How to Decorate a Cardboard Cutout of a Turkey

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Thanksgiving is best known as a time for family, food and fun. Combine at least two of these things by decorating a cardboard cutout of a turkey. Pass the turkeys out to your students a few weeks before Thanksgiving and tell them to take them home and decorate them as part of a contest, or do one at home with your child and hang it up as part of your Thanksgiving decorating. This is also a great activity to do with a grandchild. Include a theme for your turkey (make a disguise for him perhaps) or just let your imagination run wild.

How to Decorate a Cardboard Cutout of a Turkey
(Cristina Reyes/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Markers, paint or crayons
  • Feathers, dried pasta and other creative items of your choice
  • White craft glue
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • Spray-on varnish or sealant
Step 1

Sketch and plan your design on a piece of paper. Come up with a theme for your turkey. You might want him to look realistic, or maybe you'd prefer a silly looking turkey. Perhaps your turkey will be wearing a chicken costume so he doesn't get chosen to be killed on Thanksgiving.

Cristina Reyes/Demand Media
Step 2

Make a list of materials. Instead of just using markers and paper to decorate your cardboard cutout, think of unusual and three-dimensional items. Use real feathers for your turkey's tail (available at any craft store), dried pasta for his belly, buttons or plastic googly eyes for eyes, and twigs for his feet. Fabric is colorful and can be cut into any shape you want. Try making a bow tie for your turkey or giving him a colorful fabric bandanna.

Cristina Reyes/Demand Media
Step 3

Start with the lower layer of decorations first, then work your way up. For example, first color your turkey's head, then glue the eyes on. Although white craft glue will work, the best way to make sure your materials stick firmly to the cardboard cutout turkey is to use a hot glue gun and hot glue.

Cristina Reyes/Demand Media
Step 4

Spray your turkey with a varnish to seal the work and give him a nice layer of gloss. Use a marker to write your name on the back of the turkey if you are entering him in a turkey-decorating contest.

Cristina Reyes/Demand Media

Tips & Warnings

  • Other things you can use to decorate your turkey include food items such as cereals and rice, or craft items such as beads and sequins.
  • Make sure you don't glue too many heavy items to your turkey. Even a cardboard turkey will collapse if he is weighed down too heavily.

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