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CNY Red Packet Crafts: Big Fish, Small Fish

For Chinese New Year this year, Noah’s school gave us an optional parent-child bonding activity: making a red packet lantern. I thought it would be fun, and went online to look for some simple lanterns. YouTube has many step-by-step tutorials, and I found two rather easy ones. Or so I thought. I showed them to Noah, and he was all excited about making the fish lanterns, so I went through my junk craft materials and red packet stash to find the necessary items. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right size for the red packets, nor did I have red string or tassels, and had to make a quick trip to SKP and Popular.

For those of you who also have to, I mean, want to bond with your child over some CNY crafts, here’s my step-by-step tutorial in pictures, because if you’re like me, the YouTube videos will go way too fast, and you’ll find yourself rewinding and replaying the different steps over and over again. Or maybe that’s just me la. The video I followed for this craft can be found HERE.

Big Fish Lantern: Materials Needed 16 medium-sized red packets (I bought these really cute ones from SKP at $2 for 5 packs of 6!) Stapler Glue Scissors Red string (I got gold string from Popular instead) Tassels (I couldn’t find any, so I didn’t use this) Needle (I used a belt hole puncher)


Big Fish Lantern: Instructions

1. Fold in the four corners of 8 red packets.


2. Staple four of them together, to form a large “coin”.


3. Repeat for the remaining four.


4. Place the two “coins” back to back, and staple them together.


5. Choose one corner as the top, and punch a small hole in the corner.


6. Tie the red/gold string together, and double-knot it. Thread the other end (not the end with the knot) through the hole, and pull it through.


7. Tie another knot (or two or three) at the top, to prevent the string from falling out.


8. Fold two red packets length-wise into half, then fold and glue the top two corners down.



9. Overlap the two folded red packets, and glue them down.



10. This is the top fin, so slot it into the gap nearest the string, and staple it into place.


11. To make the fish’s mouth, fold a red packet into half, breadth-wise, and cut it into two.


12. Fold each piece into half, then fold the top two corners down.


13. Fold each into half again, and place them facing each other.


14. Slot one into the other, and staple them into place.


15. Insert the fish’s mouth in the opening on the left of the top fin, and staple it into place.


16. To make the bottom fin, fold a red packet breadth-wise, and cut it into two.


17. Fold each into half, then fold the top two corners down.


18. Slot one into the other, and staple them together.


19. Insert this bottom fin into the gap at opposite end of the top fin, and staple it into place.


20. To make the fish’s tail, fold four red packets length-wise, then fold the top two corners down.


21. Glue the top two corners of all four red packets down.


22. Take two of the folded red packets, and insert them at right angles, making sure to leave a small gap at the bottom, then staple them together. Repeat for the other two folded red packets.


23. Insert one set into the other, and staple them together.


24. Insert the tail into the last remaining opening, and staple it into place.


And you’re all done! You can also add a tassel below if you like, but I couldn’t find one, so ours doesn’t have a tassel. Honestly, Noah didn’t really help much, apart from using the red packets as a crown *rolls eyes*, and gluing the corners down. He really loves the fish though, and I made another one for our house, because he was sad that he had to submit the first one to school. He’s been carrying it around the house, showing it to his soft toys, and looking for different places to hang it.

Using the red packets as a crown


Gluing the corners down


Super pleased with his fish lantern


We also made (and by we, I mean, I) some small fishes, and my mum helped to string them together. This was a lot easier, though again, Noah wasn’t of any help, apart from quietly watching me work on them, and admiring the fishes when they were done. The video for this craft can be found HERE.

Small Fish Decoration: Materials Needed 1 red packet (either medium-sized or large would work) Scissors Stapler


Small Fish Decoration: Instructions

1. Take a red packet, and fold the bottom right corner up to form a square.


2. Cut the excess part away, leaving a square with an opening at the top.


3. Fold the bottom left corner up, ensuring that the opening is at the top.


4. Fold the top left corner down to the middle, then fold the bottom right corner up to the middle.


5. With the opening at the top, cut along the diagonal line from the top right corner, to the middle.


6. With the opening on the right, cut diagonally from the tip of the previous cutting, to the small intersection on the right.


7. Cut along the small straight line on the right, until the small segment is removed.


8. Repeat steps 6 and 7, for the left side, ie cut diagonally from the tip to the small intersection on the left, then snip away the small segment.



9. Open the red packet up, and stick a finger in to puff it up a little.


10. Pull the two tips on the right together, in between the two tips on the left.


11. Hold the two tips on the left together, over the two tips on the right, and staple them together.


All done! I got a little confused with the cutting initially, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really quite simple. You can also string them together!




Have fun trying out these two CNY red packet crafts!

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