(Published on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 in The Daily Citizen, Dalton, GA.)
Recycle & Reuse: Quick Upcycled Thanksgiving Decor
We’re just one week away from Thanksgiving! Between planning a meal and inviting guests to your home you’ve probably been very busy. Thankfully you still have time to add a little bit of upcycled, reused, natural, re-imagined décor to your dining room table and home. Here are a few ideas I’ve come across over the last few weeks. All of these can be made with things you have in or around your home.
• Fall Wreath: Greet visitors at the door with a beautiful fall wreath made a collection of pinecones, leaves, acorns, and berries. Use a wire hanger shaped in a circle, or cut a circular shape from a section of a cardboard box. Use a hot glue gun to hold it all together.
• Natural Centerpiece: Gather pinecones, acorns, small pebbles, and large multi colored leaves from your yard and place them in a clear glass bowl or a ceramic dish. Small gourds or a small pumpkin added to the middle will make for a beautiful, natural, and eco-friendly focal point at the dinner table. Make this centerpiece interactive by cutting out leaf shapes from construction paper, or scrap paper from your recycling bin. Have family members write one thing they’re thankful for on a leaf and add it to the collection for everyone to share after dinner.
• Pinecone Turkey: Bring pinecones, leaves, and berries together to make unique turkeys to decorate your table. Start by rinsing off the items gathered from the outdoors. Cut out a round shape from a leaf to make the turkey’s head, then a small triangle for the beak. Add berry eyes and a small leaf for the wattle. Use the larger leaves to make a fan of feathers for the tail. Glue, tape or hot glue to a medium to large pinecone. Make sure to lay the cone horizontally. Display the turkey as is or add a small nameplate for each guest.
• Thankful Tree: Make a tree trunk with a paperboard tube from the middle of a roll of paper towels. Cut leaf shapes out of scrap paper collected from the recycling bin. Have family members write on each leaf something they’re thankful for and glue or tape it to the tree. Use the tree as a centerpiece or as décor in another area of the home.
• Thankful Turkey: Clean a glass or plastic jar from the recycling bin. Wrap it with brown paper, like construction paper, to make the body of the turkey. Use paper scraps and glue to add feathers, wings, and a turkey head to the jar. Invite visitors to write what they’re thankful for on a strip of paper as they arrive and place it in the jar. After dinner take turns reading the notes. The turkey can sit at the dinner table, on the mantle, or coffee table adding to the décor.
• Napkin Rings: Use paperboard rolls from the middle of paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls to make festive napkin rings. Gather your rolls and cut rings about two inches wide using a bread knife. Cut out a leaf shape from scrap paper and glue onto the center of a ring. Or, use a real leaf from your yard to decorate. Other possible decorations include color construction paper, pieces of corn or beans glued all the way around the paperboard ring.
• Name Plates: Make guests feel welcome with their own nameplate at the dinner table. Cut 4x6 inch rectangles from paperboard boxes like spaghetti and cereal boxes. Fold in half so that the brown side is showing. Glue a real or paper leaf to the top right corner. Write the guest’s name in the center with a marker, or to make it stand out more, write it on a lighter piece of scrap paper and glue it to the paperboard.
• Spell It Out: Use toy blocks with letters to spell out a message, like Happy Thankgiving, on a mantle or windowsill. Use acrylic paints to change the color of the letters to match your décor.
Being eco-friendly by upcycling materials doesn’t have to difficult or expensive, you just need a little bit of creativity. Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday with your family, friends and loved ones by including them in the joy of making.
Liz Swafford is the Recycling and Education Program Coordinator for the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority. Contact her at 706-278-5001, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.