Fire-breathing Dragon Bellows

Celebrate Chinese New Year with this fire-breathing dragon and learn about chambers that can produce strong currents of air just by squeezing them together!

Download the printable here.

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Learn moreMagnifying graphic

    Dragons may be mythical, but this dragon bellows is based off something real — a tool called a bellows. And interestingly enough, bellows are used to get fires going, kind of like how this model gets the flames going in the dragon’s mouth!

    Fire needs three things to burn: heat, a fuel source, and oxygen. Oxygen is all around you in the air, so air is an easy source of oxygen for a fire. But a fire on its own, with a normal amount of air around it, will only burn so hot. What if you need it to burn hotter? It turns out, you just add more air! Instead of blowing out the fire, the added air brings extra oxygen, which increases the fire’s intensity and temperature.

    A bellows has been the way to add extra air (and oxygen) to a fire since ancient times. When you open a bellows, it sucks in air to fill itself up. Then when you squeeze it, it shoots that air out like a pump. By pumping a bellows over and over, ancient people could make fires hot enough to smelt iron out of ore, weld metals together, and craft strong metal alloys. Bellows are still used to this day.

    Get ready to pump some air and stoke your dragon’s flames with this fire-breathing project!

  • Step 1

    Gather your materials.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    Cut the border off of the printable.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    Crease the solid horizontal lines.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    Then, fold and crease them towards the printed side of the paper.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    Crease the solid diagonal lines.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Step 6

    Then, fold and crease them towards the blank side of the paper.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 6

  • Step 7

    Push the middle of the triangles on the short sides of the paper down and squeeze them together.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 7

  • Step 8

    Continue doing this until you have a flat hexagonal shape.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 8

  • Step 9

    Repeat with the other printable.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 9

  • Step 10

    Flatten out the printables and color them in. These will be your dragon’s scales.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 10

  • Photo reference of how to complete step 12

    Tip

    Flip the printables over and color them! This will be the inside of your dragon’s mouth - make it look fire-y!

  • Step 11

    Fold along the dotted line towards the inside of the mouth. This is a tab.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 11

  • Step 12

    Then, glue the tab to the other short side of the printable, connecting them and closing the circle.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 12

  • Step 13

    Refold the printable again so that it looks like a flat hexagon. You made a bellow!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 13

  • Learn moreMagnifying graphic

    Bellows produce strong currents of air through a chamber. When you expand the chamber, it draws in air. When you compress the chamber, it expels air.

  • Step 14

    Repeat with the other printable.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 14

  • Step 15

    Trace the bottom of one of the bellows onto a piece of cardboard. Then, cut it out.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 15

  • Step 16

    Glue the cardboard to one end of one of the bellows.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 16

  • Step 17

    Then, glue the other bellow to the open end of the first bellow.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 17

  • Step 18

    Cut some ½-inch wide strips of tissue paper.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 18

  • Step 19

    Decorate your dragon! We decorated our dragon with two eyes, a nostril, and some nostril flares.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 19

  • Step 20

    Tape the strips of tissue paper to the inside of the dragon’s mouth.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 20

  • Done!

    Now, your dragon is ready to breathe fire! To make it breathe fire, just compress the bellows!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 21

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