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I've created a line of wooden peg looms to make potholders and projects of other sizes. Read the story behind the looms and check out my etsy shop.


The Dragon Boat Wrapped Holiday Ornament Tutorial

‘Tis the season for handmade beauty. These dragon boat ornaments rank among my all-time favorite holiday adornments. Easy to whip up, they’re great for decorating for the holidays and lovely to display in your home all year round.

I learned to make these lovely ornaments about a decade ago from Julie Anderson, owner of the Threadbender Yarn Shop here in West Michigan. Julie, who learned this craft from a former art teacher, kindly refreshed my memory when I was scrambling to locate my template earlier this week. And now, I’m passing the project on to you. Enjoy!

(Please let me know if I need to clarify anything. I wrote this tutorial in one marathon session, so let me know if I goofed something up.)


Dragon Boat template printed on card stock (Download the PDF)
Crochet cotton, embroidery floss, or mix of novelty yarns
Craft glue

Optional: corsage pins, beads

1) The first step is to download the pdf, print it on card stock paper, cut out the template, and score on the fold lines. (Note: The template will print slightly smaller than the 2″ by 10″ size noted.)

2) To form a hanger for your ornament, tape a folded piece of thread to the reverse side of template on the crease between the pair of 1’s. Add a tassel or string of five or six beads to the reverse side of the template between the pair of 2’s for added flair.

* (Please note: I photographed the folding process without the hanger and tassel in place so the numbers would be visible.)

3) Now you’re ready to start folding. Fold the starred corner of the template (top right edge) on the crease between the pair of 1’s so that all three 2’s line up. Then fold the triangle down beyond the crease marked with a single 2 so the starred points meet. (shown in the image on the left)

4) Now fold on the diagonal line shown under my thumb, to line up the three points marked with 1’s.

5) Tuck in the triangle end piece (as shown below) and tape all open edges.

How to wrap a Dragon Boat

1) With the top point (marked with three 1’s and the the hanger thread) facing up, tape the wrapping yarn or thread to the top of the Dragon boat  half-way between a bottom point to the left of a crease line. Begin wrapping by pulling the thread up along the crease line to the left of the hanger, then down to the next  point to the right. (Fig. 1)

2) Wrap thread around the lower point and back up and around the top point, (Fig. 2) then back down around the second lower point. Repeat this process to wrap the third point.

3) Continue wrapping, tracing the previous thread line until the whole template is covered. (fig. 3, 4 & 5) Note: if you want to change colors, simply cut your thread and tape down with beginning of new thread and continue wrapping.

4) Once covered, cut the thread and glue in place at the bottom point. (For peace of mind, I leave a tale to thread through a needle and tie a knot before weaving the end in and cutting. This is not necessary, but it helps me sleep better.)

Now hang up your dragon boat and enjoy!

If you want to get fancy you can poke corsage pins into the three points and Super Glue in place. (See below.)

Below is a video tutorial I recorded at home:


Comment from Darla
Time: December 5, 2009, 4:20 am


I really love these. I love the picture of the red one with the pins sticking out of the sides – excellent job. Thanks for the tutorial on these as well. Your energy is an inspiration for us to try all kinds of crafts. How do you keep coming up with these amazing crafts?!

Comment from toni in florida
Time: December 5, 2009, 9:29 am

Very pretty! Thanks for the tutorial, Jennifer.

Comment from Betsy
Time: December 5, 2009, 11:13 am

Yay! thanks. :)

Comment from Amanda
Time: December 5, 2009, 12:14 pm

Wow those are awesome, and great tutorial!

Comment from Stephanie
Time: December 5, 2009, 11:15 pm

Thanks for this tutorial. My daughter learned to make the earlier this week, but i didn’t have the template, so i could play too. Thanks so much for providing this.

Comment from Sandra
Time: December 10, 2009, 3:29 pm

Thank you! The ones I first loved also had ribbon and glitter incorporated in the wrap.
They are all beautiful and unique.

Comment from Diane
Time: September 28, 2010, 1:26 pm

Thank you for your instructions. Unfortunately, I am not super crafty, but I’m on a dragon boat team and I would love to make these.
In your figures 3, 4 & 5, are you alternating colors between yellow and orange after every rotation? I like the two colors and would like to try it.

Comment from jennifer
Time: September 28, 2010, 5:30 pm

Hi Diane. The dragon boats are easier to make than they look. I used variegated yarn, so no color changes were required. I love how the stripes form without any extra effort on my part. I hope this helps. Have fun with it!

