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Thanksgiving on a Budget: Decorations from Paper

Guest Post by Monica from The Homespun Heart

Paper is one of my favorite crafting supplies because it is inexpensive and the variety available creates endless possibilities! Here are some ideas to jump start your Thanksgiving table decorating this year:

Turkey coloring books

::Turkey coloring books::
Details on how to make these are here. All you do is print the template, cut it out, and glue together! Bring this idea
to the grown-up table by placing one at each plate. Provide pens or
pencils to jot notes of thankfulness to each other!

Silhouette tablecloth

Image from Martha Stewart Living

::Silhouette Table cloth::
Instructions for making this are here. I
haven't made mine yet as I'm not sure how to store it until
Thanksgiving–but I will have my silhouettes all cut out and ready to
go for my littles table!

Bring the silhouette idea to the
grown-up table by creating napkin rings, decorations and place cards
(take it a step further by creating silhouettes of your guests!):

Silhouette napkin rings

::Silhouette Napkin Rings::
the templates provided in the silhouette tablecloth link above to make these. Glue to a piece
of cardstock and staple at the back. Slide over your napkin!

Silhouette jar

::Silhouette Place cards/table decor::
Hot glue a length of ribbon around a canning jar and glue silhouette onto ribbon.

Silhouette on stick

Or, glue silhouette to a stick (from your yard!) and insert into a small jar or votive holder filled with unpopped popcorn.

Silhouettes on table runner

varying heights with jars, upside down sundae dishes, juice glasses,
or anything that is clear or coordinates with what you want to use! You
could also opt to put one of these at each place for name cards!

could also have a little stack of these silhouettes cut out with holes
punched in the top and string tied on. Provide chalk for guests to
write things they are thankful for and hang on a branch from your yard
to create a Thankful Tree!

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::Turkey Trivia Place Cards::

Details on how to make these fun little turkey quiz decorations are here. Find some interesting turkey facts here and here.

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::Napkin Rings (inspired by Country Living November 2006)::

To make these, cut a small piece of cardstock and decorate with rubber stamps, stickers, or just write a short message. Punch a small hole in each end of the cardstock. Pull
a ribbon through one end, and then through the other. Tip: if you cut
the ends of the ribbon in a diagonal, they will be much easier to get
through the small holes.

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::Favor Tags::

Make up little bags of some kind of treat and add a festive nametag and bow. I
used these for place cards one year and then let them become the favor for guests to take home as well. By the way, this would be a great opportunity to use some of those sugared pumpkin

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::"Thankful For You" breakfast::

few years ago I started a new Thanksgiving tradition. It is intended to
be a practical way of showing thanks to someone who has been a blessing
to our family over the past year. I prepare an extra batch of our
Thanksgiving breakfast and pack it up festively to deliver to the
recipient. I like the expression of doing something visible to say "thank you" to one of the many people who encourage us throughout the

I make little tags for each item naming what it is and if
there are any specific heating instructions. Then you can package
pancakes and sausage wrapped in waxed paper and tied with twine. Canning
jars make great containers for syrup and nuts. Put them all in a pretty
gift bag and deliver!

Our traditional Thanksgiving breakfast is:

Pumpkin Pancakes (cooked in a maple leaf shaped pancake mold)
Brown & Serve Sausage
Homemade Maple Syrup & Chopped nuts to top pancakes

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Pumpkin Pancake Recipe from Martha Stewart Living

1 1/4 c. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. each cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg and a pinch of ground cloves (I use pumpkin pie spice)

1 egg
6 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1 c. milk

wet ingredients into dry ingredients.Heat a buttered skillet over
medium heat; pour in 1/4 c. batter for each pancake. Cook about three
minutes per side; serve with butter and syrup. Makes about 10 leaf
shaped pancakes.

Maple Syrup:

Combine in saucepan:
1 3/4 c. white sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. water

Bring to a boil, cover, and cook one minute. Cool slightly.

1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. maple flavoring

saucepan for a few minutes as syrup cooks to melt down crystals; helps
prevent syrup from crystallizing later in storage. From the More With
Less Cookbook

::ABC's of Thanks::
My Mom started this tradition
when we were growing up and I have continued it in our home. Print this

template, cut the columns apart, and tape together in one continuous line.
Mount on your wall and enjoy giving thanks for God's many blessings!

And here are a couple of other ideas I haven't made before, but think are full of possibility:
Paper Turkeys
Mayflower Centerpiece

Have you made any Thanksgiving decorations with paper? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Monica enjoys blogging about the simple pleasures of faith, family and home over at The Homespun Heart.


Note from Crystal: If you happened to miss Monica's previous guest post with lots of fun ideas to do with pumpkins, you'll want to check it out here. There's likely something there you could also incorporate into your Thanksgiving menu or decor ideas. Also, don't forget to check out Monica's brand-new online boutique, The Rusty Robin.

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  • Heather says:

    Thank you for the wonderful ideas!!!! Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday! I especially liked the un-popped popcorn as a stabilizer in a jar… so many possibilities with this one! I think I will make some napkin rings with my kids. The ABC’s of thanks is GREAT!

