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.
- Branches (artificial or real)
- Leaves (wooden or real)
- Cardstock paper
- Hole punch
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.
Step Two: Cut Out the Leaves
Using sharp scissors, gently cut out each leaf. Be careful to avoid exposing the outline.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Images courtesy of Denise Dias