Keep kids occupied during the frenzy of dinner preparations with a fun and easy project that creates beautiful place cards for decorating the Thanksgiving table. A simple enough craft for even the youngest artists, the design can be adapted for more elegant place settings by older participants eager to help decorate for the holiday.
- construction or craft paper in fall-themed colors: red, brown, orange, green, white
- one bottle of glitter glue, clear or gold
- leaf design paper punch
Constructing the Cards
Fold sheets of colored construction paper vertically, then cut in half to create a folded card. Use a more neutral color for these cards, such as green, white, or brown, or choose colors that match the color scheme of the Thanksgiving table.
If preferred, substitute patterned craft papers for colored designs, or shiny metallic papers for a more elegant design. Other unique paper choices include wrapping paper, old sheet music, or wrapping paper scraps glued over a solid card stock.
Use an oak or maple leaf paper punch to create a fall leaf pattern along the sides of each card. Use the punched design to create unique patterns, like a meandering ribbon along adjacent sides or clusters of leaves at opposite corners. Be as creative as possible, leaving plenty of space in the middle of the card for the guest’s name. If preferred, substitute a different paper punch instead of leaf design, such as stars or flowers — even a simple round hole punch will create a design on the paper.
Highlight the Pattern
Slide a second card of a different color inside and glue in place to highlight the leaves. Bright, bold paper will make the leaf design stand out, so colors like red and orange are best — something that contrasts the top sheet or highlights fall colors, for instance. Smooth the inside of the card to press out any air bubbles after the two sides are glued together, then prop open to dry.
Use the bottle of glitter glue to write the guest’s name in the middle of the top card. Use swirling, decorative penmanship to fill out the names — substitute a metallic or glitter marker for the glue stick to create flat letters instead of raised ones. For older artists, consider using a calligraphy pen instead, in order to create swirly, artistic penmanship on each card.
Once the glitter is dry, let the young artists place their finished place cards in front of each plate to assign the guests seating before dinner.