Chinese New Year Dragon toilet paper roll craft

While trying to figure out what I wanted to do for a craft for today, I came across a really cool snake craft at Easy Preschool Crafts for Kids that uses toilet paper rolls.  Since yesterday was the Chinese New Year and its the year of the Dragon, I thought I’d adapt it to make a fun Chinese dragon.


  • 4 toilet paper rolls (or however many you want to make it as long as you want)
  • Paint
  • Brush for the paint – although finger paint works just as well, too
  • Hole punch
  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • String, yarn, rope, etc.


After preparing your work surface for the activities, cut the toilet paper rolls in half.  Let your toddler or preschooler paint all but one of the halves of toilet paper rolls.  Set them aside to dry.

While your youngster is working away, you can get everything ready for the dragon head. Of course, you can do it ahead of time, but that would require actually thinking and preparing, which I usually don’t do on crafty days.

Cut the teeth.  I made a rectangle first that was a little larger than the width of the toilet paper roll and about 1/2 of the height of the paper roll.  Then I cut the rectangle in half using a zig zag pattern to make the teeth.

Tape the teeth on to the roll.



Cut the head out of any color you wish.  My son chose red. I made a very rough template (see picture to the left). Its basically two hearts along a rectangle.  The rectangle should be the size of your cut piece of toilet paper.

You’ll want the hearts to come to a pretty narrow point so that the piece wraps around the toilet paper roll and the eyes and nose stand up.

Next you’ll want to tape the head onto the roll.  Put a piece of tape on one “strap” of the head piece, line up the top of the head with the center of the teeth, then tape the piece in place. Tape down the other side.

The eyes and nose are not perfectly lined up and my son definitely doesn’t care!


Cut out 2 circles for the whites of the eyes, 2 smaller black circles for the pupils and 2 small black circles for the nostrils.

I cut long strips of construction paper and let my son practice his scissor skills by cutting the strips shorter. Of course, you can do the strips yourself.

Glue the eyes and nostrils in place. I let my son do the gluing. Next I let him dip each strip of paper into the glue to get the end wet. While I held the head, he glued the strip in the hole (I adjusted each strip as needed – but only to make sure that the strip wasn’t too far in). Let the glue dry (this is when we ate lunch). I took this time to check and make sure there weren’t too many globs of paint on the toilet paper rolls, if there was I just flattened them out.

After the glue was dry, I put some tape on the back of the strips to make sure they stood up straight. By this time, the paint was dry, too.

Next it was time to punch holes. Punch two holes on the side of the dragon’s head in the back. Then punch 2 holes in each side of the other toilet paper rolls, except the tail piece (that only needs 1 hole on each side at the front). You’ll want the 2 holes to be lined up.

Then you string the pieces together. I didn’t have any yarn or string, but I did have some twine… it worked just as well. Once it was strung together, we folded in the last piece to make it look more like a tail.

P.S.  My son was dressed up as a dragon while we did this!





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