Dragon Puppets

In China, dragons traditionally represent power and protection. They are thought to live in the sky or sea and can control natural forces like rain and weather, the seasons, and the harvest. Instead of breathing fire, Chinese dragons breathe clouds! They are known for wisdom, kindness, and bringing good fortune. Most Chinese dragons do not have wings; they have a snake-like body, and some also look like turtles or fish.

Chinese dragons are also very colorful, and each color has a different meaning: blue and green dragons represent peace, nature, and health; white dragons represent purity; red dragons represent good luck and good fortune; yellow dragons—which are believed to control time and the seasons, and are often used as the symbol for the emperor—represent power, wealth, wisdom, and good fortune; and black dragons represent vengeance or are associated with storms and catastrophes. 

Take a closer look at the robe pictured above. It is decorated with four dragons that each have five claws. The large dragons on the front and back of the robe have large, scaly, snake-like bodies that float above crashing waves and sharp, pointy rocks. Where do you think these dragons live?

If you have an MFA art kit for this activity, you already have all the materials you need! If not, start by gathering the supplies listed below. What color will you make your dragon?


completed colorful dragon puppet planted on popsicle sticks in grass


You will need:

  • Dragon Puppet Template
  • markers, crayons, or colored pencils
  • scissors
  • tape, a glue stick, or liquid glue
  • decorative materials such as pom-poms, cellophane, googly eyes, foam shapes, and colorful paper
  • popsicle sticks or small sticks
  • hole punch
  • metal brads

Step 1

template for dragon puppet with dragon head, body, and tail labeled
Download, print, and cut out the Dragon Puppet Template.

Step 2

Coloring in dragon body parts with markers of a variety of colors
Color in your dragon with pencils, crayons, or markers in as many different colors as you’d like.

Step 3

pieces of colored paper and foam heart glued onto dragon body parts
If you have colored paper, tear or cut your paper into different shapes and then glue it onto your dragon. Glue some foam shapes, too, if you have them!

Step 4

small pom-poms and googly eyes glued onto dragon parts
If you have googly eyes or pom-poms, glue these onto your dragon. Get creative with decorating your dragon!

Step 5

red cellophane cut in the shape of wings, attached to the top of dragon body
Your dragon might need some wings. Use scissors to carefully cut cellophane, colored paper, or regular paper in the shape of wings and tape or glue them to your dragon’s body.

Step 6

hole punched out of dragon body part with hole punch
When you are done decorating, use a hole punch, sharp pencil, or the tip of a pen to carefully make a hole through each of the four black circles on the template.

Step 7

popsicle sticks attached to the underside of dragon body parts
Attach one popsicle stick behind the head and one popsicle stick behind the tail. You can use glue dots, liquid glue, or tape.

Step 8

dragon body parts attached together with metal brads in the punched holes
Place the tail on top of the body so the holes line up. Attach the tail and body using a metal brad: stick the brad through both holes and press the two pieces of the brad apart in the back. Do the same thing to attach the head and body. Now your dragon puppet can move!


Supported by the Fan Family Foundation.