Chinese New Year is officially over. Have you put your child’s red packet ‘collection’ into his or her bank account yet? What do you do with all the leftover red packets that you did not use?
Why not turn them into an ‘ang bao’ lantern which the kids can play with, and which you can hang up at home to decorate the place, and to remind everyone of the Lunar New Year fun and festivities?
This is a simple craft which can be done with your child in under an hour. What’s more, you get to recycle your stack of unused red packets and turn them into a pretty decoration!
You will need 30 red packets (approximately 16cm by 8.2cm), a stapler, a pen knife, some string and a tassel. If you would like your flower ball to consist of only one colour, use red packets of the same design. Alternatively, if you would like the individual flowers to have different colours, you can choose red packets in different shades of red, pink, orange and gold.
Fold and tuck in the tabs of the red packets.
Cut six red packets in half. If you are using red packets of different colours, ensure that there are two-and-a-half red packets of the same colour for each flower.
Choose the side of the red packet which you would like to be visible when the lantern is completed. Place the red packet on the table with this side facing you. Take the top two corners and fold them down towards the centre of the red packet.
Curl the top edge of the red packet into a cone and grip the base firmly. Staple the top corners together to form one segment of a flower. A pre-schooler can help you to press the stapler at this stage while you hold the red packet and stapler in place. An older child may be able to manage this task independently.
Repeat Steps 3 and 4 to form another segment of the flower. Join the two segments by stapling them together. The stapler position should be slightly off-centre from the mid-point of the red packet, as indicated in the next step.
Take one half of a red packet and fold it along the diagonal. Insert this in between the two segments which have been stapled together in Step 5. Adjust this piece of red packet such that it looks like a petal before stapling it in place.
Repeat Steps 3 to 6 to make two more flowers.
Hold the two flowers such that the tips of the petals touch and staple them together.
Arrange the third flower such that the tip of its petal touches the tips of the other two flowers. Staple this flower to the other two.
Repeat Steps 3 to 9 to make three more sets of three flowers each. Each set forms a quarter of the lantern ball.
Join two quarters together by arranging the tips of the flowers in a similar manner as illustrated in Step 9. Staple the flowers together at the positions indicated by the arrows in the picture below.
Repeat Step 11 to form another half of the lantern ball. Arrange the two halves together and staple them together. Some of the flowers may stretch out of shape at this stage, so you may adjust the points at which the flowers are joined by unpicking some staples and re-stapling them such that the flowers are stretched evenly in all directions.
Form a loop with the string and staple it to the top of the lantern. Complete the lantern by stapling a tassel at the bottom. And there you have it, a gorgeous ‘hong bao’ lantern ball for everyone in the family to enjoy!