Chinese New Year Crafts – Year of the Dog

Why Year of The Dog?

Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar. It takes place on a different date each year, usually between Jan 20th and Feb 20th. The Chinese zodiac moves in a 12 year cycle and each year is represented by an animal that has significance within Asian history. 2018 will be the Year of the Dog, but it is actually a special year, as it is also the Year of the ‘Earth Dog’, the first time since 1958. The Year of the Dog begins on February 16, 2018.

In Asian culture, the year in which you were born is said to determine many of your personality traits. The dog represents independence, sincerity loyalty, and decisiveness. If you are born in Year of the Dog you can enjoy harmonious relationships with those around you.

Chinese New Year is a celebration of light and sound. It is not just a celebration of one night, but will span over a couple of weeks with colourful parades and festivals. It is seen as an opportunity to allow positive energy into your home for the spring. There are many traditions, such as children being given a red envelope that will be filled with ‘lucky money’ and positive wishes for the year ahead.

Crafts for Chinese New Year

OkoNorm Finger Paint – Gemma and Family 

Painting is such a lovely late winter activity. It means staying indoors in the warm, and gives you a chance to get creative, and an excuse for some messy play! It is nice to use a craft activity to discover other cultures, and talk about Chinese New Year and East Asia. It’s about getting  ready to welcome in the Spring, with beautiful cherry blossom just around the corner.

Okonorm finger paints are unlike any other finger paints we’ve tried in the past. They have a lovely thick consistency and good range of bold vibrant colours. The thick consistency makes it less messy to work with, and it washes off hands and clothes brilliantly. Other brand paints we’ve used in the past are too runny or transparent.

We’ve used the pastel finger paint set and only needed the paint from the lid because a little goes a long way. We worked together splodging finger prints along a prepainted tree trunk. Joseph used the trunk as a guide to see where the flowers should go and enjoyed patting the three shades of pink over the paper, and he was very proud to see the finished piece hanging on the wall.

Okonorm modelling clay – Jo Worrall and family 

This year the Chinese are celebrating year of the dog, so while my smallest napped, I did some crafting with my eldest boys with Okönorm Clay. The boys decided to try and make our dog, Skye. As it is year of the ‘Earth Dog’ we chose the Okonorm Earth set which was perfect for our liver and white Springer Spaniel.
 Edward made a 2D creation and Oren made a 3D miniature Skye. We also enjoyed learning which animal they were both on the Chinese Calendar. Edward is tiger and Oren is a dragon!
The clay molds really well and is nice and pliable so great for working on the boy’s muscle tone. Oren is quite weak in this area so it’s a great activity to build his strength and encourage dexterity. The clay is really easy to clean up and leaves no mess or stains whatsoever on clothes and surfaces.
The boys had great fun until Skye wanted a closer look and jumped on the table to inspect their work!

Glückskäfer Felting Wool – Heather and Family 

I have wanted to give needle felting a go for ages so now seemed like as good a time as any! I really enjoy craft but rarely seem to find the time for ‘adult’ craft these days. The Glückskäfer felting wool comes in 15 gorgeous colours , ready for any project you might have in mind. All you need is:

  • Felting Wool
  • Needles and handle
  • A piece of foam or other surface to rest on

We have a working cocker spaniel called Bella. She was about 18 months when my first son Arthur was born and she is a wonderful big sister to both my boys! So I couldn’t resist attempting to create a miniature Bella to celebrate Chinese New Year: Year of the dog.

I chose the three colours closest to her fur to start off with, but mainly used dark brown and white. I read some online tutorials before I started but pretty much just made it up as I went along. I started by making each of the parts of her body. The first part to make was her body, I took a small amount of wool, rolled it up on itself, rested it on the foam and began to ‘poke’ it with the needle. It’s surprisingly therapeutic! As the needle passes through the wool fibres it ‘knits’ it together, ultimately forming quite a firm and sturdy object.

I then went on to make the head, ears and legs. Once they were made, I attached them to the main body with the felting needle and, after a lot of stabbing, the fibres eventually hold each part in place.

It really is simple. As I said, this was my first attempt at felting and this little Bella took me about an hour and a half. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking to find their inner craftiness!

Needle felting is really aimed at older children or adults, at least age 14 due to how sharp the needles are. You can still enjoy some wet felting with your little ones though which is just as much fun, if not more. As Chinese New Year is synonymous with dragons, I thought it would be fun to make some balls of dragon fire! It’s really easy, although it does require some patience to get the balls nice and tight. All you need is felt and some hot soapy water.

Start by rolling the felt into balls. Roll a little tightly, then roll some more on top at a right angle. Keep doing this until the ball is a couple of inches or so (size is up to you). They will then look like this…

Then comes the fun part! Drop the balls in the hot soapy water one at a time. The process is then one of dunking, squeezing, and rolling repeatedly until the ball is tight and the size you want. You can add more felt along the way if you need to. Even Eli could join in making a splashy mess at 20 months old!

I had to finish the balls off to get them as tight as they needed to be to look effective.

We then had fun with our Holztiger dragons knocking down innocent Grapat Nins with our fiery fury!


Wishing you all happiness and prosperity for the coming year xx

Thanks to Hannah Chan for this beautiful picture of her three little ones at Chinese New Year!

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4 Responses

  1. Some great ideas here. Excited to try them it. Happy Chinese New Year, all x

  2. Jo says:

    Aaawww love it. Painting the leaves on the tree is genius and I love the felted doggles too

  3. J says:

    How lovely were all of these crafting ideas,inspirational indeed.

  1. February 16, 2018

    […] are lots of crafting ideas to try out on the Babipur blog here if you fancy a nosey; might find us on there too! Edward wants to do the tree painting activity […]

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