different cultures. Our Chinese lanterns offer the opportunity for each child to get creative, with a large window for a water colour drawing or some authentic Chinese writing. This activity is easy to customise to suit the abilities and interests of your group and can be used for both preschool and primary school children.

To make Chinese lanterns you will need:

Coloured Craft Card
A3 Tracing Paper
Watercolour Pencils
Sticky Tape
Glue Stick
Ribbon or other colourful decorations

1. Take the coloured card, and cut a strip (3-4cm) off one of the short edges – this will form the handle.

2. Fold the remaining card in half lengthways, and starting from the folded edge, cut out the centre of the card leaving a border of around 3-4cm around three sides.

3. Unfold the card which will reveal an even rectangular border of card, with a large gap in the middle .

4. Now you’ll need to create the picture to go in the centre of the lantern. To do this, use the watercolour pencils and a little water to draw a picture of your choice on the tracing paper. Ensure that the picture will fit within the card border.

chinese lantern5. Attach the picture to the back of the card border using a glue stick, and fold the picture into a cylindrical shape with the picture inside the border, facing out. Fix in place using sticky tape, or with a stapler if required.

6. Attach the handle to the top of the lantern using sticky tape or staples.

7. Finally, decorate the borders of the Chinese lanterns with brightly coloured ribbon, glitter pens, or in any other colourful way you like.

chinese  lanterns NY

Extension idea:

Ask the children to add some writing to their pictures, perhaps writing their own names using some easy Chinese phrases.

EYFS learning goals supported by this project

ELGO1 Communication and language development: listening and attention

ELG02 Communications and language development: understanding

ELG04 Physical development: moving and handling co-ordination

ELG06 Personal, social and emotional development: Self confidence and self awareness

ELG10 Literacy development: writing

ELG12 Mathmatics development: shape, space and measures

ELG13 Understanding the world: people and communities

ELG16 Expressive art and design: exploring and using media and materials

ELG17 Expressive arts and design: being imaginative

Looking for more ideas? Check out our Chinese New Year page here or follow us on Pinterest.

Visit The Consortium Early Years’s profile on Pinterest.