红包 (Hóngbāo / Red Envelopes) are very important gifts during Chinese New Year, weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions! The color red represents energy, happiness and good luck; therefore, to gift a red envelope is to wish the recipient good fortune. We’ve created an easy-to-DIY 红包 that you can make with your kids! I’ve also included 6 tips for preparing 红包 as a gift at the end of the post!
Since the goal of this website is to promote literacy, a variety of red envelopes so your child can learn each of these important characters. The first 7 pages of the printable red envelopes have the following characters:
- 福 (Fú / Fortune)
- 囍 (Xǐ / Double Happiness)
- 寿 or 壽 (Shòu / Longevity)
- 家 (Jiā / Family)
- 春 (Chūn / Spring)
- 好 (Hǎo / Good)
- 恩 (Ēn / Grace)
The design is simple so your child has room to add his or her own decorations! In addition, the last page (page 8) is blank page so can write your own characters on the envelope.
What you need:
Amazon affiliate links provided for convenience
- Red Envelope Template (Free download in simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese)
- Red printer paper or cardstock. We used printer paper, but other parents have mentioned that they preferred the thickness of cardstock due to wet glue!
- Gold Sharpie marker
- Double-sided tape or glue stick; I tried both, and glue stick is easier in my opinion. I do not recommend liquid glue as the paper may bunch when it dries.
- Real or play money
- For decorations:
Note: Elmer’s classic glitter glue is too dull on red paper.
How to make Chinese Red Envelopes:
- Print template
- Cut along solid line lines
- Fold along dotted lines
- Tape or glue sides and bottom of envelope
- Color in Chinese character with gold marker
- Have fun embellishing with glitter and rhinestone stickers!!!
Tips for giving money in red envelopes:
- Use new crisp bills (avoid wrinkles).
- Do not give coins.
- Do not put in amounts that start with the number 四 (sì / four). 四is an unlucky number in Chinese culture because its pronunciation sounds like 死 (sǐ / death).
- Give even amounts, preferably with the lucky number 八 (bā / eight). 八 is a lucky number because it sounds like 发 (fā / fortune).
- Traditionally, children would kneel to receive their 红包 from older relatives.
- Give and receive 红包 with both hands.
The envelope is the perfect size for gifting real money. However, I don’t usually have cash on hand, but wrinkled bills do not look good as shown in the below photo!
But don’t worry about real money! My daughter has played shopping and birthday with play money. Plus, you can easily turn this into a math learning opportunitiy!
Looking for Chinese New Year books and audiobooks? Click here for our recommendations!
Happy learning, friends!