Construction paper is the crafting material of choice when it comes to kids' crafts for cool-weather holidays such as Thanksgiving. Colorful autumn hues are ideal for DIY turkey feathers to use for virtually any Thanksgiving craft, such as cute construction paper turkeys or turkey feather garlands. Construction paper turkey feathers can be simple shapes for the youngest children or made a little more realistic, at least shape-wise, for older crafty kids and adults.
Choosing Construction Paper and Supplies
While actual turkey tail feathers are shades of brown, white, black and tan, construction paper feathers may be just about any color.
1. Look for paper in autumn colors
Look for packs of construction paper full of fall colors. Any pack containing orange, yellow, red and brown is perfect for this Thanksgiving craft, but feel free to use additional colors found in the construction paper package.
2. Make sure every child has supplies
If you're helping several children with this fun turkey craft, make sure each has their own craft supplies so none of them has to wait their turn. Scissors, glue and construction paper should be available for each person.
3. Let youngsters use a traceable template
If working with young children, a free printable turkey feather template is also a good idea so the kiddos can trace the feathers onto the paper.
Making a Turkey Feather Pattern
1. Study images of turkey tail feathers
Real turkey tail feathers are somewhat flat on the end, a bit like an artist's flat paintbrush, and shaped like an elongated, rounded cone or triangle. Study actual turkey tail feather images if you wish to make them a realistic shape; otherwise, draw something similar to an eye shape on card stock and use that for the craft template.
2. Download a turkey body and head template (optional)
Feel free to download a turkey template to use as the turkey body with its head, or simply make your own if the fun craft involves creating a full Thanksgiving turkey out of paper.
3. Give a feather template to each kid
In most cases, the turkey feathers in a DIY paper turkey are the same size. Cut out one card stock feather template for each craft participant. If you're making loop-style turkey feathers instead of feathers laid flat on the project surface, no template is necessary, unless you feel the kids might need help cutting straight strips of a uniform thickness.
Creating the Turkey Feathers
1. Trace and cut out feathers
Trace the turkey feather pattern numerous times on three or four colors of construction paper, then cut the feathers out. Depending on the size and style of the turkey craft, you'll need about five of each color of construction paper feather.
2. Arrange the feathers
Arrange the feathers in a way that looks nice to you, but with the colors alternating, such as red, orange, yellow, brown, repeated in the same order. There is no right or wrong way to do it; it's just a matter of what looks nice to you.
3. Make some loop-style feathers
For loop-style feathers, cut each sheet of construction paper into uniform strips from the bottom to the top, with the paper in landscape orientation. Strips 1 inch wide work well. Make stacks of strips with about five strips in each pile, with the colors alternating.
4. Make and staple the loops
Slide the ends so each strip sticks out about an inch from the one above it, then bend all of them over together to make a teardrop-shaped loop. Manipulate the strips a bit to ensure there's space between each strip in the loop near the wide part of the loop, then staple them all together at the narrow end.
5. Arrange loops into a tail design
Arrange all of the loops next to one another so the narrow, stapled side is down, with the paper sitting perpendicular to the table so you can see through the loops. This creates the fan turkey tail effect.
6. Glue any feather style to back of a paper turkey (optional)
For these feathers, or the traditional flat paper turkey feathers, glue the feathers in this fan shape to the back of a construction paper turkey body, if desired. Decorate the front of the turkey body with crayons or by gluing construction paper eyes and beak in place.
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