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Chinese window flowers

First suggested by Scouts of China
Liven up the place with some Chinese paper cut artwork – chop chop!
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Coloured pens or pencils
  • Scissors
  • Red paper
  • String or thread
  • Sticky tape
  • Stapler (optional)

Before you begin

  • Make sure you’ve risk assessed your meeting, and also have a COVID-19 safe risk assessment that’s been agreed by your line manager. Check out more detailed guidance here
  • Consider setting out piles of equipment before the session to help maintain a safe social distance.
  • You could print some example templates, find some online, or even make your own.
  • Choose craft paper for the group to use. Bear in mind that thinner paper will be easier to cut and delicate, while thicker paper or card will be harder to cut but less flimsy.
  • You could also try running this as on online session, check out the advice on using Zoom and other popular digital platforms and the guidance on being safe online.

Safety checklist

Use the Safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional coronavirus-related controls to think about may include:

  • Set up a handwashing station that you can use throughout the session.
  • Plan how to hand out equipment to maintain a safe distance between everyone.
  • Set up enough tables and chairs so that people can work a safe distance from each other.
  • Clean the equipment before and after you use it. Make sure you have enough that people don’t have to share.


Create some window flowers

  1. Everyone should decide what they want to cut into their paper. They could do some research into Chinese paper cutting or festivals and celebrations to help them choose, or they could make it up their own design.
  1. Everyone should prepare their template by drawing half of a symmetrical pattern on a piece of paper or card and cutting it out. Remember, they only need to create one half of their pattern because when they unfold the paper it’ll be mirrored.
  1. Everyone should take a piece of red paper and fold it in half. They should place the template on the paper so part of the design touches the folded edge and draw around it.
  1. Everyone should remove their template and cut around the drawn outline. Then, they should unfold their paper and check out their masterpiece!
  2. Once everyone has finished their paper cuttings, they should get into small groups. Each group should stay socially distanced and find their own space.
  1. Everyone should take it in turns to show off their paper cuttings and tell everyone about the design they chose.
  2. Once everyone’s shared their creation, they should come back together and talk about anything and everything they know about Chinese festivals and celebrations. Has anyone heard of or celebrated any of these festivals before? Are there any they would want to try?
  3. To finish, you could use the paper cuttings to decorate your meeting place, or everyone could them home to hang in their windows. They’re a great conversation starter – you could explain why you made them and what you learned. 

Examples of paper cut characters

Reflection

People have been doing Jianzhi (剪紙), the Chinese art of papercutting, for 1,500 years. They’re typically used to decorate gates and windows – the paper’s often red, and the designs cut into it provide wishes of good health, financial security and a long life.

Studies have shown that both creating and observing art can reduce stress levels, making people happier. Why do people think that is? People could think about how art is a chance to express feelings openly and clearly or how creating art can be a form of mindfulness. 

Can anyone think of an art form that makes them feel happier? Perhaps some people love a particular genre of music or playing an instrument, while others like to get stuck into writing, reading, drawing, painting, or trying something new like jianzhi.

Safety

Scissors

Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people

Sharp objects

Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.