If your repertoire of Thanksgiving craft ideas starts and ends with making a handmade turkey, it’s time to give your creativity a boost. While there’s nothing wrong with tracing your hand on a paper plate, there are plenty of unique ways to put your stamp on the holiday, whether you’re a novice crafter or an experienced maker.
“In our family, we gather around the table to make quirky place cards and birdhouses for little creatures as handmade gifts,” says Capucine De Wulf Gooding, author of Together at the Table, whose family celebrates a “crafternoon” tradition on Thanksgiving Day with the best Thanksgiving decorations.
From kid-friendly hobbies to magazine-worthy decorating ideas for Thanksgiving, these festive DIY projects will help you prepare for the big holiday and cultivate your attitude of gratitude.
DIY ideas for Thanksgiving
These craft ideas run the gamut. From Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas to DIY wreaths, Thanksgiving table decor and homemade potpourri, you’re sure to find something to brighten up your holiday.
1. Wrap a Pumpkin
Looking for a sustainable craft idea? You probably have everything on hand to make this simple fabric pumpkin.
To make a wraparound pumpkin, simply place a small bowl of cereal or high-sided fruit in the center of a cloth napkin or dishcloth (or any piece of cloth). Wrap the towel loosely around the outside of the bowl, gathering the corners of the fabric over the bowl. Secure the ends together with a rubber band. Then push the ends into the center of the bowl. Finish by inserting a small twig in the center.
2. Invite gratitude
A wall of gratitude doubles as a fun Thanksgiving party idea. To make your own, place a large sheet of craft paper or poster board inside a poster frame. Decorate the edges of the paper with stencils or freehand designs.
Then, on Thanksgiving Day, ask your family and friends to write down the things they are most grateful for this year. Put the glass frame back when you’re done with a decorative keepsake you can bring back year after year.
3. Also turn your napkin ring into a place card
For a simple and clever way to add a personal touch to your Thanksgiving table decoration, create personalized “napkin rings” out of Kraft paper. Stencil your guests’ names (or freehand, if you have excellent calligraphy), and they’ll double as place cards, too.
4. Put together a Thanksgiving centerpiece
DeWulf Gooding and his family love to bring their Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas to life at a Thanksgiving Day ‘crafternoon’.
The family picks up wooden treehouses, tiny pebbles and bird’s nests at the craft store ahead of Thanksgiving Day, and they embellish the items with feathers, greenery, moss and pebbles found on a nature walk (a family tradition).
“The little sculptures we make are indeed charming, but of course they have a hint of silliness, not least thanks to their much-needed googly eyes,” she says.
5. Make an autumn wreath with leaves
For a festive and easy Thanksgiving wreath idea, adorn a simple wreath or wreath ring with fall leaves.
The leaves in the version above were made with a Silhouette cutter, but if you don’t have a craft cutter, you can purchase faux fall leaves from a craft store or online. (opens in a new tab). Then simply attach them to your crown shape with a hot glue gun.
6. String a garland
A Thanksgiving wreath adds a festive touch above a mantle or placed in the center of the dinner table. To make an all-natural one, thread a large yarn needle with a large piece of string, then thread dehydrated oranges together with apple, citrus, and pear slices. Alternate with tied cinnamon sticks from time to time.
“Gorgeous cutlery and paper menus make the table feel like a special occasion,” says Kathryn Duryea, founder of tableware brand Year & Day. (opens in a new tab)who likes to create their own menu cards to personalize the table.
To Create a Simple Thanksgiving Dinner Menu, Use a Border Stamp (opens in a new tab) or an edge punch to add shine to plain white card stock. If you prefer, print the menu on the card stock first. Otherwise, practice your best calligraphy and write it down for each guest.
8. Let the kids decorate the children’s table
The kids’ table is a blank slate for holiday creativity, so why not dress it up with this colorful Thanksgiving centerpiece idea (courtesy of Silhouette (opens in a new tab)), made by the guests at the table?
To create this fun focal point, trace leaves onto construction paper and have the kids cut them out. Then glue floral wire to the back of each leaf and use floral tape to secure the stems together into a bouquet. Make two boots and place them on the table in opposite directions.
9. Make a Door Wreath for Thanksgiving
A Thanksgiving wreath adds a holiday touch to the front door, table top or above the fireplace. This one is made with a twig wreath base, plus fall-colored foliage, faux flowers, and berries tied with floral wire.
Create one that suits your Thanksgiving decorating scheme by choosing flowers and berries in colors that will feature on your table.
10. Make a potpourri
This Thanksgiving craft will help create a warm ambiance in your home throughout the holiday season. A spicy citrus blend made from oranges, cloves and cinnamon sticks can be dried. Alternatively, combine the ingredients with water and simmer on the stovetop for a more pungent, quick-release flavor.
11. Turn a pumpkin into a planter
Learning how to make a pumpkin planter is one of the easiest ways to create a beautiful Thanksgiving centerpiece. Simply remove the inside of the pumpkin, as you would if you were carving a jack-o’-lantern. Then place a small vase in the pumpkin and add flowers and water.
How to make Thanksgiving decorations?
Making your Thanksgiving decorations is not only a way to add beauty and personality to your holiday, but it’s also a fun way to create a tradition during the Thanksgiving season. Good candidates for crafts include Thanksgiving centerpieces, wreaths, and pumpkin planters, as well as place cards, napkin rings, and other table decor.
What DIYs can you do on Thanksgiving Day?
Planning a few Thanksgiving crafts helps ensure the holidays are filled with fun. Here are some fun craft ideas:
- Ask your guests to help you decorate your table. Make fake (or real!) flower arrangements, dinner menus and beeswax candles, then decorate the table together.
- Decorate the sugar cookies. For an edible (and practical) DIY, cut out Thanksgiving-shaped sugar cookies and have each guest decorate a cookie with their name, which can serve as a placeholder for dinner.
- Liven up your pumpkins. Decorating pumpkins isn’t just for Halloween. Avoid pumpkins and instead try a pumpkin idea without carving, such as decoupage or painting.