Printable Envelopes, Bookmarks, and Lanterns for Year of the Dog: Kid Crafts for Chinese New Year

Updated on January 4, 2018
Adele Jeunette profile image

Adele has been a youth librarian for 20 years. She has learned lots about making crafts easy and inexpensive.

Printable craft projects for Year of the Dog - Chinese New Year
Printable craft projects for Year of the Dog - Chinese New Year

Printable Craft Ideas for Year of the Dog

When Chinese New Year starts in 2018 on February 16, the date will herald the Year of the Dog. Here is a roundup of printable patterns suitable for preschool or elementary-age children to color, cut and assemble. If you teach at a school, or would like a craft for your children to do at home, these simple patterns allow you to print and go.

Each template includes the Chinese characters for “Happy New Year” along with the pinyin version which shows how to pronounce it.

How to Use These Patterns

The images are all loaded onto this article as photos (jpegs). Here is how to print them out:

  1. Left-click on the photo.
  2. Use a right-click to copy it.
  3. Paste the photo into any program that allows you to modify photos, like Word or Publisher. Then, you can enlarge or minimize the image the way you’d like.
  4. Use the print function on the program to print out the picture you’ve chosen.

Lucky Red Envelopes for Chinese New Year

In China, the color red is lucky, and people often give red envelopes with money during Chinese New Year or other special occasions. The envelopes usually have some sort of gold embellishment on them, since gold signifies wealth.

The Mandarin word for these envelopes is hong bao, while the Cantonese call them lai see. Mandarin is the official language for China, but many people in the south speak a variant of the related Cantonese language.

It is customary for people to give these envelopes especially to unmarried children in the family, and to children of close friends and acquaintances. They are also given out to employees on the last working day before the holiday, sort of like a bonus.

How much money to enclose varies by who is giving and who is receiving, and there are guidelines for what is appropriate to give to different people, depending on how close they are to you. One guideline is that you should not give money any multiple with the number “4” in it, as it is considered to be unlucky. The Mandarin word for “four”sounds similar to the word for “death.” On the other hand, “8”is considered to be lucky since the word “eight” sounds similar to the word for “to make a fortune.” (That is why the Chinese started the Olympic Games on 8/08/2008. The date was considered to be propitious.) So, you would not want to give someone 400 yuan (the unit of money), but giving them 800 yuan would be lucky.

An adaptation I’ve seen in America is to put a chocolate coin in the envelope. At Chinese New Year performances, schools will give out envelopes to all the children in the audience. The coin still seems like a bit of money, and the children enjoy the chocolate more than they would if they only got a nickel or a dime in their red envelope.

If you’d like to have the children make their own envelope, you can print the patterns below out onto red paper, or the children can color the background red of you like. They can also use a gold metallic sharpie to outline the pictures and the words.

Red Envelope Template with Dog Character

Red Envelope Template with Dog to Color

Here is a red envelope with a simple dog in a circle.
Here is a red envelope with a simple dog in a circle.

Red Envelope Template with T-Shirt Dog

This little dog has a t-shirt with the Chinese character for "dog" on it.
This little dog has a t-shirt with the Chinese character for "dog" on it.

Red Envelope Template with Cartoon Dog

This template with a cartoon dog also includes the Chinese character for dog.
This template with a cartoon dog also includes the Chinese character for dog.

Red Envelope Template with Curlicue Dog

Here's another variation of the Chinese zodiac dog.
Here's another variation of the Chinese zodiac dog.

Suggested Envelopes and Chocolate Coins

If you’re having a relatively big Chinese New Year gathering and want to buy chocolate coins and envelopes to give out, I’ve had good luck with the following products from Amazon. The ed Envelopes in Colors are relatively inexpensive and feature nice-looking illustrations. Sometimes, the adhesive isn’t all that strong, but it doesn’t matter much to me because they don’t have to hold very long. The Solid Milk Chocolate Large Kennedy Gold Coins are fairly big, but still fit nicely in the envelopes. They aren’t the highest quality chocolate, but still acceptable. Let’s put it this way—none of the children who received them complained. I think most of them were eaten before the children got out the door.

Lucky Red Envelopes

Chocolate Coins

Lanterns to Print and Color

The Chinese New Year celebration lasts for two weeks and culminates in the Lantern Festival, held on the last day when the moon is full. (The celebration is pegged to a lunar calendar, so that the start is always on a new moon, and the end is always at the full moon.) People get together and enjoy lighting lanterns and viewing them. Some are the traditional sphere shape, but others look like dragons and other animals, flowers, fruits, opera masks, almost anything.

These templates are in the shape of an oblong lantern. If you print them onto card stock, the children can color them and then attach a string and hang them from the ceiling.

Lantern Template #1

This dog has a little T-shirt with the Chinese character for "dog" on it.
This dog has a little T-shirt with the Chinese character for "dog" on it.

Lantern Template #2

This lantern template includes a dog playing with a ball that has the Chinese character for "dog" on it.
This lantern template includes a dog playing with a ball that has the Chinese character for "dog" on it.

Lantern Template #3

Lantern illustration for Year of the Dog
Lantern illustration for Year of the Dog

Bookmark Templates to Print, Color, and Cut

I’ve added in some bookmarks that the kids can color and cut. They would make good gifts to give out to friends and family members.

Bookmark Template #1

Bookmark Template #2

© 2018 Adele Jeunette

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