Sweet and simple arts and crafts, creative expressions to personalize the Thanksgiving table…because we don’t do fancy very well.
The humble table in our little kitchen gets pretty crowded, so decorations are kept small, and have almost always been child made. I noticed when putting this post together that they have evolved from pilgrims and turkeys to lots of colored leaves.
Here are the current favorite Thanksgiving crafts my children and I, and now my 4-H club have made, all for some pocket change, collecting from nature (or the dollar store), and basic craft supplies. Perhaps there’s something here to inspire you and yours…
1. Leaf Bowl candy dish
~Decoupaged faux leaves (or real leaves) over a balloon or bowl mold.
- a blown-up balloon will sit stable in a small bowl for your mold.
- if using faux leaves off a vine, remove the hard plastic veins first.
- brush modge podge (or 3 parts glue/1 part water mixture) directly on the balloon, topping with the leaves. add extra leaves on the bottom of the leaf bowl for more stability.
- once dried and the balloon is popped, the leaf bowl will shrivel briefly then reshape itself after you peel the balloon pieces out.
2. Painted Rocks
or a table place card idea, with guest’s names.
~Acrylic paint and sharpies
3. Walnut Boats …either the Niña, Pinta and Santa Marie, or another table place card idea; with individual names written on each sail. Enjoyable for younger hands to assemble as well.
~Walnut shells, clay, and toothpick, with paper or leaf sails. optional burlap ‘deck’.
- carefully crack and remove the meat of the walnut
- fill with clay or play dough, which will dry and hold the toothpick mast straight and tall
- burlap was hot glued on top, but the clay alone works well
4. Luminary Lights
~Leaves ironed in between wax paper, washi-taped together, set over a votive candle.
- iron leaves in-between the shiny sides of the waxed paper
- tape four sections together
- place over candle
5. Stemware Name Tags or Napkin Ring Tags This is the third or fourth year I’ve used these same shrinky dink leaves…and my brother supplies the cider he pressed.
~Shrinky dinks and colored pencils
- need shrink plastic (or #6 recyclable plastic), sandpaper, quality colored pencils/sharpies/acrylic paint for medium, a hole punch and heat source
- sand one side of the plastic for your medium to take
- note: a 3″ piece of plastic will shrink to 1″
- write words backwards on the sanded side before coloring. cut out and hole punch before baking in a 350 degree oven for about 1 minute on either parchment or foil. (plastic will shrivel and curl briefly, before laying flat)
- wrap thin wire twice around a round object to form the “hardware” or napkin ring
6. Prayer Cards In our case; song lyrics …I really love when family sings at the table in three or four-part harmony. Words can be helpful to have everyone join in. (This one is sung to the tune of the Doxology:)
There is SO MUCH to be thankful for.
How I love this American holiday in November; family focused, unmaterialistic, a focus on appreciating what we have instead of want, and a bounty of really good food from multiple cooks…sometimes there’s a nap thrown in there too.
Happy Thanksgiving to you!