TUTORIAL: How to Make Chinese New Year Red Envelopes (w/ free template)

4 years ago

Today, I am going to share a fun and simple tutorial on an upcoming holiday – Chinese New Year! In many Asian cultures, New Year’s is not always celebrated on January 1st, but on the ”new moon of the first month according to the lunar calendar.” In fact, some Korean friends in Cyprus invited us to celebrate Korean New Year’s based on the lunar calendar in 2013.

However, for as long as I can remember, my family has celebrated New Year’s on January 1st. But I have asked my very good friend, Catherine, who is Taiwanese-American, to share her experiences of how she grew up celebrating Chinese New Year. (Come back next Friday, January 31st, to read her post.)

But for now, I’ll share with you a simple DIY tutorial on how to make your own special envelope to ring in the New Year. While this DIY tutorial may take a few more minutes to crimp and fold some of the edges, I hope that you’ll find this design worth your while because it offers a little more space to neatly place your bill or even a small piece of candy.


Red card stock paper
X-ACTO knife/utility blade
Scissors (optional)
Print TUTORIAL Chinese New Year Envelopes Here (available in traditional and simplified Chinese)
Additional decorating supplies (of your choosing – to add your personal touch) 

chinese new year envelope supplies


(If you’d like to download a printable copy of the instructions, click here.)

Step 1. Print simple envelope template onto red card stock paper.

Step 2. Using an X-ACTO knife or utility blade, cut out red envelope design. Cut slit opening, which is above the words, “Happy New Year” in Mandarin.

chinese new year envelope tutorial step 2

chinese new year envelope tutorial step 2 complete

Step 3. Fold top and bottom pieces. See photo below for further details.

Step 3 Folding


Step 4. Fold side edges, accordion-style, and top and bottom sides as well.

Step 4

Step 5. Glue accordion side edges to front.


Step 6. Insert money, and place tab inside slit insert.


Step 7. Voila! Project Complete!

(If you’d like to print out the instructions for personal use, you can click here.)


Feel free to add embellishments, such as a zodiac sign specific to the year, to make your red envelopes unique. You can find plenty of fantastic year of horse zodiac designs on Google images.

Source: Zazzle.com

Also, remember to pick up a crisp new bill before placing it into your red envelope. You can read up on several other important cultural and customary traditions to ring in a Chinese New Year in the sources section below.

Don’t forget to come back on January 31st to read about Catherine’s personal story of how she and her family celebrated Chinese New Year’s. If you want to get to know Catherine better, read more of her posts on her blog, Live to Run, Run to Live, which details her adventures and experiences in running. She’s an amazing, honest, and hardworking working mom, who will motivate you to try out a marathon someday, if you’re not already a runner.

Lastly, here is a children’s story, “The Horse that Ran Away,” which has a Taoist-based moral at the end of the story. Stemming from Taoist beliefs, the story emphasizes “living in harmony with nature and what it brings to you” – whether it is good or bad. Perfect for celebrating the year of horse, wouldn’t you say? If you like this story, you can check out other children’s stories at Storynory.


About’s Chinese New Year
How to Say and Write “Happy New Year” in Mandarin
Chinese New Year Zodiac Wreath (another cool kid’s craft tutorial)
Wikipedia’s Taoism
Difference between Buddhism V. Taoism

Celebrating New Years, Korean-Style


From my hometown to yours,


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