Chinese New Year Dragon Marionette

  • Young Adult
  • Grades 1-3

Use recycled items, like paper tubes, some basic craft materials and create a dragon marionette puppet.


  • Acrylic Jewels Assorted Bright Colors
  • 25 Pack Assorted Paint Brushes
  • Acrylic Paint Jars, 24 Assorted colors
  • Round Dowels Assorted Sizes
  • Scissors
  • Masking Tape
  • Craft Glue
  • Paper Towel Roll
  • Balloon
  • Pencil


To watch a video about this project, click here!


Step 1. Gather your supplies.



Step 2.


Take a stiff piece of paper such as a manilla folder or a piece of poster board and cut (2) wings, a tail, (3) scales and (2) trapezoids which will become the dragon’s snout.


Step 3.


Take the (2) trapezoids and fold them in half along the center line. Tape the pieces together to form a snout.


Step 4.


To make the armature of the dragon (the basic form), begin by blowing up a balloon so that it is the size of a tennis ball and tie a knot. Tape the balloon to a 2 inch piece of cardboard from a discarded paper towel roll. Attach the snout, a scale to the snout and a scale to the head using masking tape.

Step 5.


Continue to form the armature of the dragon by attaching scales to (2) additional small pieces of cardboard paper towel rolls and attach the wings to a third roll. Each piece of cardboard paper towel roll should measure approximately 2 inches.


Step 6.


Cover each piece of the armature with Plaster Rigid Wrap Cloth. For additional instructions click here. Allow the Plaster Rigid Wrap Cloth to dry overnight, then paint and decorate the dragon. We decorated our dragon using Acrylic Gems, assorted Spangles, Pony Beads and Wiggly Eyes.



Step 7.


To attach the dragon and form your marionette, begin by taking 2 feet of Elastic Cord to string the dragon components together.

First thread a tapestry needle and poke a hole through the side of the dragon’s head and then come out the other side.




Step 8.


Tie a tight knot in your Elastic Cord flush against the base of the dragon’s head.


Step 9.


String (4) Pony Beads onto the Elastic Cord


Step 10.


Using your tapestry needle pierce the “wing” component of the dragon and again add (4) pony beads. Tip: After each component that you attach, add a dab of glue to the point where the Elastic Cord enters and exits the dragon.


Step 11.


Continue to thread the tapestry needle through the dragon’s body segments attaching (4) pony beads between each segment as you go. When you get to the dragon’s tail tie a tight double knot and cut off the excess cord. Secure the knot with a dab of glue.



Step 12.


To attach the body of the dragon to a Wooden Dowel, cut (4) pieces of Elastic Cord each measuring 1 1/2 feet in length. Take your first cord and thread it through your tapestry needle. Pierce the scale on the top of the dragon’s head and tie a knot. Dab the knot with glue. Repeat on your second and third dragon scales and on your dragon’s tail.


Step 13.


For the wings cut two pieces of Elastic Cord each measuring 1 foot in length. Thread your tapestry needle with (1) piece of cord and pierce the tip of one wing -about 1/4 inch from the edge of the wing. Tie a double knot under the wing and cut off the excess thread. Dab the knot with glue. Repeat for the other wing.


Step 14.


Attach the head and body parts to a Wood Dowel by winding each elastic cord around the dowel and tying a tight double knot. Secure each knot with a dab of glue. The Wooden Dowel should run parallel to the dragon’s body.


Step 15.


Secure the wings to a second Wood Dowel by repeating Step 15. This Wood Dowel Should sit under the first dowel and should run horizontal to the body of the dragon.

Your Dragon is now complete and ready for a performance!