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DIY Red Envelopes for Chinese New Year

by | DIY, Kids, Paper, Spring

Did you know January 31st is Chinese New Year?  2014 is the Year of the Horse, so yeehaw!  Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

When we were little, we always received red envelopes from grandparents and other relatives with various amounts of cash in them.  When we were REALLY little, my parents would take the cash away for “safekeeping”, but we got to keep/save/use it as we got older.  I totally resented the “safekeeping” thing back then, but now I get it.  What on earth would little J need with the money he receives from our relatives when we, as parents, provide everything he needs (and often, things he doesn’t need…ahem…Hot Wheels Ferraris…)  So, yup, I’m in the business of safekeeping my kids’ red envelopes now.  But, he and his friends may be interested in THESE red envelopes, since they’re not filled with money, they’re filled with CHOCOLATE!

DIY Year of the Horse red envelopes filled with chocolate coins. Kids would love these!

I actually wanted to do this last year for J’s daycare class, but I couldn’t find the chocolate coins anywhere.  I had gone to a local grocery store that had a huge candy section, and asked an employee if they carried chocolate coins.  All I got was a blank look.  I debated ordering on Amazon, but do I really need a whole pound of chocolate coins?!  This year, I saw chocolate coins at Target, but didn’t grab them because I hadn’t formulated the project in my head (it was December).  When I finally decided I was going to do this, I went back and OF COURSE, they were gone.  Of course.  Sheesh.  So, one day, while grocery shopping at the local store, I decided to just walk through the candy section instead of asking the highschooler at the counter.  And of course (again), there they were.  Three different types of chocolate coins.  Gold, bronze and silver.  Man, I felt both triumphant and idiotic all at once.  So simple, and I had made it so complicated.

DIY red envelopes

And now, with a Silhouette Cameo handy, the envelope making process was super easy!  I was originally going to buy the Chinese supermarket brand of red envelopes, but why buy the branded ones when I can make my own?

DIY red envelopes

I found images of the envelope and horse silhouette online, and traced them out in Silhouette Studio.  The envelope was cut from red cardstock, and the horse was cut from a metallic gold cardstock that I found at Michaels during their post-Christmas sale.  $0.25 per sheet, yeah!  I even found a sheet that looked like gold leaf.  That’s for the super fancy red envelopes I’ll be making for my family, I think.


Since the envelope was an outline trace of an image, it didn’t have fold lines to perforate and make the folding easier.  I just used a ruler to to keep the folds straight.

Cut the envelope from red cardstock

Add a little glue, and you’ve got yourself an envelope.

A little glue is all it takes for assembly

Glue the metallic horse onto the front of the envelope to complete your own Year of the Horse red envelope.

DIY red envelopes with chocolate coins for Chinese New Year

You can fill your envelopes with cash, check, or chocolate coin.  I’ll be sending these to school with J next week with a few coins in each kid’s envelope.   I figure they’d appreciate that more than if I put a dollar or something in it.  Maybe that way, their parents won’t confiscate it for “safekeeping”?

DIY red envelopes with chocolate coins for an easy kid-friendly celebration of Chinese New Year.

In case you don’t celebrate Chinese New Year, or don’t like chocolate coins, you can take a look at project inspirations for the OTHER upcoming holiday.

Chocolate Hearts Valentine


Pipecleaner Heart Glasses
Heart Glasses


  1. Karen

    What a cool project! 🙂 Was the horse really hard to cut out with all those curves? It looks really delicate ….

  2. ChiWei

    Hey Karen, I actually cut the horse out with my Silhouette Cameo. I can’t imagine doing this by hand! If I didn’t have a Silhouette, I would consider tracing it in black marker on gold paper or something.

  3. Marilyn

    Oh, I’ve got to get my silhouette out! This project is divine!

  4. ChiWei

    Thanks! I’m constantly being amazed by what this thing can do. Why did I wait so long?!

  5. Megan

    I made something similar last year, and will be making these this year for my preschool students. Instead of real money, I just bought bags of chocolate money for $1 a bag and put 3 in each envelope 🙂

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