    One thing that we have done several times is make a “Thanksgiving Tree”: I use a long length of brown craft paper and draw a bare tree on it. Then I cut out leaves from colored paper. Every night at supper we then each write something we are thankful for on a leaf and tape it to the tree (or on the “ground” under the tree). By the time thanksgiving comes we have a tree full of thanks. On Thanksgiving we each read things off the tree.

    Thank you again for this series!

  • Lisa says:

    I can’t seem to find the link for the silhouette tablecloth – help! I love it and want to do it. Thanks!

    Money Saving Mom here: Oops, sorry about that, Lisa! The links were incorrect. I’ve fixed them now. Let me know if for some reason they don’t work for you still.

  • Mary in Mn says:

    Hi Crystal,

    Just a quick question… I am very uncrafty (to say the least!). But I LOVE the stamps you used on your tags. I do love to make up tags and such…. but what brand of stamps are those? Can I just buy those at a Michael’s? And what type of ink would I use? Thanks for letting me know. Take care and thanks for all the Thanksgiving posts, they’re great!

  • Monica,
    What a lovely collection of charmingly frugal ideas! I am a huge fan of Homespun Hearts and always love to see your ideas and read your good thoughts.
    P.S. Loved the post on your blog regarding charity.

  • Joelle says:

    These are such cool ideas. When I lived at home, my mom usually had a “litany” or “responsive reading” that she wrote about the blessings from the year. She printed them of into little “booklets” (usually she uses colored paper) and then we glued 5 kernels of dried corn to the front of the little booklets – as a tradition of the Pilgrims who at some point only got 5 kernels of corn. It reminds us to be thankful! After Thanksgiving dinner, we usually had our guests go around and sign each other’s booklets with their appreciation for each other. Makes a nice keepsake from year to year!

  • Monica says:

    Hi Mary in MN: I bought those stamps at a Stampin’ Up party – they were part of a Country Living promotion last year. However, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, AC Moore and even thrift stores are great sources for stamps!

  • Monica says:

    Hi Mary – I just reread your question about the ink. You should be fine with any ink sold near the stamps at a craft supply store. I would go with colors you like or that will show up on the paper you’re going to use.

  • Brandi says:

    Thank you, Monica and Crystal for some great ideas! I’m looking forward to doing some of these with my kids!


  • LANA says:

    Great post, thank you! The table cloth idea is similar to the one we use on Earth Day. On April 22nd (Earth Day), we put a roll of brown craft paper on the table and decorate it with pictures of nature and color it in. We then enjoy lots of veggies and Earth Day cake!

  • jennifer says:

    My kids and I do a lot of our own decorating crafts, check them out on my blog,

    Thanks for all your great ideas, we will have to try some your too.

  • clarice says:

    So many great ideas. Perfect for my black and red Thanksgiving. Thank you Clarice

  • Rose says:

    This are all wonderful ideas! Since we will be traveling this year (for the first time!) I won’t have “charge” over the table, but I’m definately going to make the turkey coloring books for the kiddos and put some treat bags together – thanks sooo much for the ideas!

  • Chrissy says:

    I love the tablecloth idea. I have been wanting to do something special for my table and this just might be it. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful ideas.

  • DiaryofADINK says:

    Thank you Monica. I love the idea of sharing a “thankful” breakfast with a special family in our lives each year!

  • Cidny says:

    What wonderful ideas. I’m excited to start making things this week!

  • Joy says:

    I loved the ideas but had a computer question. When I go to Martha Stuart and click on the template link I get a blank page with a icon in the bottom left corner of the screen, above the start button. The icon is a page with a yellow triangle with an exclamation point in it. I’ve had this happen a few times with different things. Does anyone know what I need to download to see these type of pages? Thanks, Joy.

  • Monica says:

    Hi Joy – My first guess is that your computer needs an updated version of Adobe Acrobat. Most of her templates are uploaded as PDF files. Adobe Reader is usually a free download that you can find by simply doing a Google search for “free Adobe Reader download” If that doesn’t help – I wonder if perhaps there is a security setting on your computer which is blocking you from viewing the pages? After that, I might just try a different computer and see if that works easier.

  • Monica says:

    Hi Joy – My first guess is that your computer needs an updated version of Adobe Acrobat. Most of her templates are uploaded as PDF files. Adobe Reader is usually a free download that you can find by simply doing a Google search for “free Adobe Reader download” If that doesn’t help – I wonder if perhaps there is a security setting on your computer which is blocking you from viewing the pages? After that, I might just try a different computer and see if that works easier.

  • Joy says:

    Thank you Monica! I did discovery that I was missing the updated Adobe Acrobat (the day after Thanksgiving!). I might print them out to save for next year though. I loved the ideas. Joy

  • Anjanette says:

    Thanks so much for showing us those silhouettes!! I used them to make thanksgiving trivia flash cards for the kids at our dinner to quiz the adults with and they loved them!!

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