Cheap Chinese New Year Decorations Under $20

Usher in the coming Chinese New Year with some festive home decorations! We’re not talking about digging through that dusty card-box in the storeroom for the same old tired Chinese New Year decor you put up year after year. Your guests will certainly notice if the decorations are reused for a few years.

Here’s the good news you’ve been waiting to hear all day: Chinese New Year Decorations don’t need to cost a bomb. Good and cheap Chinese New Year decorations are totally a thing. That’s right, you don’t have to bust your budget to dress up your home for the season.

With a little imagination, some everyday items and a sprinkling of luck, you can easily find or create cheap Chinese New Year decorations to elevate your home with that special touch. Here are 9 ideas for fun and easy Chinese New Year home decorations that won’t break your wallet.

Chinese New Year Wall Decorations

There are plenty of options for a homeowner looking for Chinese New Year decorating ideas on a budget. One of those is to spruce up the walls of your dwellings to bring on the festive cheer.

These DIY projects use everyday items and craft supplies to create cheap, easy Chinese Year Year decorations for the season.

Red Lantern Wall Feature

Photo & Idea by: Marie’s Pastiche

Think Chinese culture and chances are, red lanterns are one of the first things to come to mind. Being the de facto icon of all things Chinese – and red in colour to boot – it’s no wonder that red lanterns are a first choice for many.

With just craft paper, glue, string and scissors, you can create a wall feature for your home. String these paper red lanterns against a bare wall to instantly turn a plain surface into a fun and festive feature wall. How’s that for a budget-friendly Chinese New Year decorating idea?

Items needed:

  • Red and gold craft paper
  • Glue, stapler or double-sided tape
  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Hole puncher
  • Christmas lights (optional)

Cost: $20


  1. Print some auspicious or traditional symbols on a piece of red craft paper. You can use the Chinese characters for “Spring” or “Fortune”, your favourite zodiac animal or any lucky symbols you like. If you don’t have a printer, you can paste some Chinese decorative paper or red packets on the craft paper instead.
  2. Roll the piece of red craft paper with your symbol on it into a cylinder and secure the ends. Double-sided tape is recommended for this.
  3. Take a second piece of craft paper (with no symbols) and fold it in half.
  4. Next, fold the top edge on both sides such that there is a 2cm band.
  5. Then, cut strips in the folded paper, starting from the bottom and going towards the 2cm band. Be careful not to cut into the band.
  6. Unfold the piece of paper, and glue the bands to the top and bottom edge of the rolled up cylinder.
  7. Cut a strip of paper from another piece of craft paper to act as a handle.
  8. Repeat steps 1 to 7 until you have as many lanterns as you need.
  9. String up your paper lanterns with yarn. Use glue or double-sided tape to secure each lantern along the length of the yarn.
  10. Attach your string of paper lanterns along your chosen wall using double-sided tape.
  11. Optional – for a more dramatic effect, hang Christmas lights together with your red paper lanterns.

Tissue Flowers Wall Decor

Photo & Idea by: Design Every Day

If you love flowers, you’ll love this cheap and easy Chinese New Year decoration idea.

Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival, so it’s no surprise that flowers in full bloom have come to be a cherished part of the festival’s iconography.

For this project, wrapping tissue is used to create blooming flowers that soften and brightens any vertical surface. Try making several sizes of these gentle puffs of colour and putting them along a trailing pattern to gently lead your guests from the front door into your home.

Items needed:

  • Wrapping tissue paper – several sheets in yellow and other colours you like
  • Pipe cleaner or twist tie
  • Ruler
  • Scissors

Cost: $15


  1. Pick 2 sheets of yellow tissue paper and about 4 to 6 sheets of different colours.
  2. Lay the tissue paper in a pile, as neatly as possible, with the yellow pieces on top.
  3. Fold the entire pile of tissue paper over as one. Aim for a width of about 5 to 6cm.
  4. Repeat this fold back the other way.
  5. Continue to fold the pile of tissue paper back and forth in an accordion style, until you come to the end of the paper.
  6. Use something hard like a ruler to press down on the folded edges to make them stay.
  7. Unfold the pile and separate the 2 yellow sheets from the rest.
  8. Fold the yellow tissues back up, according to the folds you created earlier.
  9. When done, fold the yellow tissues in half and cut off the top, leaving about half of it’s original size.
  10. Using the scissors, make lots of long cuts in the top edge of the yellow tissues. This will now form the centre of your flower.
  11. Take the other tissues, fold in half, and trim the ends to whichever shape you want your flowers to be. You should cut quite a long way down the side as this will make it easier for you to form your flower.
  12. Now you have your flower centre and your petals, so it’s time to form your flower. Unfold both piles of tissue papers.
  13. Lay the yellow tissues in the middle of the pile of petals.
  14. Refold the entire pile of tissue the best you can. It doesn’t matter if things end up a little messy.
  15. Fold all the tissue in half.
  16. Take a pipe cleaner or twist tie and wrap it through the middle of the tissues. Twist to secure.
  17. Starting with one side, pull up the tissue while fluffing it up. Separate each layer to create the centre of the flower.
  18. Do the same with the petal layers. Be very careful so as not to tear the tissue paper.
  19. When you have finished one side, proceed with the other side.
  20. Your flower is now complete.
  21. Repeat to make as many flowers as you need.

