When you have turkeys to roast and potatoes to mash, Thanksgiving decor can feel like an afterthought. But as these easy paper crafts prove, you don't need fancy materials to make beautiful holiday decor. Supplies like crepe paper streamers and scrapbook paper are inexpensive, while items like toilet paper tubes and kraft paper are basically free!
Our fun Turkey Day decor tutorial features three DIY paper projects: turkey crackers (think Christmas crackers but with a Thanksgiving twist), surprise balls designed to look like beloved autumn pies and a Thanksgiving garland made with paper forks. The crackers and surprise balls are especially fun and interactive, as they're meant to be opened to reveal candies, tiny toys and other delightful prizes.
Whether you're seeking budget-friendly table decor, hosting Friendsgiving or searching for ways to make memories on Thanksgiving Day, these festive crafts are sure to be a hit.
Video: Pie Surprise Balls, Party Crackers & More Thanksgiving Paper Crafts
1. Thanksgiving Turkey Crackers
Things You'll Need
Toilet paper tubes
Kraft paper (7 in. by 12 in.)
Double-sided tape (optional)
Brown, yellow, orange and red crepe paper streamers
Candies, small toys and other prizes
Christmas crackers traditionally include a tissue paper crown, a joke or riddle and small toys. However, you’re welcome to use any type of goodies for your crackers! We chose hair accessories, jewelry, stickers and toys in addition to various sweets.
1. Prepare paper tube
Insert cracker snap through tube. Try your best to center snap so there's an equal amount of material on each side.
Using a small piece of clear tape, attach snap to inside of tube.
Toilet paper tubes are perfect for crackers, but they’re not your only option. You can also cut a paper towel tube into three equal-size pieces. Some craft stores sell paper tubes for crafting.
2. Wrap paper tube
Cut brown, yellow, orange and red crepe paper streamers into strips measuring 3 in. long. This will make up turkey's feathers.
Add two strips of double-sided tape to short edge of kraft paper. Attach a row of crepe paper strips, making sure to mix up order of colors. Add more double-sided tape on top and repeat to create another layer; this will give "feathers" more body.
You can also attach strips using regular clear tape, as this side of paper won't be visible.
Place paper tube on inside of paper along long side, making sure to center it. Tape down.
Roll tube so kraft paper wraps around it. Tape to secure.
3. Fill cracker
At the top end (with the crepe paper), bunch kraft paper together just above tube. Tie with ribbon to secure; a loose double knot works great.
Fill cracker through other end.
Gather remaining kraft paper and tie with ribbon.
4. Decorate cracker
Using double-sided tape, add two red paper teardrops for turkey's neck. (You can also use a glue stick.) Next, add a yellow paper triangle for beak. Draw two eyes with a black marker.
Cut out two scalloped shell-like shapes from kraft paper. These will be the wings.
Tape one wing to each side of cracker. So cute!
2. Pie Surprise Balls
Things You'll Need
Orange, red and brown crepe paper streamers
Beige rick-rack trim
Hot glue gun
Examples of flat prizes include stickers, patches, shaped paper clips, chocolate coins, confetti, charms, mini nail files and hair ties.
1. Roll crepe paper
To make a surprise ball shaped like a pie, you'll essentially need to unroll a crepe paper streamer and then roll it back up while adding items.
Start by rolling streamer. This will create a round center.
Despite their name, these pie surprise balls aren’t shaped like balls. That being said, be sure to roll crepe paper in the same way it was packaged—i.e., into a flat disc. To maintain this shape, avoid wrapping paper around the disc during this step and only use flat items.
Keep rolling crepe paper streamer, occasionally adding items.
Once roll has reached ideal size, cut paper and tape down end. The roll won't be a perfect circle, but that's OK! The following step will clean it up.
Tape a long strip of crepe paper streamer to side of roll.
Wrap paper around entire roll, gently pulling it taut. This will help shape "pie."
Tape end to secure.
2. Decorate pie
To make a lattice crust, cut four strips of brown crepe paper streamer. You can also use tissue paper.
Place strips across top of pie, creating a grid pattern. Tape down ends on sides.
Tape another long strip of crepe paper to side of pie but in same direction as roll. Use same color as pie's "filling."
Wrap paper around pie. Again, gently pull it taut to mold circular shape. Tape down end to secure.
3. Glue rick rack
Using hot glue, attach a strand of beige rick-rack around perimeter of pie. This will be crust.
Repeat with other colors to make different pie flavors. For example, to make a pumpkin pie, skip lattice crust and add a white pompom for "whipped cream."
Fall colors like orange, red and brown are perfect for Thanksgiving pie surprise balls. However, you can easily switch up the theme by using different colors! For example, to serve them at a baby shower, try using pastel colors. Come Halloween, make them eerie by using colors like orange, purple, green and black. This is a great option if you’re looking for Halloween decor that doubles as party favors.
Pie surprise balls will be right at home on your Thanksgiving table! Try displaying them on a serving tray or if you want to turn them into place cards, add tags with guests' names and place them on plates.
3. Paper Fork Garland
Things You'll Need
Brown, orange and yellow card stock
Twine, ribbon or rope
Hot glue gun
We used classic autumn harvest colors for our garland. Feel free to use card stock in the colors of your choice.
1. Prepare paper
Using a pencil, trace fork onto card stock. Don't trace tines.
Cut out card stock shapes, making sure to cut straight across top of each fork.
2. Cut tines
Draw four lines atop paper fork. Try your best to draw them at even intervals.
Cut along each line. Then, fold down strips next to first and last tines.
Cut away both folded strips. Repeat with remaining card stock.
3. Make garland
Cut a long strand of twine. You can also use ribbon or rope. Hot glue paper forks to twine. And just like that, you have a food-themed fall garland!
Display garland decor across table alongside turkey crackers and pie surprise balls. After the festivities have come and gone (or if you want to keep paper forks in good shape), use garland as quirky home decor and hang it on your fireplace mantel.
How to Customize Your Thanksgiving Garland
If you love the idea of a paper fork garland but want to take it up a notch, try these creative ideas:
- Add a tissue paper tassel between each fork to make a tassel garland.
- For a classic bunting look, hot glue paper triangles between forks.
- Emphasize the fall decor look by adding paper autumn leaves to the garland.
- Want to switch up the textures? Pair paper forks with felt leaves instead.
Here's to a very crafty turkey day celebration!