This article is part of our Chinese New Year Family Guide. Sign up for our newsletter to receive family-friendly activity, recipe and craft ideas throughout the year!
One of the most popular ways to decorate for Chinese New Year is by hanging good luck banners around the home. These poems and hopeful expressions declare the family’s wishes for prosperity, luck and health in the coming year.
In this piece, I’ll show you how to make a good luck character banner, which you can hang on your front door, near a window or simply on a prominent wall in your home. These simple banners, containing a single word or expression such as “happiness,” “wealth” or “spring,” are written in black ink on squares of bright red paper.
The character we’ll write below is probably the most popular around for this type of decoration. You’ll see the fu character, meaning “good luck” or “blessings,” on red envelopes, posters and calendars around Chinese New Year. It’s common to display the fu character upside down on the front door to symbolize good luck “arriving” or “pouring” into the home.
This project also provides a good way to introduce kids to Chinese calligraphy and the “four treasures” of a traditional scholar’s studio: the brush, ink stick, paper and ink stone. The tutorial below includes stroke-by-stroke instructions to follow.
To make this good luck character banner, you need a 9″ by 9″ square of red construction paper, black acrylic paint and a 1/3″ wide paint brush.
This project takes about 15 minutes and makes one banner.
Arrange the construction paper in front of you in the shape of a diamond.
You can draw a light pencil line down the center of your paper to help keep your characters properly spaced.
Holding the brush like a pencil with your first three fingers, start the first character with a short downward stroke in the shape of a comma.
The second stroke takes the shape of the number 7.
The third stroke is downward, directly below your first stroke at the top.
The final stroke is another comma shape starting from the juncture at the center of the character.
Start the second character with a short horizontal stroke.
The second strokes create a box directly underneath. Bring the first stroke down the left side of the box, then double back upwards before finishing the rest of the rectangle.
The final strokes create the larger lower rectangle. Draw the left, top and right sides first.
Next comes the horizontal bar.
Finish with a downward stroke through the middle, pull the brush to the left and then back to the right to create the bottom of the rectangle.
Your good luck character banner is ready to hang!
Can you share any expert tips from your experience making good luck character banners? Want to ask a question before you try making one yourself? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!