Make Auspicious Red Envelope For Chinese New Year


{More pictures below + FREE Template!}

Can you use washi tape to make auspicious red envelope for Chinese New Year?

Before I continue, let’s find out what red envelope is.  Is it something to do with snail mail?

Make auspicious red envelope for Chinese New Year


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No.  It’s nothing to do with snail mail.  The best part is it’s something to do with money!  Yay!  Isn’t money our all time favorite topic?

Red envelope is also known as Ang Pow.  There are several ways to call it actually… ang pao, ang pau, hung pao and so on.  The word Ang Pow is directly translated from one of the Chinese dialects called Hokkien or Teohchew.

Ang means red and Pao means packet.  It looks something like a red colored envelope at first glance but the shape is usually tall and rectangular.

From the people I know including me, we normally call hung pao (紅包) in Mandarin or Cantonese.  Some call red envelope as red packet, too.

Different types of red envelopes


Something About Chinese New Year

We’ll soon be celebrating Chinese New Year in less than 2 weeks and entering the year of monkey officially!  Time really flies at the blink of an eye.  How I wish time could just stop working for a while…

Well, it’s usually a busy time for us here at the end of the year and beginning of the year.  This is especially more so for people who celebrate both Christmas and Chinese New Year.

Imagine you had Christmas tree just a few weeks ago, and now it is time to prepare and change to Chinese lanterns right after 1st of January.

But luckily Chinese New Year for 2016 falls on the second week of February.  So at least we all can have a bit more time to breathe and get ready.

Sometimes it happened as early as on the second last week of January!  This was considered too fast because many people were not quite ready yet.

There are many abundant ways to celebrate Chinese New Year, be it in the house or in public areas, from sending beautiful greeting cards, to meaningful gift baskets, to sumptuous food, to red envelopes, to auspicious words, to red clothing, to red lanterns and so on.


What Is The Most Preferred Color?

(Already given you a hint 🙂 ) As you can see from the previous paragraph, I keep mentioning red.  Yes, red is the most favorable and auspicious color for Chinese New Year.  You can certainly see lots of red decorations during this time of the year.

I wanted to do some mini projects for Chinese New Year using our favorite craft items – washi tapes.

Should I make some greeting cards or lanterns?  Alas… those seemed big projects to me.  Then, luckily my aha moment came!  What about combining red envelope and washi tape?



Why Red Envelope (aka Ang Pow) in Chinese New Year?

It’s a tradition for parents and married adults to give red envelopes (ang pow) to children and unmarried adults.  The best part inside the red packet is money!  It should be new banknotes though.

That’s why we go to the bank to change new banknotes and many banks nowadays even restrict the time to change.  The demand is high yet the supply of new notes is limited in a day.

Is there a standard market rate for giving red envelopes?  Perhaps.  Most people usually give $5 or $10.  From our experience, we’d received from $2 to few hundreds.

Chinese New Year is the happiest moment for children and even unmarried adults.  This is the time where they can receive money openly without hesitation.

Some can even earn pocket money.  The only “side hustle” one needs to do is to visit as many family members and friends as you can within the 15 days period.

Some employers also give red packets to employees on the first day of work after Chinese New Year as a way of appreciation and good luck.

As I mentioned earlier, December and January are the busiest months for many people especially those with children.  This is also the prime time for spending money such as on holidays, Christmas gifts, New Year celebration, schools start, Chinese New Year celebrations plus giving away hard-earned money in the form of red packets!

I know some people don’t give ang pow even if they are married due to budget constraint.  Some people still give small amount no matter what.  However, since the content is money which is practical and one might use it as a way to judge.

Anyhow, let’s remember that the underlying meaning of giving away red envelopes is to send happiness, love, good luck and prosperity to the recipients.


How To Make Auspicious Red Envelope For Chinese New Year?


standard-divider-skyblueClick here to get Red Envelope Free Template

Note: Before printing, choose the following options depending on your computer.  Otherwise, the size will be smaller. 
Landscape – Letter – Size Option (Actual Size) or Page Scaling (Fit to printable area)

standard-divider-skyblueStep 1

Use red envelope as the template on white paper

Use existing red envelope as the template on a white paper if you happen to have one.  Or, download the free template here.  The one I use here is considered the standard size which you can insert unfolded banknotes.


Step 2

Use masking tapes to cover all white area

Cut the template out, fold the flaps using either a bone folder or pen.  Then use masking tapes to cover the white area.  Please don’t leave any white surface on the front because giving money in a white envelope is another whole new story which is for something sober and sad moment…


Step 3

This is how it looks after covering up the white paper using red mt tape

In this example above, there are 11 strips of mt limited edition red masking tape used (15mm x 7m).  Add 1 more strip if you also want to cover the white portion.

The length of each strip is about 6” (15cm) x 12 strips = 72” (180cm).  If you are frugal about washi tape usage like me, you can have a rough estimate as to how much you’ll be using 😉

Beautiful texture on mt limited edition red masking tape


Related Articles:
Different types of washi tapes – Part 1
More pictures of washi tapes – Part 2


Step 4

Personalize red envelope

Before you glue all the flaps, add some other pretty tapes and embellishments to personalize the red envelopes.  I added the Chinese word “春” which means Springtime on the front using gold colored Somitape.


Suggestion: Is There Anything Else To Improve?

If you don’t want to use washi tape to cover the white paper, you can opt for red paper or red patterned paper.  This way you don’t have to keep looking at your cute tape running low.

I’ve tried normal A4 white paper (similar to US letter size), red paper, patterned paper and red cardstock.  I found it easier to work with normal paper like below 100gsm.  The standard paper will become a bit thicker after adding washi tapes.

You might be thinking making auspicious red envelope for Chinese New Year is of no use to you since you don’t celebrate at all.

However, would you mind if I gave you one suggestion?

Since nowadays we can always buy or get red packets in different sizes and designs.  Some designs and materials are really fantastic.  I keep some of them still and put some money inside and hide somewhere.

I recently found out 2 red envelopes unexpectedly because I’ve totally forgotten about them!  I was ecstatic as if winning some lottery money!

Therefore my suggestion: follow the steps above to make some washi tape red envelopes and insert some money inside and keep it somewhere where you can still find but not too obvious.

Try to make some auspicious red envelopes and let me know!  I wish you a wonderful, joyous, healthy and prosperous Chinese New Year!


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