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This DIY Thankful Tree is the New Thanksgiving Tradition We Need This Year

This DIY Thankful Tree is the New Thanksgiving Tradition We Need This Year

A wonderful way to display gratitude and give thanks, this DIY thankful tree is a seasonal kid-friendly craft that doubles as a stunning rustic centrepiece for your Thanksgiving table. Start a meaningful new family tradition to celebrate the season and dress up a big bunch of branches or berry stems in a few simple steps.


Originally published October 8, 2020. Updated on September 19, 2022.

Leaves, paper, scissors, twine


Materials Required:       

  • Branches (artificial or real)
  • Leaves (wooden or real)
  • Cardstock paper
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Pen
  • String

Step One: Trace the Leaves

Trace the outline of a few leaves (use different shapes and sizes for visual interest) on colourful cardstock paper. Have fun with a pretty palette of fall colours, muted tones or metallics to match your decor or tablescape.

Related: How to Be a Better Host: The Best Tips for Entertaining Family and Friends

Person tracing leaf


Step Two: Cut Out the Leaves

Using sharp scissors, gently cut out each leaf. Be careful to avoid exposing the outline.

Person cutting a leaf on green piece of paper

Step Three: Punch a Hole in Each One

Use a hole punch to create a tidy hole at the base of each leaf. Tip: if you don’t have a hole punch, you can also attach the leaves to the tree with small clothespins or metal clips.


Person hole punching green leaf

Related: How to Make Your Outdoor Space Bloom With a Simple and Stunning DIY Floral Garland

Step Four: Thread String Through the Holes

Thread ribbon, twine or string through each hole to form a loop. Match the colour of string or ribbon to the colour of the paper or branches for a clean look. Keep the string long or short, depending on how close you want the leaves to be on the branches.

Hand threading string on a paper leaf.

Step Five: Write Messages of Thanks

Write some messages, memories, phrases, words or short poems that inspire you to feel gratitude for the leaves. Young children can also participate with a small drawing, doodle or sticker. If you’re using wooden leaves, you can use a paint pen to write your message directly onto the leaf.



Person writing "friends and family" on a piece of paper.

Step Six: Arrange and Trim Branches

Arrange your branches in a vase with fresh water, decorative rocks or sand. Use a few large branches or berry stems and trim as necessary to fit your space. Keep your arrangement asymmetrical for a cool sculptural look.

Branches in a glass vase with red faux flowers, placed on a white kitchen counter.

Step Seven: Hang the Leaves on the Tree

Carefully hang your leaves on each branch, ensuring even distribution. Enjoy your thankful tree as a centrepiece to adorn your table, kitchen island or mantle. You can then add to it throughout the season or during your Thanksgiving celebration.

Related: Modern Fall Porch Ideas For Instant Curb Appeal

DIY Thanksgiving tree on a kitchen counter.

Images courtesy of Denise Dias

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