Thanksgiving Decorations Kids Can Help Make

Photos sticking out of colorful gourds
Photograph by Ryan Liebe
You'll proudly display these easy, made-by-kids centerpieces, place cards, artwork, and more in a special place this Thanksgiving.
Photograph by Ryan Liebe
Photograph by Ryan Liebe

Gobbler Place Cards

Sweeten up your table with these turkey pals, quickly and cleverly constructed from cupcake liners.

Make it: Flatten a standard-size cupcake liner, then draw eyes on a mini cupcake liner. With a glue stick, adhere a beak and snood cut from colored paper. Using a brush or cotton swab, dab white glue around the rim of the mini liner. Set it off-center on the larger liner, as shown, and let it dry. With the glue stick, attach the turkey to a folded tent card (we used decorative-edge scissors to cut ours from brown card stock). Add turkey feet and a name with marker.

Photograph by Ryan Liebe
Photograph by Ryan Liebe

Coloring-Book Tablecloth

Turn the Thanksgiving table into a giant art canvas to get kids -- and grown-ups -- happily doodling. Cans from the dinner preparations, cleaned and dried, make handy holders for crayons and colored pencils.

Make it: Use kraft paper, art paper, or wrapping paper to cover the table; if needed, use several lengths, taping them to each other. Keep it in place with large binder clips or painter's tape (test tape on the table's underside to ensure it won't damage the finish). With black marker, draw place settings and other shapes to invite coloring.

Courtesy of More Minutes
Courtesy of More Minutes

Turkey Cups

Don't get trapped in a continuous "Is that my drink?" loop. Make sure all your guests can find their cups by gluing on a few colorful turkey feathers. Write each person's name on the feathers, and then add some googley eyes and a triangle beak to finish.
 

Jeff Harris
Jeff Harris

The Hidden Harvest Cornucopia

Our twist on the cornucopia is full of surprises—each fruit and veggie has a little treat for your guests!

Make it: Cornucopia

1. Remove the outer hoops of one 8-inch and one 9-inch embroidery hoop (save outer hoops for another project). Paint the inner hoops brown; let dry.2. Cut fourteen 1½x29-inch-long strips from a large (at least 29x22-inch) sheet of brown cardstock. Trim the strips so that each is 2 inches shorter than the last: The first is 29 inches, the second 27 inches, etc., until the last is 3 inches.3. Dot glue on the outside of the larger hoop, and wrap the 29-inch strip around it; use double-stick tape to secure the edges. Do the same with the smaller hoop and the 25-inch strip. Create circles with the rest: Overlap the edges by ½ inch and secure.4. Cut a 1x26-inch strip of cardstock. Line up your circles from smallest to largest. Thread the smallest one onto the end of the strip and tape it in place. Thread on the next circle and tape it right next to (but not overlapping) the first. Continue this way until all the circles, hoops included, are attached.5. Working from the top now, tuck the second-largest circle about ½ inch inside the largest one; tape in place underneath. Continue working backward—largest to smallest—and the cone will curl into the cornucopia.

Make it: Surprise Balls

1. For each: Cut off a 3-foot length of crepe-paper streamer. Fold it a few times, then cut it across the fold to get two narrow strips. Set aside. Plan on one streamer roll per ball.2. Start wrapping a treat with the rest of the roll. Wrap as many times as necessary, squishing the paper and changing your angle to get the desired shape; tape down the end. Wrap it tightly with the two narrow strips for a smooth surface; secure with glue.3. Decorate with cardstock stem and leaves and paint pens, if desired.

Photograph by Ryan Liebe
Photograph by Ryan Liebe

Shipshape Dessert

Pay tribute to the voyage of the Mayflower with this finishing flourish.

Make it: Cut paper into a sail with gently angled sides, as shown. Decorate it as desired and add a simple message such as "Give Thanks" or "Happy Turkey Day." Cut two small slits in the paper and slide it onto a coffee stirrer. Stick a sail in each pie slice.

Courtesy of Factory Direct Craft Blog
Courtesy of Factory Direct Craft Blog

Button Place Cards

These cute place card gobblers will make your table turkey-friendly.What you'll need: 1" button, tweed fabric, scissors, brown, red, and yellow cardstock, craft glueMake it: Cut and cover your button with the tweed fabric and glue to secure. Then, cut five feathers and one head from your cardstock for each place card. Cut a 4" x 5" square out of the brown cardstock and fold it in half. Glue the feathers and the head onto the card and add the button. Write the name of each of your guests and set the table.

Scott Little
Scott Little

Turkey Bouquet

Have kids make one of these turkey flowers for each person in your family, then arrange them together in a container for a wonderful Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Make It: Using an artificial sunflower or gerbera daisy, trim the petals from one side of the flower as shown. Make the turkey's face by gluing two googly eyes and a colored card-stock beak and wattle onto a large brown button or paper circle. Then glue the face to the flower center. Spell out "Give Thanks" using letter stickers on the side of a vase or container and arrange the flowers inside.

