Simple DIY Chinese New Year Decoration: Year of the Dog

It’s almost New Year’s Day…for Chinese New Year, that is! On Friday, February 16, folks all over the world will be celebrating the beginning of the Year of the Dog. There are lots of fun traditions incorporated into this holiday, including decorating your home {and yourself} with the color red. Festive red lanterns, signs, and other decorations are displayed to symbolize the hope for luck, happiness, and joy in the new year. Children receive money in special red envelopes too. This year, our family is excited to be celebrating Chinese New Year with our adopted son, Scout, who is from Chengdu. In addition to buying some decorations, I thought it would be fun if we made some of our own. Here is a very quick and easy piece of red decor we created that symbolizes the Year of the Dog.

Chinese New Year Decoration: Year of the Dog

You’ll need:

round cardboard, paper mache, or wooden ornament
red and black paint {I used FolkArt Multi-Surface Apple Red and Pure Black}
red yarn

Step 1: Paint your ornament red.

Ornaments like these are usually pretty easy to find year-round at your local craft store, or you can get them online. I used a paper mache one, because it’s what I had in my craft stash, but a wooden one would work just as well.

One coat of FolkArt Multi-Surface Apple Red was enough to give great coverage for me, but if you feel like your project needs two coats of paint, feel free to apply more. Let the paint dry completely before moving on.

Step 2: Use a pencil to sketch the Chinese character for “dog” or whatever other image/word/symbol you like on the ornament.

Click here for a step-by-step tutorial on how to draw this character. Some other ideas include the characters for “China,” “2018,” or the words, “happy new year.”

Step 3: Paint over your pencil lines.

I used a very thin liner brush and black paint to create my character. If you prefer, you can also do this step using a black paint pen or permanent marker. Then, set the ornament aside to dry while you create the tassel.

Step 4: Cut a 12″ piece of yarn and lay it across the top of a book.

I just grabbed the closest one that my son borrowed from the library.

Step 5: Wrap red yarn around the book 15 times.

This will become your tassel, so if you want a thicker one, you’ll want to wrap a few extra times.

Step 6: Tie the piece of yarn that was across the top of your book around the wrapped yarn. Then, flip the book over and cut the yarn at the bottom.

This will remove it from the book. You’ll now have a long bunch of yarn hanging from two strings.

Step 7: Cut one more piece of yarn and tie it around the other strings to form the tassel.

Step 8: Tape or glue the two strings to the back of your ornament.

You can make the tassel hang down as far as you like, then just trim off the extra yarn.

That’s all there is to it! Now your festive decoration is ready to help you ring in the lunar new year!

How do you and your family celebrate Chinese New Year? I’d love for you to share your ideas and photos in our Facebook Group Amy Latta and Friends!

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DIY Chinese New Year Decoration: Year of the Dog

For more inspiration, check out these posts:

10 Chinese New Year Crafts

10 Chinese New Year Crafts

Chinese “Love” Sign

Chinese Character "Love" Sign

Writing the character for “dog”

Chinese Dangle Earrings

Oriental Dangle Earrings

Easy & Delicious Fried Rice

Easy Breakfast Fried Rice

Easy Asian Noodles

Easy Asian Noodles


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