Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I”m very excited to get started on the Thanksgiving crafts! I love doing Thanksgiving crafts because it is a great activity you can do with your kids. It lets them enjoy one on one time with you, explore their own style, get in touch with their creativity, and over all; it is just fun. Not to mention making Thanksgiving crafts are about the only way we get Thanksgiving decorations anymore. Everyone seems to always skip Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas. But I love Thanksgiving and we couldn’t pass up the chance to decorate for Thanksgiving with our own Hanging Turkey Hands kids craft.
Gathering Supplies for Thanksgiving Crafts
First things first, we need to go shopping for supplies. To begin you will need:
- Elmer’s Foam board
- Elmer’s Craft fast drying glue
- Elmer’s Craft bond, multi-purpose spray adhesive glue
- an X-acto knife
- various kid craft decorating supplies such as Pom poms, feathers, etc.
- Wiggly Eyes
- braided cording
- Elmer’s Painters
- Mini window suction cups (optional)
DIY Thanksgiving crafts Sign
Once you have all the supplies, you can then begin crafting the Happy Thanksgiving sign. Now here is the tricky part. We are working with Elmer’s Foam board. It is not as simple as taking a pair of sharp scissors and cutting off a section. No, what happens when you do that is it starts to shred. Trust me. I know.
Using a regular knife won’t do the trick either. Neither will a fabric rotary cutter. I’m telling you, I tried them all. (Much to my shame; that I’m even telling you this.) But I don’t want you to not know and end up with the same shredded and worthless scraps of Elmer’s foam board that I ended up with.
The trick is to use an x-acto knife, on top of a cutting mat. And use a ruler for straight edges. You want to cut a section of the Elmer’s foam board that is wide enough that you can then hang one hand for each member of the family beneath it. So obviously; the larger the family, the wider the sign needs to be.
Once you have your sign portioned out; you can then begin decorating it. You can be as elaborate as you would like, or go very simple. I used the Elmer’s Painters to draw “Happy Thanksgiving”. I also used them to trace a few leaves that had fallen in our backyard. Then I glued on some leaves and a feather. Really; this is where your own individual creativity will come into place. The point is to make it your own; with your family’s style.
How to create hanging hands for our #GluenGlitter Thanksgiving crafts
Now with the remaining foam board, you will be tracing each child’s hands and then cutting them out. Trace and cut out extra hands in case they make a mistake while decorating; or in case they simply want to decorate more than just one. But be sure that for the sign, you are using all of the same hands (all Left hand or all Right hand) so that they flow smoothly under the sign.
Again you will need to use an x-acto knife for cutting out the hands. Anything else simply shreds the foam board. The easiest way is to trace all hands and do all the cutting at once. But our kids were trickling in from school, as each one got out of school at a different time this day; so I did their hands as they came home.
Once you have the hands cut out; it is again time to let your imagination run wild and create something that is uniquely you! Have each child decorate their very own hand cut out. Again, this is to let them be creative, try new things and just see what they can come up with. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
We tried using both glues for the decoration process. It turns out; when it comes to getting the feathers and pom poms to stick to the hand turkey, the Elmer’s spray adhesive works much better than the liquid craft glue. It has a stickier base; therefore it will hold the decorations in place a lot faster. Although the “stickiness” of the spray glue stays sticky for hours after it has initially dried. A day later I tested it and the sticky parts on the hands that didn’t get covered with feathers or pom poms is now no longer sticky. So it does eventually dry to a smooth finish. And the glue is holding the decorations in place very well.
Use the Elmer’s single painters and draw a beak, add the wiggly eyes, and then apply the glue onto the fingers and turn the kids lose to decorate.
This craft is simple enough that even our 3 year old toddler can join in the fun. And let me tell you; she had a blast decorating her own turkey hand! And I loved seeing her little ideas as she decorated.
And yet, it is still engaging enough that even my 8 year old had fun. Kids of almost any age would have fun making their own turkey hands; as it lets them express themselves and use their imagination and creativity.
