I am in love with how these turkey leaf lanterns turned out! Aren’t they cute? They are made with real fall leaves, but you can also use silk!
These luminaries look wonderful both lit and unlit and make a wonderful centerpiece or addition to any holiday table.
Most of what you need for this autumn nature craft can be found outside or in your recycle bin. We found some leaves on our daily walks and reused some canning jars and tissue paper to make these.
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Turkey Leaf Lanterns Thanksgiving Craft
Turkey Leaf Lanterns Materials
- Real or Silk Fall Leaves
- Wide Mouth Upcycled or Canning Jars
- Mod Podge
- Foam Brush
- White tissue paper
- Burgundy or brown tissue paper (can also use construction paper)
- Orange and red construction paper
- Googly Eyes
- Tea lights or flameless tea lights
Turkey Leaf Lanterns Directions
Step 1 – Cut Tissue paper strips and Parts for Turkeys
- Cut strips of white tissue paper 1 1/2 to 2″ wide and slightly longer than the jar you will be using.
- Cut a small triangle out of the orange construction paper for the turkey beak.
- Cut out an amoeba-like shape out of the red construction paper for the turkey wattle.
- Cut out circles of burgundy or brown tissue or construction paper for the head and bodies of the turkey. [I traced the top of a tapered shot glass for the bodies of the turkeys, and the bottom of the shot glass for the heads.]
Step 2 – Select Leaves to Use
Play with arranging the leaves on the canning jars and decide how you would like to place them. [We used real fresh fall leaves, but you can also use preserved fall leaves or silk fall leaves.]
Step 3 – Apply Mod Podge to Jar
Place your hand inside the jar to hold it and use a foam brush to apply Mod Podge to the entire jar below the threads. Mod Podge goes on white and dries clear.
Step 4 – Stick Tissue Paper Strips on Jar
Carefully stick tissue strips one by one onto the jar. Place a circle or square of tissue paper on the bottom of the jar and wrap strips around the bottom. You will need to apply Mod Podge on top of the tissue on the bottom to stick everything down.
Step 5 – Apply Mod Podge on Top of Tissue Paper
Reapply Mod Podge to sides and bottom on top of the tissue paper. This will seal and protect it.
Step 6 – Apply Leaves on Jar
Modge Podge the underside of the leaf(s) and carefully arrange them onto the jar. I have learned that they look much better when lit if the leaves do not overlap too much. [The leaves in the picture on the bottom right are overlapped too much. It looks beautiful in the daylight but is too dark to see the turkey well when lit.]
You can move them around a bit once stuck before they dry, but be careful not to disturb the tissue paper. Smooth out any air bubbles by gently rubbing the leaf(s) from the center out.
Step 7 – Carefully Apply Mod Podge on Top of Leaves
Step 8 – Stick Turkey Parts on Leaves and Jar
- Place hand inside jar to hold it.
- First place body circle.
- Apply Mod Podge on top of body circle.
- Next place head circle.
- Apply Mod Podge on top of head circle.
- Then place googly eyes.
- Last place beak and wattle.
- Apply Mod Podge on top of beak and wattle but not googly eyes.
Step 9 – Place Upside down and Allow to Dry
These DIY turkey leaf lanterns are made with real fall leaves, but you can use silk leaves too. The tutorial makes this autumn nature craft easy for both kids and adults. They make a wonderful Thanksgiving decoration and centerpiece for any holiday table. Make your own today!
If you liked turkey leaf lanterns, you may also like:
- Make a Thankful Tree for Thanksgiving
- 40 Thanksgiving Gratitude Activities and Crafts
- Homemade Pumpkin Puree
- Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
- Lessons in Thankfulness: Year Round Gratitude Activities for Kids
- Gratitude Books for Kids That Inspire Thankfulness