Remind your guests and family of the true meaning of Thanksgiving with a DIY thankful tree. Creating and decorating a thankful tree with real natural fall leaves is a gratitude craft and Thanksgiving tradition that kids and adults can enjoy.
Here’s one of the best Thanksgiving decorations–learn how to make a thankful tree with natural fresh fall leaves to decorate your home, office, or classroom this November. Invite family, friends, co-workers, and students to write what they are most thankful for onto preserved fall leaves and then use the autumn leaves with words of gratitude to decorate bare branches to make this gorgeous DIY gratitude tree. Scroll down to learn the details needed to make and decorate a natural rustic DIY thankful tree for Thanksgiving. Or, look at this list for even more ideas–>Thankful Tree Ideas.
DIY Thankful Tree for Thanksgiving with Real Fresh Fallen or Preserved Autumn Leaves
There are many ways to make and decorate a Thanksgiving thankful tree to cultivate gratitude during the holiday season. Creating this simple craft for your home, classroom, or office is a fun Thanksgiving activity everyone can enjoy.
Use your thankful tree as a Thanksgiving advent to countdown to Turkey Day or as an interactive Thanksgiving centerpiece that guests can decorate while waiting for Thanksgiving dinner.
Thankful trees made with real leaves make a great holiday decor piece. Not only are they a festive decoration, but they also make a naturally gorgeous piece of rustic DIY fall home decor that looks as amazing as a centerpiece as it does on a side table or a nature table.
Or, grab this printable thankful tree craft with colorful gratitude leaves for another wonderful way to make this easy Thanksgiving craft.
Learn more about Thanksgiving thankful trees and how to make and use this gratitude activity to bring thankfulness back to your dinner table here–>Thankful Tree Ideas. You might also enjoy this list of Thanksgiving gratitude crafts and activities.
Thanksgiving Thankful Tree Craft Supplies
- Sand and/or pebbles
- Bare branches [We used fallen branches from the oak tree in our backyard. Go on a nature hunt to find bare branches and sticks to make a thankful tree, or purchase birch twig branches, lighted branches, or a small lighted tabletop tree.
- We used several different kinds of real preserved fall leaves. You can also use paper leaves, clay gratitude leaves, or fabric leaves.
- Autumn-colored pom-poms (We picked the warm fall colors from THIS pack)
- Glue gun with glue sticks or glue dots if kids are helping!
- Brown, fall washi tape, or wood grain washi tape
- Extra fine-tip paint pens (we also use these paint pens to make painted rocks, color wooden beads, and decorate Easter Eggs!)
How to Make a Thankful Tree with Real Fall Leaves: Step-by-Step Tutorial
The step-by-step photo tutorial for this natural gratitude tree craft for Thanksgiving can be found below the written step-by-step directions.
1. Arrange bare branches.
- Use a ready-made tree or arrange bare branches in a vase to form the base of the DIY thankful tree.
2. Add sand and/or pebbles to the vase.
- Pour sand and/or pebbles into the vase around the bare branches to add weight to ensure that the vase and Thanksgiving tree remain upright.
3. Glue pom poms to the branches of the thankful tree to add a pop of autumn colors (optional).
- Use a glue gun or dots to attach pom poms onto the Thanksgiving tree branches.
- This step is optional. If you do not want to add pom poms to your gratitude tree, move on to the next step.
- Little ones love helping with this optional addition for Easter Egg Trees and Thanksgiving thankful trees. I put glue dots onto the bare branches of the gratitude tree with a glue gun while my daughter carefully stuck pom-poms in warm autumn colors into the glue to attach them to the tree. Another safer alternative available today is glue dots.
- Supervision is required for this craft-making step if you are using a glue gun. Make sure you teach your children how to safely use it–and how to use caution when working with hot glue if you choose this option. Glue guns are hot and dangerous tools, and the glue is hot enough to burn little hands if safety precautions are not properly taken.
4. Place a bowl filled with preserved fall leaves near the Thanksgiving tree.
- Place a bowl of preserved autumn leaves, paint pens, and a roll of wood grain washi tape near the Thanksgiving gratitude tree.
5. Write what you are grateful for on leaves and decorate the gratitude tree.
- First, invite your friends and family to use a paint pen to write what they are most thankful or grateful for on preserved autumn leaves.
- Next, use washi tape to attach each thankful fall leaf to the tree to decorate it.
- If your child is not writing yet, ask them what they are thankful for and write it on a leaf. Then, invite them to decorate their thankful leaf with doodles, dots, and fun designs. Next, invite the kids to attach their thankful leaves to the tree’s bare branches.
- Invite family, friends, co-workers, and students to write what they feel most thankful for on a leaf each day as a fun way to count down to Thanksgiving, or set it up to decorate with your guests before inviting them to sit down to eat on Thanksgiving day.
Update: The “THANKFUL” leaf shown here was preserved for over a year when the photograph above was taken. When I pulled it from our leaf box, I was surprised that it was still vibrant red! Learn how we preserved this leaf–>HERE.
Thankful Tree DIY Photo Tutorial
The step-by-step directions for this Thanksgiving DIY project are written in the section above, and the photo tutorial is directly below.
Alternatively, make marbled clay gratitude leaves to decorate your Thanksgiving tree, or use this printable thankful tree craft for Thanksgiving. Learn more about how to make and use a tree for Thanksgiving–and look at a few more gorgeous DIY thankful trees on this list of thankful tree ideas!
Related: Top 10 Fall Nature Crafts
Rustic Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree with Preserved Leaves
Remind your guests and family of the true meaning of Thanksgiving by making a DIY thankful tree with real fall leaves this year. This natural tree also makes lovely rustic DIY fall home decor.
Making and decorating a Thanksgiving tree with autumn leaves is a gratitude craft, and thanksgiving activity kids and adults can enjoy creating together.
Writing down what we are thankful for onto leaves and decorating a thankful tree for Thanksgiving is a fantastic opportunity to discuss the concept of gratitude with your child.
Check out THIS list for more gorgeous thankful tree ideas.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
Click on the link to learn how to make the sweet little turkey leaf lanterns on the table.
More Thanksgiving Ideas
- 40 Thanksgiving Gratitude Activities and Crafts
- Thankful Tree Printable with Gratitude Leaves
- Thanksgiving Turkey Leaf Crafts
- Thanksgiving Thankful Tree Tradition
- Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
- Thanksgiving Traditions and Fun Things to Do