Comment from Donna
Time: November 12, 2010, 2:37 am

I made some of these with embroidery floss years and years ago. It was from a Carol Duval show I think. Anyway, I gave them all away and have been looking for the template and directions every year for quite awhile. I was thrilled when I came upon your excellent instructions. I didn’t know they were called dragon boats. Using the embroidery floss gives them a bit of shine and, with the many colors available, the colors combos are endless. Thank you so very, very much for ending my search – not to actually make them again!

Pingback from Stacy Sews – Diary of a Fabric Junkie » Blog Archive » Linky Thursday On Friday
Time: January 30, 2011, 12:30 pm

[…] Seeing that we’ve gone to a ‘toddler safe’ tree this year, I think these Dragon Boat ornaments would definitely spruce up our little pine. If you love The Fabric Fairy as much as what I do, […]

Comment from Charles Regino
Time: June 20, 2011, 1:23 pm

In fact decent not to mention awesome blog page i ran across presently.

Comment from Carol Chan
Time: December 31, 2011, 1:08 pm

Hi Jennifer- Thank you for creating your video– I’ve never been able to find this project anywhere on the web until now!
I’ve been making these ornaments for years & teaching the project to my geometry students. I learned how at a Chinese crafts fair about 30+ years ago. I recently found the “real” thing online– they are called “Zhong-zi” or “Zong-zi” which is also the name of the sticky-rice treats (wrapped in lotus leaves) that are popular during the Dragon Boat Festival. The zhong-zi treat is similar in shape to the ornament– hence the name! (You can google it to see PIX of the actual ornaments in China.)
I use a longer strip of cardboard to form the shape– I make the length be 7-1/2 times the width. This allows the shape to wrap double– much stronger. I also use four tassels: 3 small ones at the pointy corners and a larger, longer one at the bottom. If you leave long “handles” on all those tassels, they can all pass through the interior of the zhong-zi and emerge at the top, forming the handle (rather than taping one on). Then I start the wrap by blending that strand into the handle. After wrapping, the END of the strand also gets gathered into that handle– so no tape required! I usually tie a fat knot at the top to hold them together; some of my students like to braid the rest of it. Also, I encourage my students to use two contrasting color strands, which wrap simultaneously, making the wrapping much faster, and accenting the color. We also add small jingle-bells to the interior before we close up the shape.
I agree that it makes a great holiday gift. Thank you for sharing!

Comment from jennifer
Time: January 1, 2012, 8:09 pm

Wow, Carol. Thanks for sharing the great tips. I will try your method the next time I made these. Have you posted photos of your ornaments on the web? I’d love to see what you’ve been making. All the best! – Jennifer

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Time: October 30, 2012, 7:32 am

[…] comic book bags), glue, glass head pins, and lots of thread. Check out some very good directions here or […]

Comment from Joanne
Time: December 3, 2012, 9:45 pm

Thanks so much for posting this. I recently saw these ornaments at a Weavers Guild Show in CO. I fell in love with them. I spoke to the artist and she told me a bit about them so I looked online and there was your site! So helpful. I am making them for all my friends for the holidays!

Comment from Sue Williams
Time: December 16, 2012, 1:17 am

Thank you very much and to Carol Chan for the very interesting information. I will certainly be trying out these lovely dragon boats for gifts in the future. Warm greetings from me in South Africa.

Comment from Erica
Time: February 27, 2013, 10:30 pm

You mentioned that your friend learned this from her former art teacher in Michigan. My grandmother was an art teacher in Michigan and she taught all her students how to make these. I am wondering if your friend remembers the name of the teacher. If it was my grandmother, she would be tickled pink to hear that someone remembered one of her lessons.

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Time: August 1, 2013, 8:22 pm

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Pingback from This Crafty Dragon Wrapped
Time: November 3, 2013, 10:54 pm

[…] The Dragon Boat Wrapped Holiday Ornament Tutorial – CraftSanity 'Tis the season for handmade beauty. These dragon boat ornaments rank among my all-time favorite holiday adornments. Easy to whip up, they're great for decorating for the holidays and lovely to display in your home all  […]

Comment from Cheryl
Time: February 23, 2014, 8:33 pm

Love how you use the two colored threads. It’s worth the extra effort!

A Girl Scout leader showed me how to make these thread dumplings many years ago. We use a metallic crochet thread. The metallic thread stays in place and is much faster to wrap.

I cover the points with an acrylic craft paint before wrapping it. The paint matches the thread color so the corners blend in beautifully with the thread.

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Comment from Susan Ma
Time: June 4, 2014, 8:04 pm

Thank you so much for the instructions. I was looking this for a long time. My grandchildren come to my house every summer for a week as Grandma’s Chinese Camp. I want to teach them some Chinese arts & crafts. They love to eat Zong zhi. This is great. I can tell them the history of dragon boat festival. Thank you, thank you. Susan

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