Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Chinese scroll project

Chinese scroll project made by kids at Laurelhurst School, Portland Oregon

Early Chinese writing

Chinese people began to write about 1500 BC. People usually wrote vertically, from the top of the page to the bottom in columns. They read the text beginning from the right side of the page, the reverse of what we do. After Ts’ai Lun invented paper during the Han Dynasty, about 100 AD, writers in China wrote mainly on paper scrolls.

How to make your own scroll

You can make a Chinese paper scroll by cutting a brown paper grocery bag into a long strip. Glue the ends to wooden sticks. You can copy Chinese characters on to your scroll using a paintbrush and black paint or ink.

Making the scroll look old

You can make the scroll look old by soaking it in tea or coffee. Burn the edges a little with a candle (this will work better when the paper is still wet from soaking it). Your Chinese scroll project will look like it’s thousands of years old!

Making an oracle bone

Or, try to get a shoulder bone from your butcher (or make a pretend shoulder bone out of clay) and carve characters on it to make an oracle bone.

Other activities:

* Paper-making
* Making a compass

Bibliography and further reading about the history of paper:

History of Paper
More China projects
More about ancient China home