New Zealand Chinese Language Week Craft – Chinese Fan

Ni Hao. 你好. New Zealand Chinese Language Week celebrates Chinese language and culture. In 2021, it runs from 26 September to 2 October. Visit our page on New Zealand Chinese Language Week to explore Chinese language resources in our collection.

Here is a NZ Chinese Language Week Craft from Emily.

Chinese Fan – Shan

The Chinese Fan has over 3000 years history dating as far back as the Shang dynasty. Over the years, it has become a popular accessory item used by everyone, men and women, from royalty to common people. There are many varieties of Chinese fans in terms of their shapes: round, leaf shaped and semi-circle. Fans can be made from a variety of materials: bamboo, feather, sandalwood, silk and paper. Besides being used for cooling the heat, ancient scholars and noble women wrote calligraphy, drew ink paintings, or stitched silk patterns on the fans for decoration. Over time, people use fans as a symbol of wisdom, beauty and good wishes.

What you need:

  • Paper
  • Ruler
  • Tape or glue stick
  • Yarn/string
  • Scissors

Pens and stickers for decoration

Craft supplies

Step 1

Use the ruler to fold down 1cm from the top of the paper. Press down the fold firmly.

Ruler and paper

Step 2

Flip over the paper and fold 1cm up from the bottom of the paper. Press down the fold firmly.


Step 3

Repeat step 2 until the paper is folded into a strip.

Strip of paper

Step 4

Now let’s make the tassel. Cut about 1m long string and wind it into about 6cm long loops, leaving extra length at the ends.


Step 5

Use the extra length of string to tie a knot at one end of the loop and use scissors to cut loose the other end of the loop.

Step 6

Now let’s decorate the fan by writing or drawing on it. I chose to write two Chinese characters (快乐, Kuai Le, meaning “Happy”) for this example. A table of some common Chinese characters and their meaning is included at the end of this blog for your reference. Unfold the folds of the fan and write the characters on the fan.
Note: one character needs to be upside down.

Chinese characters

Step 7

Fold up the fan and fold it in half. Tie a small length of string at the bottom of the fold and tape/glue the middle folds together.


Step 8

Tie the tassel to the string and now your fan is complete.

Fan and tassel

Bonus steps

Cut a small strip of coloured paper and tape it around the top of the tassel to make it look nicer.
Draw on the fan or use stickers to decorate the fan even more.


Here’s another example of a Chinese fan decorated with Chinese characters as well as drawing. In this case, the writing is a traditional Chinese poem and the drawing is based on the poem.
Note: remember to write/draw two sides of the fan in opposite directions.

PaperDownload this activity [844KB PDF]

Chinese characters 

Chinese Characters Pin Yin (pronunciation) English meaning
快 乐 Kuai Le Happy
你 好 Ni Hao Hello
谢 谢 Xie Xie Thanks
再 见 Zai Jian Goodbye
中 文 Zhong Wen Chinese (language)
长 寿 Chang Shou Longevity
福 禄 Fu Lu Fortune and prosperity
山 水 Shan Shui Landscape scenery (literal meaning: mountain and water)
花 鸟 Hua Niao Flower and birds
春 天 Chun Tian Spring
宁 静 致 远 Ning Jing Zhi Yuan Slow and steady wins the race
一 生 平 安 Yi Sheng Ping An A peaceful life