How to Make Red Envelopes for Chinese New Year

In this blog post, we will show you how to make traditional red envelopes for Chinese New Year. This is a fun and easy Chinese New Year craft for kids to enjoy, while learning about these important celebrations.

Make your own lucky red envelope, and even incorporate some fun maths activities as we learn about money as well as the Chinese Lunar New Year or Spring Festival celebrations.

Chinese New Year lucky red envelope hong bao money pouch

What are Chinese Red Envelopes?

One of the best-known Chinese New Year traditions is the practice of giving lucky red envelopes, or red money envelopes. In Chinese culture, the color red symbolizes good luck and good fortune.

This Chinese New Year craft activity is a great way to teach your child about this important cultural practice and Chinese New Year customs and it’ll give her a chance to make her very own red envelope.

In Mandarin, these red envelopes are called 红包 (hóng bāo) – hong means red, and bao means a bag or pouch. In other dialects you may hear these called hong pao, or ang pao

Chinese New Year lucky red envelope picture

Once the craft is complete, have her practice math skills by filling the envelope with money, and then give it to a loved one as a way to spread good will and ward off evil spirits in the New Year.

How to make Red Envelopes for Chinese New Year


Supplies – What You Need to Make Red Envelopes for Chinese New Year

There are many traditions surrounding the red envelope during Chinese New Year. You can make red envelopes using different materials such as paper or fabric. However, in this tutorial we will be making red envelopes using paper as this is the easiest way for kids.

You only need a few basic craft supplies for this activity, which you probably have around the house!

  • Red construction paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Gold glitter glue or metallic gold paint pen
  • Money: a variety of bills and coins
  • Sticker
Chinese New Year craft for kids How to make a red envelope

Method – How to make Chinese New Year Red Envelopes Step by Step

Chinese New Year is coming up fast! To help you out, We’ve prepared a set of simple steps for you to follow that will enable you to make red envelopes for Chinese New Year.

  1. Using the ruler, have your child measure a 6” x 6” square on the red construction paper. Mark the rectangle using a pencil.
  2. Instruct your child to cut out the rectangle with the scissors.
  3. Have your child place the paper in front of her so the square looks like a diamond shape.
  4. Show your child how to take the bottom corner and fold it into the center of the paper. Crease firmly.
  5. Now, help your child take the right corner and fold it into the center of the paper, creasing the paper firmly. Use the glue stick to attach the right side onto the bottom side, making sure to leave the envelope pocket open.
  6. Take the left side corner and fold it toward the center as before. Glue it on top of the other folded paper, making sure the envelope pocket is still open.
  7. Now, fold the top corner down, but do not glue it down. Turn the envelope over to the other side.
  8. Allow your child to use the gold glitter glue or paint pen to create a Chinese character design on the front of the red envelope. You may wish to look for Chinese character symbols for happiness or luck online to copy – we have some to download in PDF format at the end of this blog post – Let the glitter glue dry.
  9. Take out a few different coins and bills. Explain to your child that it’s a Chinese tradition to give people red envelopes filled with money as part of the New Year celebration.
  10. Ask her to identify the values of the coins and bills. Tell her that the amount of money in red envelopes usually ends in an even digit. Be sure to warn her not to include the number 4 in the amount! This number is considered bad luck. Then, challenge her to fill the envelope with a particular amount of money keeping in mind what you just revealed.
  11. Encourage her to seal the envelope and give it to a friend or family member.

Happy Chinese New Year Everyone! Even if you don’t live in China, you can still enjoy making and giving red envelopes this year.

Chinese New Year red money envelope

Printable Templates for Chinese Characters

Kids can use these templates to have a go at copying some of the Chinese characters onto their red envelope (aka Hong Bao in Mandarin) or even cut them out and glue onto the red packet.

The two greetings we have used for the templates are in Mandarin Chinese.

xīn nián kuài lè (新年快乐): Happy New Year

gōng xǐ fā cái (恭喜发财): congratulations, prosperity, and good luck

how to write happy new year in chinese characters mandarin Xin naan kuai le
xīn nián kuài lè (新年快乐): Happy New Year
Chinese New Year greeting in Mandarin Chinese characters gong xi fa cai
gōng xǐ fā cái (恭喜发财): congratulations, prosperity, and good luck

Each page has the same greeting four times in a choice of text styles and designs, along with a plain black and white version for clearer reading and copying.

Download PDF Chinese New Year Greetings Printable

More Chinese New Year Activities

Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt

Have fun finding clues all around the house with this Chinese New Year themed indoor treasure hunt activity for kids of all ages.

Chinese New Year Color by Number

This high quality printables pack has lots of different Chinese New Year themed pictures to colour by number, including lucky fish, Chinese Dragon dance, money pouches and lots more.

Paper Plate Lanterns for Chinese New Year

Why not make some red lanterns too, using paper plates.

Or have fun trying some Chinese recipes for Chinese New Year

chinese new year food

Chinese New Year 2022 is Year of the Tiger in the Chinese Zodiac system. Have fun making this adorable cardboard tiger craft with the kids

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We hope you enjoyed this Chinese New Year Craft Idea. Red envelopes are an important part of the Chinese New Year tradition, and this is a fun and easy way to get kids involved.

Please share this activity idea with friends and family, parents and educators. We always appreciate any pins to your Pinterest Boards!

How to make Chinese New Year lucky red envelopes with kids. Fun and easy traditional Chinese New Year craft, with free printable templates for the chinese characters

This fun and easy arts craft for first graders teaches both about the Chinese New Year and some basic math skills, this post was provided courtesy of Education.com but has been updated in 2022 with additional content.

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