Photograph by Ryan Liebe
Photograph by Ryan Liebe

Gourd-geous Photo Display

Dig up interesting family snapshots to create this sweet conversation starter. For added cheer, ask guests to use the photos' flip sides to jot down a few words -- any funny or fond memory about the depicted event or person.

Make it: Brush gourds or mini pumpkins with primer (this step helps the paint stick and the colors pop, but it can be skipped if you're pressed for time). With a hammer and a thin nail, make a hole in the top of each (an adult's job). Paint the gourds with acrylic paints. Loop a 12-inch length of floral wire around a marker to make a coil at one end, then slip it off. Insert the other end of the wire into the gourd.

Aimee Herring
Aimee Herring

Give Thanks Banner

Create a warm welcome by hanging this homemade banner year after year.

What you'll need: 1 yard of thick-grain white linen ($14 per yard; graylinelinen.com), scissors, parchment paper, washable glue, 4" letter stencils ($10; usartsupply.com), fabric dye, rubber gloves, ribbon

Make it:
1. Cut 10 6x8 rectangles from fabric. Cut work surface with parchment paper and lay fabric pieces on top. Trace the letters on each piece with a line of glue along the inside edge of the stencil. Fill in letter with a thin layer of glue. Lay flat to dry completely overnight.
2. Wearing gloves, mix dye according to package instructions (we made 6 colors). Wet fabric pieces in cold water and then immerse them in the dye bath; stir to make sure the dye is evenly dispersed. Leave in for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove from dye bath and wring out excess liquids; rinse under cold, then hot running water, rubbing off glue. If needed, add a bit of soap to wash off the rest of the glue. Rinse until the water runs clear. Hang to dry.
3. Iron the fabric pieces and trim down to 5x7 rectangles, making sure to follow the fabric's grain to prevent uneven fraying. Glue letters to ribbon.

Scott Little
Scott Little

Mayflower Place Card

This miniature sailing ship is a Thanksgiving place card and treat cup in one.

Make It: Use a brown paper cup as the ship (or cover the sides of a white cup with brown paper), then fill it with candies or nuts and poke a pretzel rod down into the filler. Cut a rectangle from white card stock for the sail, punch holes in the top and bottom, add a name, then slide it onto the pretzel. Set the cup inside a coffee filter painted with blue watercolor paint to complete the seafaring scene.

Scott Little
Scott Little

Yarn Cornucopia Treat Cup

This mini cornucopia is just the right size for filling with an after-Thanksgiving dinner treat.

Make It: First make a mold by covering a 6-inch plastic foam cone with aluminum foil, crumpling excess foil at the tip to make a curved end. Then dip a 3-foot length of brown yarn into a bowl of white glue, removing excess glue between your fingertips, and wind the wet yarn around the cone. Continue wrapping lengths of glue-covered yarn around the cone until covered. Let the cone dry for a few days, then twist the cornucopia off the cone.

Scott Little
Scott Little

Turkey-Pop Favors

Suckers dressed up as turkeys? Who knew a Thanksgiving treat could be so much fun!

Make It: Using a plate or bowl, trace an 8-inch circle onto brown felt and cut it out. Fold the circle in half twice to find the center and snip a hole for the stick to go through. Stretch the felt around the sucker, securing it with a rubber band. Fluff and fan out the excess felt, then add crafts foam face pieces and googly eyes to complete the face.

Photograph by Ryan Liebe
Photograph by Ryan Liebe

Glimmering Gratitude Mobile

With disks that catch the sun and spin in the slightest breeze, this project looks so pretty hanging near the table. Plus, its message -- take time to count your blessings -- is powerful.

Make it: Invite everyone to jot down a few things that inspire gratitude in them, using a white marker on circles cut from translucent report covers (available at office supply stores; a 2 1/2-inch circle punch makes cutting them easy). Write "We're thankful for ..." on a larger circle. To assemble the mobile, knot embroidery thread onto the inner ring of an embroidery hoop, then extend it across to the opposite side, knot it, and trim. Repeat with 3 more lengths of thread to create 8 spokes, as shown. Gather the threads together at the center and knot a loop of fishing line around them for hanging. Punch holes in the circles, then hang them from the hoop with thread.

Scott Little
Scott Little

Turkey Crayon Holder

Display this creative character at each kid's place setting, along with a paper tablecloth or a card stock place mat, and there won't be a shortage of fun during dinner.

Make It: Cut a 4-inch-diameter plastic foam ball in half twice for the body and trim a sliver off a 2-inch-diameter plastic foam ball for the head. Paint both pieces brown with the exception of the bottom of the body. Add a card-stock beak and googly eyes for the facial features, then trim off the ringed end of a red balloon and glue it below the beak for a wattle. Use an unsharpened pencil to poke holes in the body, and attach the head to the body with a toothpick. Finish it off by inserting crayons in the holes.

