Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and you’ve probably already figured out the wonderful meal you’re going to serve for your family. But while they’re waiting for their food beforehand, how will you dazzle them and capture their attention?

Don’t worry, there are plenty of quick and easy — not to mention wallet-friendly — do-it-yourself solutions that will make your Thanksgiving dinner feel extra special. Here are six to get you started.

Painted Pumpkins

Courtesy of Shelterness

Courtesy of Shelterness

Not all pumpkins are created equally. Some are better for pies, others simply for decoration. But you don’t have to be stuck with orange as your central color scheme! Sometimes even a nice white or cream shade is enough to bring some life back to your décor after all the Halloween black.

Start off with a non-toxic paint and completely cover your pumpkin or gourd. If you’re feeling adventurous, add a simple design such as dots or chevron in a second color. Another great look involves dipping your dried pumpkin in a metallic paint, especially gold or copper. Your glamourous gourds will surely be the talk of the Thanksgiving table.

Family Table Runners

Courtesy of Remodelaholic

Courtesy of Remodelaholic

Using a pretty table runner can really pull a Thanksgiving spread together, but a family-made runner is just a little more special.

Start off with a plain, light-colored table runner or even a length of burlap. You can pass around sharpies between courses and ask your guests to write their names, what they’re thankful for or even trace their hands. If your family has young children, you can have them add their hand prints every year and see how big they’ve grown next Thanksgiving.

Leaf Placeholders

Courtesy of Jacquelyn Clark

Courtesy of Jacquelyn Clark

No need to bag or burn all of those leaves in your lawn. There are a lot of fun DIY decorations in which you can utilize a handful or two. You can easily use them as accents around your centerpieces or in wreathes, but if you find some vibrant leaves that aren’t too brittle, a little more craftwork can really bring the autumn air into your home.

A very simple yet elegant way to seat your Thanksgiving guests is by personalizing fallen leaves with their names written on in either paint or a paint pen. You can also use a Sharpie, though you may find the names are more readable when written with a heavier ink. Need to work on your calligraphy? No problem. If you mess up, it costs nothing to start over on a new leaf.

Thankful Tree

Courtesy of Cheap Is the New Classy

Courtesy of Cheap Is the New Classy

While many have the tradition of discussing what they’re thankful for, having a visual reminder is both longer-lasting and classy. This easy crafty provides a sense of unity amongst the family as well as a perfectly themed decoration that can last year round instead of just during Thanksgiving. Best of all, it takes very little preparation or money to complete.

Start off by placing a few small branches in a vase of your choice. To make it extra-special, you can use an heirloom or gifted vase, which in turn is a sort of thankful gesture in itself. Next, cut out simple leaf designs from sheets of scrapbook paper that fit your theme and color scheme. They will need to be attached to a string before handing out amongst your guests, which can be done either by gluing or taping it to the back, or by using a small hole punch and lacing the string through.

Hand out the leaves and ask your guests to write down what they’re thankful for. Soon you’ll have a tree full of wonderful thoughts that will remind you and your family how lucky they are.

Leaf Silhouette Mason Jars


Courtesy of Jacquelyn Clark

Courtesy of Jacquelyn Clark

While mason jars have started to run through their course of popularity on the wedding front, they’re still right at home through the autumn and fall season. Using them in centerpiece arrangements still looks very classy, and they are easy to find.

But if you’re looking for a way to bring some color and interesting texture to mason jars, look no further. Start by cleaning your jars thoroughly and then — either using as stencil or real leaves — place a leaf flush on the side. You may find it easier to wet the leaf so it sticks a little.

Next, use colored chalkboard paint to cover the entire mason jar and along the edge of the leaf. The chalkboard paint has a lovely matte finish, falling right in line with that old rustic look. From here, you can chose to fill your jars with a few different objects or candles. Consider filling them halfway with beans or seeds and then setting tea lights inside for some added harvest flair.

Leaf Bowl

Courtesy of Consumer Crafts

Courtesy of Consumer Crafts

Making bowls out of found objects such as buttons or paper can create impressive statement pieces that are also functional. This is another one where the main component is free and probably being renewed just outside your front door and has the perfect coloration for your themed decor.

You’ll also need another bowl or a large inflated balloon for the mold. First, cover the bowl with saran wrap. Using Mod Podge, cover the saran warp and carefully flatten the leaves around the edge. Play around with overlapping and thickness to get what you’re looking for. Some like to make dainty fragile bowls while others want something a little sturdier. Just make sure you layer the Mod Podge and leaves on carefully and evenly.


These are just a few easy projects you can get started today that are sure to thrill your guests. Some may even be great for storage and use next year. But hurry — Thanksgiving will be here before you know it. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get crafting!

About the author

Lexie Lu

Hello! My name is Lexie and I have a fervor for design, writing, and coffee. I graduated with a dual major in Creative Writing and Commercial Design, and through those grueling study hours (facilitated by coffee, of course) I always found time to write for myself.

My posts feature design trends throughout all industries and show how the field is always changing. There’s never a dull moment in the design world!

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