Creating and decorating a DIY thankful tree with marbled clay gratitude leaves is a Thanksgiving craft that kids and adults can make together. (First published November 5, 2017; this post is updated and republished to improve the content.)
The instructions below will show you how to make a thankful tree with bare branches and clay gratitude leaves to remind family, friends, or students of the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Gratitude brings abundance. When we are grateful for what we have, we will get more of what we are thankful for. Learn more about the Thanksgiving tree tradition and gather ideas HERE–>Thankful tree ideas. You might also enjoy this giant list of Thanksgiving gratitude activities and crafts.
How to Make a Thanksgiving Thankful Tree with Clay Gratitude Leaves
Creating a DIY thankful tree is a Thanksgiving tradition the whole family can enjoy. You might also enjoy this list of Thanksgiving traditions and fun ways to give thanks this holiday season. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude in your home or classroom with a bare branch tree that your family or students can decorate with hand-stamped or hand-written marbled clay gratitude leaves.
First, teach your children about thankfulness with these fun gratitude activities and crafts for kids. Or download this Thankful Turkey Printable or the “I Am Grateful” gratitude journal printable to get them thinking about each of the blessings in their lives.
Next, make marbled clay leaves into hand-stamped gratitude leaves before baking. Or, invite family and friends to use a paint pen or permanent marker to write words of gratitude onto the clay thankful leaves once they have baked and cooled. Scroll down to see the complete step-by-step DIY project tutorial posted after the craft supply list. Or use the same marbled clay autumn leaves to make this gorgeous gratitude mobile.
A gratitude tree makes lovely fall home decor and is a gorgeous centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table. Use the step-by-step DIY gratitude tree tutorial below to make your own! You might also enjoy this thankful tree printable craft with colorful gratitude leaves. It also has a thankful tree for the kids to color.
DIY Thankful Tree Craft Supplies:
Please read the step-by-step project directions in the next section before gathering craft supplies to make a more informed choice.
- Crystal or ceramic vase
- Sand and/or pebbles
- Bare branches:
- Garden sheers (optional)
- Pom-poms (optional)
- Make clay gratitude leaves, or use paper leaves or preserved leaves.
- Yarn or twine
Thanksgiving Thankful Tree Craft Step-by-Step Directions
Read the step-by-step instructions below before making a DIY gratitude tree to help you choose the Thanksgiving tree supplies you will use and know what to expect when making a gratitude tree. You may also want to start this thankful craft by making and baking the clay gratitude leaves before putting together a thankful tree with the DIY project tutorial below. Learn more about the thankful tree tradition and gather more ideas to make your own–>HERE.
1. Gather twigs, sticks, tree limbs, bare branches, or buy a small tree.
- Collect twigs, sticks, tree limbs, and bare branches approximately three to six feet long, or purchase a small tree or one of the other options recommended in the DIY thankful tree craft supply list above.
2. Trim and paint bare branches white (optional)
- Skip this step if you use a small twig tree instead of bare branches to make your gratitude tree.
- Use garden sheers or pruners to trim twigs, bare branches, or tree limbs to the desired length (optional).
- Paint bare branches white (optional).
3. Arrange branches in a vase or set up a twig tree.
- Arrange bare branches, birch twigs, or decorative lighted tree limbs in a vase. Or set up this cute little lighted tree instead.
- If using twigs and bare branches, pour pebbles and/or sand around them to add weight to the vase so that it stands upright.
4. Decorate bare limbs with pom-poms (optional).
- Use glue dots or a glue gun with glue sticks to stick pom poms on the tree.
- This step is optional. Look at this Thanksgiving tree with pom poms to see how pretty they look on bare branches.
5. Make hangers for gratitude leaf ornaments.
- Cut yarn, twine, or fishing string into four to eight-inch sections.
- Thread a section of yarn, twine, or string through the hole of each clay gratitude leaf ornament to make the hangers.
6. Make or purchase gratitude leaves for your Thanksgiving tree.
- First, make marbled clay gratitude leaves to decorate the limbs of the DIY thankful tree.
- Either stamp words of thanks onto them before baking or use a paint pen or permanent marker to write your grateful thoughts onto them once they are baked and cooled.
- Alternatively, you can use preserved fall leaves, paper leaves, or wood slice ornaments.
7. Use the thankful leaf ornaments to decorate the tree.
- Put a basket of clay or paper leaf ornaments next to the gratitude tree.
- Or, hang them on the Thanksgiving tree with friends, family, or students all at once in the same way one trims a Christmas tree.
- If the leaves are not pre-stamped with words of gratitude, invite everyone to write what they are thankful for on each leaf before hanging it on the thankful tree.
- Learn more about the thankful tree tradition and gather more ideas–>HERE.
Related: Turkey Leaf Lanterns
Thanksgiving Thankful Tree Tradition
Creating and decorating a thankful tree is a Thanksgiving tradition that can help cultivate gratitude during the holidays. Or, use paper or clay fall leaves with words of thankfulness to make a DIY gratitude mobile.
Another great way to teach kids about the true meaning of Thanksgiving is to read gratitude books that inspire thankfulness with your children. For even more fall fun, you might enjoy these fun fall activities and ideas with a printable bucket list to keep kids busy learning through play all season.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
More Fun Ideas
- Thankful Tree Printable
- Simple DIY Butterfly Centerpiece
- How to Make an Easter Tree
- Christmas Ornaments Kids Can Make
- Healthy Homemade Pumpkin Cranberry Bread