How to Build a Chinese Lion Costume

Written by evelyn king
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Whether for Chinese New Year, a parade or a costume party, adults and children alike will enjoy making this Chinese lion costume. Using simple materials that can be found at home and in the craft store, it is easy to make a Chinese lion costume that is true to the authentic traditional costumes and that still has a personal touch, for example incorporating favourite colours.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Large cardboard box
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Marker
  • Fabric
  • Glue
  • Stapler
  • Construction paper or fabric paint
  • Tissue paper

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    Making the Lion's Head

  1. 1

    Paint the whole of the outside of the box in a bright colour of your choice. Traditional colours include red and orange. Leave to dry.

  2. 2

    Taking the cardboard box, cut away any flaps so that there is no lid. Cut two eyeholes in one of its faces.

  3. 3

    Use a marker pen or pencil to draw eyes, ears, mouth and a large mane on colourful paper. Cut them out and glue them onto the box to create a lion's head. Leave to dry.

    Completing the Costume

  1. 1

    Cut the colourful fabric to the appropriate length. It should be at least as long as the distance between the back of the intended wearer's neck and the floor, although a train makes for an authentic feel.

  2. 2

    Staple the fabric to the bottom of the back face of the cardboard box, so that it trails behind the wearer.

  3. 3

    Decorate the fabric. Bright sparks and flashes of fabric paint look great. Alternatively, draw around your hand many times on tissue paper, cut out and staple or glue the hands onto the fabric. This replicates the effect of the floaty tissue paper used to create the three-dimensional texture of authentic costumes. Allow the glue to dry before wearing.

Tips and warnings

  • Always supervise children around scissors.
  • Staples can be sharp; ensure that there are no sharp edges where staples failed to fold in on themselves.

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