Learn how to make leaf lanterns! DIY Leaf turkey lanterns are a Thanksgiving lantern craft kids can make. Fall leaf luminaries like this turkey leaf craft is a leaf luminary for your fall table decorations made with mason jars and real autumn leaves. Add this gorgeous leaf lantern craft to your mason jar Thanksgiving crafts this fall!
Our family is absolutely in love with how our leaf turkey luminaries turned out. Aren’t they cute?
These sweet fall leaf lanterns look beautiful both lit and unlit and make a fun centerpiece or addition to your DIY Thanksgiving decor. Gobble gobble!
Learn how to make leaf lanterns with mason jars and real fall leaves with the step by step tutorial below.
Related: The Best Fall Nature Crafts
Fall Leaf Luminaries Thanksgiving Lantern Craft
Make this leaf turkey Thanksgiving lantern craft with your children as a fun Thanksgiving craft project the whole family can enjoy together. Your children will be so happy to see their fall leaf luminaries adorn the Thanksgiving table.
Our daughter gets a kick out of seeing the leaf lantern that she made several years ago come out of the Thanksgiving box looking just as amazing as the day she made it. She can’t help but squeal, “My leaf turkey!” every year!
Leaf Lantern Turkey Leaf Craft Materials
This leaf turkey fall leaf luminary is made with mason jars and real fall leaves but you can also use silk leaves.
- Real or silk fall leaves
- Wide mouth mason jars
- Mod Podge with a 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
Related: Turkey Leaf Nature Crafts
How to make Leaf Lanterns: Step by Step Directions for Thanksgiving Lantern Craft
Read through the directions to learn how to make leaf lanterns before starting to make your fall leaf luminary Thanksgiving crafts.
Step 1 – Collect and select leaves to make fall table decorations with mason jars
Play with arranging the leaves on the canning jars and decide how you would like to place the autumn leaves. We used fresh fall leaves, but you can also use preserved fall leaves or silk fall leaves.
Step 2 – Cut the tissue paper strips and parts for each leaf turkey Thanksgiving craft
- Strips of white tissue paper 1 1/2 to 2″ wide and slightly longer than the mason jar you will be using for your leaf lantern.
- A Small triangle out of the orange construction paper to make the turkey beak.
- An amoeba-like shape out of the red construction paper for the turkey wattle.
- Circles of burgundy or brown tissue or construction paper to make a head and the body for the turkey craft. [We traced the top of a tapered shot glass for the body of each turkey, and the bottom of the same shot glass for the head of each turkey.]
Step 3 – Apply Mod Podge to the mason jar lantern
Place your hand inside the mason jar to hold it and use a foam brush to apply Mod Podge to the entire canning jar below the threads. Mod Podge goes on white and dries clear.
Step 4 – Stick the tissue paper strips onto the mason jar Thanksgiving craft
Carefully stick tissue strips onto the mason jar one by one. Place a circle or square of tissue paper on the bottom of the canning jar and wrap the strips around the bottom. You will need to apply Mod Podge on top of the tissue to stick everything down.
Step 5 – Apply Mod Podge on top of the tissue paper on each mason jar luminary
Reapply Mod Podge to the sides and bottom of the canning jar on top of the tissue paper. This will seal the tissue paper and protect it if it gets wet.
Step 6 – Glue one fall leaf onto each leaf lantern craft
Paint Modge Podge onto the underside of each leaf and carefully arrange it onto the mason jar lantern. Position the fall leaf so that it looks like the fan of feathers behind a turkey. Through trial and error, we have learned that these fall leaf luminaries look much better when they are lit if the autumn leaves do not overlap.
Overlapping leaves look beautiful in the daylight but is too dark to see the turkey well when lit by a candle. This is why we recommend using only one leaf per leaf lantern craft.
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 the leaves on each fall leaf luminary
Use a foam brush to apply Mod Podge on top of the leaf and cover it completely.
Step 8 – Stick the turkey parts onto the leaves on top of each leaf lantern Thanksgiving craft
- Place hand inside the 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 the head circle.
- Then place the googly eyes.
- Last place beak and wattle.
- Apply Mod Podge on top of beak and wattle but not the googly eyes.
9. Place turkey leaf luminaries upside down and allow to dry
Related: Fall Leaves Watercolor Art
How to Make Leaf Lanterns: Step by Step DIY Thanksgiving Lantern Craft Photo Tutorial
Fall Leaf Mason Jar Luminaries for Your Thanksgiving Table
Leaf turkey lanterns are a Thanksgiving lantern craft kids can make. DIY Turkey leaf lantern luminaries make a wonderful Thanksgiving decoration and centerpiece for any holiday table.
Add this gorgeous leaf lantern craft to your mason jar Thanksgiving crafts this fall… Make your own fall leaf luminaries today!
For more fall fun be sure to check out our fall bucket list seasonal activity guide! You might also enjoy 20 Thanksgiving traditions and fun things to do on Thanksgiving!
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
If you liked these Mason Jar Thanksgiving Crafts, you may also like:
- Make a Thankful Tree for Thanksgiving
- 40 Thanksgiving Gratitude Activities and Crafts
- Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
- The Best Fall Art Projects for Kids
- 10 Ways to Play Outside with Fall Leaves
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the power of the imagination, learning through play, making this world a greener place to live, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…