Thanksgiving Table Crafts

A beautiful table setting is the finishing touch to a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. By collecting a few simple things from around the house, and maybe a trip to the craft or fabric store, you have the makings of a festive table.

Thanksgiving Crafts for the Table

Taking the time to create an attractive table adds a bit of color and fun to the festivities that will be enjoyed by everyone. Find some ideas to create place mats, place holders and napkin rings with Thanksgiving themes.

Place mats and Place Holders

Standard place mats start with a rectangle of construction paper, or fabric, in fall colors or white and come in endless varieties, limited only by your imagination.

Handy Turkey Place mats - Trace around a hand, with fingers spread, to create a turkey. The palm is the body, the thumb is the head, and the other fingers are the tail feathers. Each child can make their own. It can turn into a game, to try to find their handprint at dinnertime, to see who sits where.

Fall Foliage Place mats - Collect colorful fall leaves from your own yard to make a lovely, natural place mat. You can also use artificial leaves from the craft store, if you prefer. Cut two rectangle pieces of contact paper the size you need. Arrange the leaves neatly on the first piece. Carefully place the second piece on top, pealing part of the paper backing off a little at a time, and press in place. Give the place mat a boarder by gluing strips of construction paper about an inch wide along the edges.

Pilgrims and Indians - Draw or find a pattern for simple silhouettes of Pilgrims and Indians. Place one of each on either side of the place mat. Decorate them, or leave them as simple silhouettes. Craft feathers could be added for details around the edges.

Burlap Place mats - If you want to go with a more rustic look, cut rectangles of burlap. If you have a sewing machine, stitch around the outside edge about an inch in, with a zigzag stitch, to keep it from raveling too far. Decorated the place mat with ribbon or yarn.

Fabric Place mats - There are many lovely fall prints available that could be made into place mats. They could be bordered with a nice ribbon (make sure it's washable) for a simple place mat. The ribbon could be attached with fabric glue or double stick tape. Just be sure to use the permanent kind, if you want to wash them. Alternatively, you could make a quilted place mat and finish it off with binding, for a very elegant looking table.

Placeholders or place cards - These can also be a nice touch at the dinner table. Not only they are decorative, but help to eliminate the arguments of who sits where at dinner. They can be made by taking a piece of card stock, or heavy paper, about four inches square, folded in half. Print the name on both sides. If someone knows how to do calligraphy, that can add a nice touch. With all the interesting fonts available, it is easy to print out nice ones, and even add small graphics that fit the theme of the season right at your home computer.

Napkin Rings

A nice touch for any Thanksgiving dinner table is handcrafted napkin rings. They are relatively simple to make and something that the kids could easily do to help. It could be a great project for children to work on while the food is being prepared.

First, you need to decide which napkins you want to use; cloth or paper napkins. Roll the napkin to the size you want, allowing a little overlap for the ring to hold the napkin. To make the ring itself, either purchase them or create your own by cutting toilet paper rolls into the desired size. The cardboard rolls work especially well for napkin rings that stand upright, instead of lying beside the silverware. Then the fun starts. It's time to decorating the napkin rings. There are many different things you can use including:

Stickers - Stickers are the quickest and easiest way to decorate the rings, especially for younger kids. There are many delightful holiday stickers available. The hardest part will be deciding which ones to use.

Paper Turkey - By gluing a simple turkey body to the ring and adding a few colorful feathers to the inside of the ring, you can create a delightful turkey napkin ring.

Indian Headband - To create a simple Indian headband napkin holder, use brown construction paper strips to make the rings and then add colorful feathers.

Pilgrim Buckle - Traditionally, pictures of Pilgrims show a wide black belt with a buckle (also found on their hats). This is easy to make into a napkin ring. Use black strips of paper for the "belt" that makes the ring. Then cut a square, with the center cut out, from yellow paper that is a bit wider than the strip for the buckle and paste to the Pilgrims belt.

Pilgrim Hats - Cutting out a simple Pilgrim hat or bonnet silhouette could make for cute napkin ring designs. If you want a 3D version of the black hat with the buckle, you could make the center of the hat from a toilet paper roll adding a brim around the bottom. Next, glue on a buckle made out of yellow paper and put the napkin in so it stands upright.

3D Turkey - To make a 3D turkey, make the body of the turkey from sections of a toilet paper roll, cut about an inch wide. Glue on the head and feet in the front and tail feathers in the back to complete the turkey.

Fall Foliage - Cut out some leaf shapes in different fall colors. Glue them all the way around the napkin ring, overlapping them slightly.

The possibilities to create Thanksgiving napkin rings are endless, limited only by your own imagination. There are many variations that could be created for fun and funky or lovely and elegant table accents.

Thanksgiving Invitations

There are cards available for just about every holiday out there, and Thanksgiving is no exception. But who wouldn't love receiving a handmadecard as a keepsake? With a little creativity, imagination and time, you can create wonderful Thanksgiving dinner invitation cards for family and friends. There are quite a few techniques and mediums that can be used to create invitations from the heart. Children and adults alike can have fun making the cards.

One of the simplest Thanksgiving invitations to create is the standard "hand turkey" card that can be cut out and glued to either folded construction paper, card stock or even scrapbook paper. This is a great project to do with younger kids. First, trace your child's hand on a piece of paper, being sure to have them spread their fingers as far apart as they can. Make it dimensional, by not gluing the finger feathers down. Use a pencil to curl the feathers, so that they stand out off the paper a little.

There are many rubber stamps available in holiday themes, sometimes combined in kits. Different inks, embossing powders and paper can be combined to create unique looks, even when you use the same stamps. Practicing on scrap paper before making your final product can sometimes provide ideas that you might not have thought about, such as overlapping the same stamp a couple times, with different colors, offset a bit. This particular technique provides a shadow effect.

Stencils are also a simple way to make a nice design on your greeting cards. Using either stencil brushes or sponges can give you totally different looks. Playing with different layouts such as overlapping things can allow you to create many different and unique designs.

Stickers can also be used to create simple cards or can be combined with other mediums. There are many kinds of stickers including those with metallic accents. There is enough variety of stickers that make it easy to create a nice scene on the front of the card complete with turkeys, Pilgrims and Indians. There is also a lot of free clip art available in graphics programs and online. Many of which can be printed on sticker paper or on regular paper and glued in place.

By using some scrapbooking techniques, you can create some very artistic looking cards. Layering different kinds of paper together, changing angles, ripping edges, etc. will allow you to create an almost old fashioned look. Accenting it with stickers, paper cutouts or other details will give your card some wonderful finishing touches.

If you know calligraphy, or someone who does, hand lettering can really set off a handmade card nicely. Even if you can't do calligraphy, there are many nice fonts that can be found on your computer. Print the words out on a nice paper, cut out creatively (scrapbooking edge scissors are great for this) and glue onto your card.

Even if you feel like you have no artistic talent at all, there are many options available to make card making easy and enjoyable. As with most handcrafted items, it doesn't have to be perfect. That's what makes it special; they are made with love, not mass-produced in a factory. So try your hand at a handcrafted card this Thanksgiving and let your loved ones know how thankful you are they are in your life.