Dragon Boat

Elegant dragon boats have been made in Ancient China for over 2000 years. They originated in fishing communities and are still used for dragon boat racing today. Dragons feature prominently in Chinese folklore representing power, strength and other important aspects of life. Create your own boat to honour this age-old tradition.

Dragon Boat

Skill Level


Time to Make

2 hours + drying time for paint + glue

Adult Supervision Needed


How to Make

  1. To make the 2 sides for the boat, you need 2 matching card shapes cut from a card wreath.
    Start by cutting a wreath in half across the middle.
    On one half, draw a straight line across the middle of the curved edge for the flat base on the boat. Draw a curve at both ends of the boat shape for the neck and tail on the dragon. Cut out the card shape and keep the offcuts.
    Place the boat shape it onto the other half of the wreath, draw around the edge then cut it out to make 2 matching pieces.
  2. Brush glue along the 2 thinner sides of a matchbox, press the 2 card boat shapes on top with the matchbox sitting as a flat base. Leave to dry. Brush glue onto the card tail and neck, carefully bend in the card ends then press together to form the 3D boat shape. Wrap masking tape around the ends of the boat to cover any gaps and to make the construction stronger.
  3. Glue left over card pieces onto the boat for the dragon’s head, horns and tail. Leave to dry.
  4. Tear some red tissue paper strips. Brush glue over the boat then paste down the tissue pieces to cover it on the outside and on the inside. Paste more glue over the tissue until it sticks smoothly over the dragon’s shape. Leave to dry.
  5. Brush black paint inside the boat over the base and matchbox. Paint the eyes white. Use gold paint to outline the edges on the boat Leave to dry.
    Draw scales and fill in the mouth and eyes with a black deco pen. Add painted gold highlights on the face and body and white teeth. Leave to dry.
  6. Cut some short pieces of gold cord. Paste glue along the dragon’s neck and above the eyes then press the cord pieces on top as decoration.
Dragon Boat Dragon Boat Dragon Boat

Top Tip

To add more shape on the dragon’s head, glue scrunched up tissue balls onto the head for raised eyes and nostrils before covering the boat with red tissue.

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