Thanksgiving is a really homely kind of holiday, and it’s a great time to craft things for your home—whether they be table arrangements for your family dinner, or other decorations. Try these great Thanksgiving crafts to bring a little extra festive spirit to your home.
1. Bring Nature into Your Centerpiece
Celebrate the bounty of fall with a simple centerpiece straight from nature. Grab a basket or a platter and collect pine cones, acorns, chestnuts and fallen leaves. Or if you prefer to go the store-bought route, look for Indian corn and small pumpkins and gourds. Mound them up on the table for a reminder of the natural beauty we ought to be thankful for.
2. Thankful Placemats
It may be the easiest Thanksgiving craft around, but it’s also meaningful. Get some butcher paper or brown paper and cut out placemat-sized rectangles (at least 12 by 18 inches). Write “I’m thankful for” at the top of one side with a marker. You can make a numbered list or draw lines for your guests to write on. Leave a pen at each place setting, give people time to write and share your answers at the end of the meal.
3. Easy Napkin Rings
There are tons of crafty ways to jazz up your napkin presentation, whether you have store-bought napkin rings or craft your own. The easiest way to make a napkin ring is with a cut-down section of paper towel tube. Paint it whatever color you like, then you can add patterns, glue on little purchased autumn decorations, cut shapes out of felt and glue them on, print out tiny pictures of things you’re thankful for and glue them to the rings … the choices are nearly endless!
Or you can just glue burlap, pretty ribbon or fabric onto the tube and have simple, elegant napkin rings in no time at all.
4. Turn Your Napkin into a Turkey
There are all sorts of fun napkin folds you can bring out for Thanksgiving, but this turkey fold (which is an accordion fold with a little twist) is really cute when you add a gourd to the plate to be the turkey’s body.
5. Crafty Seating Cards
Most of the time life is not so formal that you need place cards, and Thanksgiving probably need not be that formal, either, but these little cards directing people to their seats are another fun and easy way to get crafty. Many of the ideas for napkin rings can also be used on place cards, such as gluing on little shapes. You could also use fall-themed stickers or stamps for an easy way to decorate cards that the kids can help with, too.
6. Burlap Utensil Holder
Keep your forks, knives and spoons corralled in a pretty way on the plate by making little pouches out of burlap or another pretty fabric. Just cut a piece about 10 inches long and 6 inches wide, then fold in half lengthwise. Sew or use fabric glue to make into a pouch. Embellish with ribbon or other decorations as you like.
When getting ready for the meal, slip all the utensils in the pouch and place it on top of the plate.
7. Stamping Fabric
Add a little more personality to your napkins or table runner by printing on them with fall shapes. Use leaves, a cut apple or even shapes cut out of a potato or sponge as your stamps, and use fall-colored acrylic paint (let dry overnight then run in a hot dryer for 30 minutes) or fabric paint (follow manufacturer’s suggestions for heat-setting) to make your marks.
8. A Yarn-Wrapped Wreath
There are a lot of different ways to decorate with wreaths for the fall, but there’s just something really cozy—and easy—about yarn. Use a foam ring from the floral department and wrap it tightly with yarn in whatever colors you would like. Use a little bit of glue every now and then as you work around to help keep the yarn secure.
An even easier alternative is to cut a circular wreath form, cut the sleeves off a knit sweater and slip the sleeves onto the ring. Glue the ends down and wrap any remaining exposed wreath with a contrasting yarn. (Here are instructions for the wreath shown by Lizzy Ford.)
You can also add a bow (or yarn pom poms) or any other decorations you might like to the wreath.
9. Festive Luminaries
Lining the walk with luminaries builds anticipation if you’re having Thanksgiving dinner in the evening. It’s really easy to jazz up a plain brown paper lunch sack by cutting out a bit and covering up the hole with a piece or pieces of tissue paper.
Keep it simple by cutting out leaf shapes and covering them with fall colors, or check out this tutorial from Family Fun magazine that turns a cut out circle into a colorful turkey.
10. Make a Leaf Swag
Use real leaves—which you can preserve with a clear sealant—or cut leaves out of card stock, construction paper, felt, fabric or old book pages. Tie or glue them at intervals to fishing line, yarn or ribbon. Drape over the fireplace, hang from the ceiling or from light fixtures, or put anywhere else you want to add some fall flair.
11. Apple or Pumpkin Candles
It’s easy to make an apple or a pumpkin into a candle. Just cut off the top and hollow out a portion big enough for a tea light to fit in.
If necessary, cut the bottom of the apple or pumpkin to ensure that it will sit straight before you light the candle. These are cute as a centerpiece, or put one at each place setting.
12. Fall Fabric Bunting
Cut pieces of fall-colored felt or fabric into triangles. Use stitching or fabric glue to attach them to ribbon (I love to use folded bias tape for buntings, because you can hide the raw edge inside the fold). Add the word “thankful” to the triangles, if you like, for extra cuteness and holiday charm.
13. Mason Jar Decor
Nothing says homey like decorating with Mason jars. Add a bit of burlap, ribbon and little acorns to make a perfect candle holder or a place to keep utensils if you’re doing a buffet.
You can also paint the jars to go with your decor, or use decoupage medium to stick tissue paper to the glass for a stained-glass effect (that one’s fun for the kids, too).
14. Indian Corn Swag
Tie a few pieces of Indian corn together with twine and you’ve got a really simple piece to hang on the door or place on the mantel that will bring a bit of Thanksgiving and fall flair with no fuss.
15. Goofy Gourds
If you’ve got kids in the house for Thanksgiving, or even if you don’t, buy some little pumpkins and gourds to decorate in silly ways. Have googly eyes, pipe cleaners, feather and leaf shapes and whatever else you’d like on hand, as well as some glue, and let people go to town making their own crazy creatures. You could even have a competition to see whose creation is the kookiest.
16. Nutter Butter Turkeys
Did you know a Nutter Butter looks just like the body of a turkey? I didn’t either until I saw this awesome tutorial from Mommy Savers. Grab some cookies, candy corn and a few other supplies for tasty turkeys everyone will love.
17. Handprint Turkeys, of Course!
Regardless of whether you’re having kids at your holiday table, busting out some construction paper and markers to make handprint turkeys in something everyone can get into. Again, have a contest for the goofiest gobbler or hang a wire over the fireplace and let guests display theirs while others guess which turkey belongs to which artist.
Don’t miss Lifehack’s Guide to Gratitude as you plan your Thanksgiving holiday events.Featured photo credit: Thanksgiving day concept/Autumn thanksgiving day background with red and yellow leaves with word "Thanks" /Autumn leaves over wooden background via Shutterstock