Fall Nature Banner

Welcome guests with this colorful banner that your child can search the yard to create! Attach sticks, small pebbles, leaves, and other fall nature finds with glue to create each letter.

Scott Little
Scott Little

Bubble Wrap Indian Corn

Resist the temptation to pop those leftover scraps of bubble wrap and put them to good use as a colorful Indian corn display for Thanksgiving.

Make It: Cut three long ovals from bubble wrap scraps, then paint the ovals yellow, tan, and rust. When dry, go back and paint individual bubbles shades of brown, blue, and gold to mimic Indian corn colors. Glue the painted corn pieces onto card-stock backings, punch a hole at the top of each corn, and tie on raffia before hanging the grouping from a doorknob or on a wall.

Scott Little
Scott Little

Clay Leaf Napkin Ring

This leaf napkin ring looks so real, it will leave everyone wondering how it was made. The secret is oven-bake modeling clay with an impression from a real leaf. Once the leaf is rolled out and cut out, it's wrapped around an empty toilet paper tube and baked in an oven to harden it.

Scott Little
Scott Little

Egg Carton Pinecone

This realistic-looking pinecone looks so much like an actual one, it's sure to fool all your Thanksgiving guests.

Make It: Take an empty cardboard egg carton and cut the carton into 12 individual cups (an adult should do this step). Cut a "V" slit into each side of the cup using the "V" that is already part of the cup as a guide, and gently spread out the pieces like petals of a flower. Paint all the pieces brown, then layer and glue the pieces together. Wrap a rubber band around the bottom of the top piece to keep it closed, then insert a card between the "petals."

Scott Little
Scott Little

Apple Print Pumpkin Place Card

How do you transform an apple into a pumpkin? By using the apple as a stamp, of course.

Make It: Cut an apple nearly in half, avoiding the core, then carve curved lines into one apple piece using a plastic knife. Blot the apple flesh with a paper towel, then cover the cut surface of the apple with orange paint and use it to stamp the impression onto white card stock. (Tip: To ensure a full print, place card stock onto a piece of crafts foam before stamping.) Use your fingertip to swipe on a green stem and a toothpick to paint the green tendril. Add foam sticker letters for a name.

Aimee Herring
Aimee Herring

Butcher Paper Tablecloth

Make a tablecloth from butcher paper and colorful craft paper. Bonus: Kids can color right on it.

Make it: Trace dinner plate onto patterned paper; cut one for each guest. Attach to a brown butcher-paper tablecloth with double-stick tape. Cut a 2-1/2-inchsquare out of complementary paper and snip the edge of two corners to make utensil pocket. Attach double-stick tape to left, right, and bottom sides of pocket and bow pocket slightly before attaching to butcher-paper.

Aimee Herring
Aimee Herring

Plymouth Rock Place Cards

Instead of using paper place cards, coat stones in brightly colored tempera paint and glue on pasta letters.

Courtesy of Bloesem Kids
Courtesy of Bloesem Kids

Apple-Print Placemat

Help your kids decorate the holiday table with a homemade harvest-inspired craft.

What you'll need: burlap, scissors, freezer paper, iron, red and brown textile paint, paintbrushes, printed fabric, fabric glue

Make it: Cut your burlap to 13" x 17", or whatever placemat size you want to use. Then, sketch your apple shape onto the paper side of freezer paper and cut it out to form a stencil. Iron the freezer paper into place on the burlap, and then paint inside the stencil with red textile paint. Once it's dry, carefully peel your stencil away. Add a painted stem a funky leaf cut from printed fabric to finish. Pull a few threads from the edge of the placemat to make the fringe, and repeat until you have enough placemats for your whole family.

Photograph by Ryan Liebe
Photograph by Ryan Liebe

Adorable Acorns

Launch this project with a collecting expedition (no oak trees in your neck of the woods? Order acorn caps at acorno.com), then craft a bunch of these cuties as napkin ties and table decorations.

Make it: For a tie, remove the caps from 2 acorns, using a craft knife (an adult's job). With a glue gun, squeeze a dab of glue into each overturned cap. Lay the ends of a 12-inch length of ribbon into the caps, add another drop of glue, and top with a pom-pom (we used 3/4- and 1-inch sizes). To make loose acorns, omit the ribbon and adhere a pom-pom to the cap with a drop of glue.

Kathryn Gamble
Kathryn Gamble

Thankful Letter Banner

String together some foam letters with a fun fall-patterned ribbon to spell out what you're thankful for this year.

