How to Make a Cardboard Box Dragon Mask for Chinese New Year

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Your dragon mask need not be this elaborate to be fun.
Your dragon mask need not be this elaborate to be fun. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

The Chinese dragons that dance at the Chinese New Year are intricate, beautiful and, yes, expensive. You need not break the bank, however, to create your own Chinese dragon mask. With supplies as simple as a cardboard box and standard arts and crafts tools, you can make your own Chinese dragon mask to add fun to your home festivities.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Colored poster board
  • Markers or craft paint
  • String or yarn

Disassemble your cardboard box and spread it out on a flat surface. If you're using a large box, you can use a single side for your mask. If you're using a smaller box, however, you will need to use several sides of it.

Draw the outline of the dragon's head on the flattened cardboard. The simplest way to do this is to trace, or trace around, a picture of the dragon you wish to create. There are also a variety of templates you can use to trace your outline. If you can draw your dragon's head freehand, that's another option.

Cut out the outline of the dragon's head.

Color your dragon's facial features. Use a picture or template, or draw the features freehand. Include eyes, ears, mouth and teeth. Add scales or spikes around the outside of the dragon's head. Color its features using acrylic craft paint or large markers, or cut out each feature from colored cardstock and glue it to the dragon's head. For a truly authentic look, make your dragon's head largely red, with yellow and green facial details (and, if you choose, white and brown accents). Or try another color combination for a more creative look.

Add eye holes. If possible, cut them in the pupils of the dragon's own eyes. If your dragon's head is significantly larger than your own, however, this won't be possible; you'll need to cut the eye holes in front of your own eyes so you can see while wearing the mask.

Cut holes on each side of the dragon's head for the strings you'll use to tie on the mask. Cut two strings of equal length and attach one to each hole, tying them on securely.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add other details, such as sequins to the face or streamers to the bottom of the mask, for a more colorful end result.
  • Rather than using ties, attach a stick or ruler to the bottom of the mask and simply hold the mask up to your face using the stick.

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