Who loves money? Chinese people believe that in the coming New Year, the house needs to fill with good fortune and wealth in order to be wealthy for the rest of the year. Hence they decorate their house full of auspicious items to welcome good fortune, wealth and prosperity! On the first day of the Chinese New Year, the God of Wealth will visit each household to bless the family with wealth. This is why we never sweep the floor for the first few days of the new year. It is bad luck if we sweep the floor, as we will sweep all the wealth away!
Many Chinese might buy ready-made (fake) gold ingots to decorate their plants, doors, tables, walls etc., but never the toilet. Some of us will make a Chinese ingot lantern using ang pow to decorate our house. Follow me to learn how to make it.
Before I show you the step-by-step, do read the history of the Chinese Ingot or Sycee for better understanding. This Chinese Ingot is also called Yuan Bao in Mandarin.
Remember before we make any ang pow/red envelope lantern, you have to select the right design for the ang pow and thickness. Try not to mix different designs together as it won’t look as nice.
For this craft, you can choose designs with one Chinese Word like 福 (fu) meaning fortune or good luck is represented as a Chinese ideograph. It will work well either in red colour or yellow ang pow. You do not need a design on the back of the ang pow. As for thickness, try to get soft or medium thick for flexibility. I bought this ang pow from Amazon and it was far too thick, hence you can see some corners are torn, which is not ideal.
This Chinese Ingot measures approximately 26.5 cm by 16.5 cm, not including the length of the Chinese knot tassel and string. The rating of difficulty is 2 out of 5, which should take roughly 45 minutes to complete. If you have a large front door, you can also make more than one lantern and join them all in a vertical roll to hang on both sides of the door. It will make a big statement for your house.
You will require these materials:
- 16 rectangle ang pows / red envelope (approx. 7.6 cm by 11.5 cm)
- 1 small red card (approx. 7.6 cm by 1 cm) – I cut from the bottom of an ang pow
- stapler & staples
- 50 – 60 cm red string
- 1 Chinese knot tassel
These are the step-by-step instructions:
- Find the midpoint of the ang pow by folding the ang pow into half vertically but don’t press the fold all the way down. Instead, just press the two corners of the joint down. This is a marker for later use.
- Next, open the ang pow out again. Then fold the ang pow into half horizontally and again only press the two corners of the joint down. Repeat for the rest of the ang pows. These are markers for later use.
- Now to fold each side of the 16 ang pows – from the midpoint that we found on the ang pow make a fold from the top midpoint to the left midpoint, the left midpoint to the bottom midpoint, the bottom midpoint to the right midpoint and from the right midpoint to the top midpoint. The end result should be four diagonal folds (diamond shape). I use a ruler to help me to fold the corners neatly. Make sure that you fold the design on the ang pow inward to the back of the ang pow.
- Now we are going to make the front of the ingot by using eight ang pows. Staple three ang pows (numbers 1, 2 and 3) together along the folds as shown. Try to staple it close to the joint, please see photo. This will form the middle of the ingot.
- Staple one ang pow (numbers 4 and 5) on each side to form an ‘X’ shape.
- Staple one ang pow (numbers 6 and 7) on both sides of the X shape.
- Rotate number 8 ang pow horizontally and staple on number 7.
- Now repeat steps 4 to 7 to create the back of the ingot.
- Join ang pow number 8 to the back of the ingot. Please see photo.
- Now join the back of the ingot to the front of the ingot. It will initially form a cylinder.
- Fold ang pow numbers 3 and 4 to form the base (it will look like a triangle shape). Turn around to the back and do the same. Now you will have a flat base. Staple the base as shown.
- Take a small piece of card and insert the Chinese knot tassel in. place the card in between the base and staple it down.
- Now we are moving to the top of the ingot. Join both corners and staple them together.
- Open the flaps of numbers 1 and 5 on the front of the ingot and join to the back of the ingot. At the same time place the red string into the gap and staple it down.
Now you will have a Chinese ingot lantern to decorate your house with. In Singapore, they will say ‘huat ah’ which means good luck! I hope this lantern will help you to huat ah! Or you can make this Chinese coin instead.
What do you think about this Chinese ingot lantern? My son said it looks like a handbag and my daughter said it looks like a graduation hat. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
Disclosure: We have included Amazon affiliate links to the products. If you click on this and buy, we may earn a small commission but at no additional cost to you.