If you have warmer weather; it is a lot better to do some of the work outside. There is a lot less mess when you spray the glue outside. And it doesn’t take much for the kids to then put on the decorations for the feathers; and then you can finish the remainder of the process inside.
You will be amazed at just how different each and every turkey will turn out. Since each kid has their own personality and style; it is natural the turkeys will all be different. T, my 7 year old had quite different turkeys than J. (my 8 year old) had. Two different personalities created two very different turkeys. It is a lot of fun to see the differences.
After we did the initial glue and feathers and pom poms decorations; then I simply showed my kids what other craft items we had available. I said they could add more pompoms to the body of the turkey, or they could use the Elmer’s single painters, or they could just leave it blank. The choice was left up to each kid.
Looking back on it, if I were to do anything different, I think I would have added some glitter and glow in the dark paint to the project. I think that would have added another depth of creativity to the creation of the turkeys. But I will remember for next time.
Now once the turkeys are all finished; you want to make sure that each child’s name is on the hand that will be hanging from the Thanksgiving sign, so you will have that keepsake of the shape and size of their hand at this present age. And don’t forget; Mom and Dad both need to make a hand to hang as well!
Hanging our Thanksgiving Crafts creations
Now that we have all the hand turkeys created and the sign finished, it is time to attach the braiding cord so they can hang. Sure there may be lots of easier ways to do this; but I’m a simple type of person. If there is a way to do it with the materials I already have on hand, that is always the way I opt to go. So using what we already have, I tried a few different methods. What I found to be the easiest is to measure out how much of the cord you want. For the window hand turkeys, you only need enough to make a nice loop above the longest finger. Then fold the cord over and place both ends on the back of the hand turkey.
For the turkeys that will be hanging from the family sign; you will only need one end of the cord on to be attached to the back of the hand turkey.
Then cut a small piece of the left over foam board. Apply a generous amount of the quick dry liquid Elmer’s craft glue to the back. I tried this with both glues; and this is where the craft glue worked much better than the spray adhesive.
Then simply place the small foam board section with glue on top of the cord on the back of the hand. Hold down into place for a minute or two, to ensure a firm bond. Then leave to dry.
For the Thanksgiving crafts hanging Turkey hands sign, you can choose to hang your turkeys in a couple different ways. If your sign is wide enough, then you can measure out the same length of string for each hand, attach it to the back of the hand and then attach the opposite end of the cord to the back of the sign. Evenly space each hand apart from each other. This will ensure that all the hands are the same distance from each other as well as the same distance hanging from the sign.
Or you can be a little more creative and have the hands in differing lengths. This is especially handy if your sign happens to be a little shorter like ours was. So I simply had the smallest hand closest to the sign and had each hand subsequently get longer and longer. You will notice we are missing a special “DAD” turkey. He is still away on his internship, but will be visiting this weekend. It’s already been discussed and he will be creating his own turkey to be added to our family’s hanging turkey sign.
After attaching the braiding cord to both the hanging turkey and the sign. Then you can use the same method for creating a “hanger” for the sign. Cut a small length of the cord that is a little longer than the sign is wide. Attached on end to the top back of the sign, then attach the opposite end the other top back of the sign. You just created a little loop for the sign to now hang from the wall.
Turn your thanksgiving crafts into your own Home decor
Once the glue has had enough time to dry, you can then take your hanging turkey sign and display it in your home. It will make a fun Thanksgiving Home decor, your kids will love seeing their art work displayed so proudly, and your neighbors can even enjoy it when they visit.
For the extra hanging turkeys you and your kids created, simply take the mini suction cups and attach them to the windows then hang the extra turkeys on them.
This is where I think it would have been fun to have added some glow in the dark paint; for the turkeys that are hanging in the windows. Just imagine as it begins to get dark and your window turkeys start to glow!
Begin your own Thanksgiving crafts
There are so many fun things you can do with a little imagination and great craft supplies like Elmer’s foam board, painters, glue and much more! Next time you visit your local Walmart, be sure to pick some up and get your kids involved and start your own Hanging Turkey Hands Thanksgiving sign.