Paper Tassels and Mini Lantern Wall Art

Photo by: Sam is Home via A Pair and A Spare

Craft tissues and mini Chinese lanterns combine to make graceful wall art that will delight family members and visiting relatives alike. This affordable Chinese New Year decoration can be easily assembled with just a few simple steps. Get the full instructions from A Pair and A Spare.

While you’re at it, make extra tassels and keep them for your little nieces and nephews. Because they’re made mostly of tissue paper, the lightweight tassels make for a safe and inexpensive festive toy for energetic little bodies.

Items needed:

  • Wrapping tissue paper – in yellow, orange and red
  • Paper cutter or scissors
  • Scotch tape
  • Double-sided tape
  • Cutting board
  • Pussy willow branch (remove the buds)
  • Hanging hooks
  • Mini paper Chinese lanterns

Cost: $10


  1. Fold a piece of tissue paper twice to form a smaller rectangle.
  2. Orientate the long fold of the rectangle away from you on the cutting board.
  3. Using a paper cutter, cut the tissue into strips. Leave a 1cm border at the top.
  4. Unfold the tissue and orientate the uncut part of the tissue paper toward you.
  5. Carefully roll the tissue to form a roll of tassel. The strips you cut will be on either side.
  6. Secure the roll with Scotch tape.
  7. Fold the tassel in half to create a single tassel.
  8. Twist the tassel at the top to create a hole for hanging the tassel.
  9. Thread the twine through this hole.
  10. Repeat Steps 1 to 9 to create as many tassels as you need.
  11. Unpack the mini paper lanterns and fold them up.
  12. Using Scotch tape and double sided tape, arrange your tassels and mini lanterns along the pussy willow branch.
  13. Using the hanging hooks, secure your newly created wall art to the wall of your choosing.

Chinese New Year Desk-top Decorations

A drab sideboard or tired-looking dining table can be instantly perked up with some well-placed centrepieces. Besides adding a new burst of colour or shape, these creations can also pull double-duty as a mood lamp or flower holder. Just add portable LEDs, or a small vase.

Fold-it-Yourself Accordion Mood Lamp

Photo & Idea by:

By folding again and again, craft paper is transformed into an eye-catching geometric display piece. The sharp angles and clean lines make for a contemporary, even futuristic profile, which can provide much-needed relief from the festival’s traditional iconography.

If you’re planning on using these as candle-holders, be sure to insert a fire-safeglass holder in the middle of the paper. And of course, you should never leave a burning candle unattended.

Items needed:

  • Folding Template
  • A4 Paper in any colour you like
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Needle (for scoring)
  • Double sided tape or glue
  • Small shot glass or vase (fire-safe if using candles)

Cost: $5


  1. Print the template onto A4 paper.
  2. Cut along the dotted lines and you should have two pieces of paper.
  3. Score the paper along all the solid lines using the ruler and needle.
  4. Using a mountain fold, fold along all the horizontal lines.
  5. Using a valley fold, fold along all the diagonal lines.
  6. Squeeze the outer triangles together on the top corners.
  7. Continue down the length of the paper. You may find it trick at first, but you’ll get the hang of it.
  8. You should now be able to fold your paper up like an accordion. Press together when fully collapsed to get really sharp creases.
  9. Stick the ends together using glue or double-sided tape.
  10. Insert your shot glass or vase in the middle to hold your choice of flowers or LED lights.

Easy Striped Gold Vase

Photo & Idea by: Pencil Shavings Studio

That old, plain glassware lying in the back of your cupboard is causing you grief, but with a little effort, it could be turned into inexpensive Chinese New Year decorations that look great. All you need is masking tape, spray or glass paint and your creativity.

You can use diagonal stripes, horizontal bars, vertical columns, or even criss-cross the stripes to form shapes. You could also go with random shaped blocks – really, whatever you want. Want to be the first to know when all these materials go on promotion? Join our Giant Super Savers Club and receive the latest promotions straight to your mobile phone.

Items needed:

  • Old glass vase or jar
  • Spray paint – choose gold so you can reuse this piece throughout the year
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Newpapers
  • Working stool or bench

Cost: $9


  1. Using the masking tape, tape up your glass vase.
  2. Set your glass vase outside or in a well ventilated area. Spread newspapers around and on your working bench for easy cleanup.
  3. Spray your glassware on the outside.
  4. Wait for the paint to dry (approx. 1 hour).
  5. Peel off the masking tape to unveil your new vase.

Paper Flower Lanterns

Photo & Idea by: Studio DIY!

Chinese New Year decorating ideas on a budget are everywhere, if you know where to look. For example, the idea for this Paper Flower Lantern came from a wedding decoration ideas blog.

By combining lanterns and flowers – iconic symbols that strongly represent Chinese New Year – you can create desktop display pieces that effortlessly enlivens your home.