Kathryn Gamble Lozier
Kathryn Gamble Lozier

Napkin Rings

For adorable napkin rings your kids can craft, make these mini pilgrims and Indians.What you'll need: cardstock in white, brown, black, and yellow, black and red marker, glueMake it: Use cardstock and markers to decorate little pilgrims and Indians on a small rectangle of cardstock about 4 inches tall. Then, wrap the cardstock around your napkin to make a tube and glue the ends. At the end, embellish with a pilgrim hat or feather.

Courtesy of Domestifluff
Courtesy of Domestifluff

Pom-Pom Pumpkins

These plush pom-poms will dress up your table settings at the Thanksgiving table.What you'll need: orange pom-poms, green craft felt, a small twig, hot glue gun, scissorsMake it: Hot glue the end of the twig and insert it into the pom-pom, holding for a few seconds until the glue is set. Cut a leaf shape from the felt and hot glue it beside the twig stem. Fluff around your stem and then repeat until you have a full pumpkin patch.

Tria Giovan
Tria Giovan

Table Tepees & Houses

What you'll need for the Tepees: Dessert-size paper plates, scissors, brown chenille stems, tape, small brush, sea sponge, craft paint, craft glue

Make them: Cut paper plate in half. Roll ends to create a cone shape; tape to secure. Using a sea sponge, paint on a background with light-colored paint; let dry. Then, use a paintbrush to paint on designs; let dry. Cut chenille stems into three 3-1/2-inch pieces and glue to the inside of the top of the tepee.

What you'll need for the Houses: Empty pint-size milk or creamer cartons, craft glue, spray-on paint primer, craft paint, pencil, brushes

Make them: Glue container closed. Spray on paint primer; let dry. Paint top third of the container a darker color to resemble a roof. Paint the rest of the house a contrasting color; let dry. Use a pencil to sketch out windows and a door, then paint them on.
 

Courtesy of Kind Over Matter
Courtesy of Kind Over Matter

Thanksgiving Fortune Cookies

Remind your family to be thankful with these good fortune-filled cookies.

What you'll need: Fortune Cookie template (download from Kind Over Matter), color printer, cardstock, scissors, Glue Dots

Make it: Download the Fortune Cookie template, print, and cut out. Then, fold each circle in half without making a crease along the edge. Holding the circle in half with one hand, use the other to fold the two ends of your half-circle towards each other. Apply a Glue Dot to keep the two ends together. Then, type out and print a few things that you're thankful for and cut them into small strips you can insert into your cookies. Add to your table settings, and have your family "open" their cookies at the end of the meal.

Courtesy of Hostess With the Mostess
Courtesy of Hostess With the Mostess

Mod Centerpiece

This retro-inspired centerpiece will make a fun addition to your Thanksgiving table.What you'll need: printable pattern, craft circle punches, cookie sticks, glue stick, ribbon, vase and vase filler, floral foam or StyrofoamMake it: Glue circles together front-to-back and then attach the circle tops to cookies sticks. Fill your vase with foam, stand up your sticks in the foam, and then cover the foam with mini, orange, Styromfoam balls. Embellish the vase with a band of ribbon wrapped all the way around the vase, and one of the printable "Friends & Family" on both sides.

Copyright &copy 2011 and 2012 Meredith Corporation.

Courtesy of Say Yes to Hoboken
Courtesy of Say Yes to Hoboken

Thanksgiving Pinata

Bring some action to your Thanksgiving dinner party with this super fun pinata.

Make it: Make the round pinata by covering a large balloon with newspaper strips dipped in equal parts water and flour -- don't cover the balloon's tie. Once you?ve got 3-4 layers and the newspaper is dry, pop the balloon by cutting the tie and remove it. Cover that hole with some more dipped newspaper strips and let dry. Then, cut two slits at the top and thread a piece of rope through so your pinata is easy to hang. Cut a "trap door," or three sides of a square, in the back, lift up the flap, and fill with candy, treats, or toys for your kids. Then, tape the trap door closed. To decorate, fold some colorful cupcake liners in half and glue them to pinata until it's covered. Hang and get cracking!
 

Tria Giovan
Tria Giovan

Turkey Napkin Buddy

What you'll need: Empty cardboard tubes, scissors, colored craft foam, scalloped-edge scissors, foam mounting tape, googly eyes, Hold the Foam! glue

Make it: Cut cardboard tubes into 1-inch-wide rings. Cut 5-x-1-1/8-inch pieces of foam; glue one around each ring. To make the turkey's body, cut out one 2-inch circle from craft foam. For the layered "feathers," cut out one 3-inch and one 4-inch circle from foam, then cut both in half. Trim the rounded edges with scalloped scissors. Glue the 4-inch half-circle to the center of the napkin ring; let dry. For dimension, use mounting tape to layer the 3-inch half-circle on top, then the 2-inch circle on top of that. Cut out a turkey head, beak, and wattle from foam. Glue the wattle, beak, and googly eyes to the head; let dry. Then glue the head to the center of the top circle

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