Items needed:

  • Round paper mini lanterns
  • Wrapping tissue paper
  • Flower stamens (from craft shops)
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • Fishing line (optional)

Cost: $10


  1. Layer 6 to 8 sheets of tissue paper together, and cut out a 2 inch by 2 inch square.
  2. Fold the square into quarters and holding the square at the folding point, cut around to make a petal shape.
  3. Unfold the tissue paper and layer the flower shapes, staggering the petals out.
  4. Fold the flowers in half and cut a small slit in the middle.
  5. Insert the flower stamens and secure them in place using hot glue.
  6. Put some glue on the top, and layer by layer, fold up and each petal layer, then fluff them outwards.
  7. Trim the flower stamens sticking out from the back. Then using hot glue, affix the flower to your paper lantern.
  8. Use about 3 flowers per lantern, more if you’re using larger lanterns.
  9. Display your paper flower lantern anywhere you please.
  10. If you wish to hang them up instead, you may do so using fishing line. You can also attach a ribbon to the bottom.

More Chinese New Year Decorating Ideas

To complete your budget-friendly Chinese New Year decoration project, try adding a few more touches. Sometimes, small things can have big impact, and these following ideas can go a long way in bringing your various decorative items together into a coherent whole.

Chinese Knot Cushions

Photo & Idea by: Little Inspiration

Make a few of these and throw them around the house for an easy and affordable Chinese New Year decoration that also double up as impromptu seats when unexpected visitors pop by.

Items needed:

  • High-stretch knit fabric
  • Pillow stuffing
  • Empty wrapping paper roll or long tube
  • Sewing machine, needle and thread
  • Wooden dowel or rod
  • Scissors

Cost: $20


  1. Cut and sew two strips from your knit fabric, then turn the fabric inside out using the empty paper roll.
  2. Stuff the knit fabric with pillow stuffing using the empty paper roll and wooden dowel to help you.
  3. Once done, tie the two tubes of stuffed fabric into your desired knot.

As this project is a little more complex, we recommend visiting the original blog post (linked above) for full instructions. You can also experiment with more knotting styles to find the one you like.

Chinese New Year Festive Drink Stirrer

Photo & Idea by: Boulder Locavore

Bump up the festive atmosphere when visiting time comes around with these festive drink stirrers. Your guests will appreciate your efforts, if only because it gives them a reason for (yet another) Instagram selfie!

Items needed:

  • Food skewers
  • String – preferably red
  • Small CNY trinkets – coins, tassels, fans, firecrackers, etc.
  • Hot glue
  • Small split rings
  • Scissors

Cost: $5


  1. If necessary, trim wooden skewers to desired length.
  2. Using split rings, bunch together assorted trinkets.
  3. String up the grouped trinkets with red string.
  4. Tie the string to the end of the skewer and secure with hot glue.

Dip-dye Hand Towels

Photo by: Pexels

Dip-dyeing is a fun project anytime, and it’s even better when you discover how it can be another cheap Chinese New Year decoration you could create.

All you need is fabric, dye and cloth to create one-of-a-kind hand towels that money can’t buy. The dip-dyeing process used here can create loose, soft colours that can evoke a floral motif, making this craft especially suited to Chinese New Year. Get the full list of materials from Martha Stewart.

Items needed:

  • Plain white dish cloths or fabric
  • Dye and dye fixative
  • Pail and water
  • Rubber gloves
  • Scissors
  • Clothes pegs

Cost: $9


  1. Using scissors, trim fabric to desired hand towel sizes.
  2. In separate tubs, prepare dye and fixative according to instructions.
  3. Using an accordion fold, fold each piece of cloth. Experiment with varying widths for different effects.
  4. Secure folded cloth with clothes pegs.
  5. Put on rubber gloves and dip folded cloth partially into dye. Vary the depth of each dipping to create unique variations.
  6. Dip cloth into fixative to set dye.
  7. Hang folded cloth up to dry.
  8. When completely dry, unfold cloth to see dye patterns.
  9. Launder before use.

Festive decorations get everyone in the mood

The Chinese New Year is a rich tradition full of symbolic meaning and rituals, so don’t underestimate the positive effects that festive decorations can have on your energy and mood.

By dressing up your dwellings with the colours, shapes and symbols of Chinese New Year, your mind will notice that there’s something exciting happening, which will subtly prime your subconscious for good times ahead. Soon, the whole family will be feeling that good old Chinese New Year spirit, as they get ever more excited about the coming celebrations.

These 9 budget-friendly Chinese New Year decorating ideas are just the tip of the iceberg; there are plenty more DIY projects suited to creating Chinese New Year decorations on a budget. Crafts like these are fun to work on and even more pleasing to display, and the whole family can get involved and add their own personal touches. Your home decorations will be all the more beautiful for having been created in togetherness.

By decorating your home for Chinese New Year, you can make your home more cheerful and inviting. Your friends, neighbours and relatives will surely want to visit, once you start posting your cheap and easy Chinese New Year decorations on Instagram.