DIY: An easy and meaningful Thanksgiving craft

Today we welcome back Ashley and Sarah to the blog. They teamed up to create two versions of an easy yet meaningful Thanksgiving craft, guaranteed to get meal-time conversations going and hearts overflowing with gratitude. 

DIY Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Sarah says:

My family has some great Thanksgiving traditions. For one, we celebrate Thanksmas: Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one November weekend. (Because it’s hard enough to get everybody in the same place once a winter, let alone twice.) Several foods are non-negotiables at our feast: Grandma’s rolls and strawberry jam, potato casserole, apple pie, and tabouleh (a nod to relatives who lived in the Middle East for years and brought their love of the cuisine home to Iowa). And in the past few years, we’ve started giving each other presentations instead of presents: We pick a theme and then all share a related story, something new we’ve learned, or a history lesson.

But beyond the thank-you-filled prayer before the meal and plenty of extra hugs, we haven’t really figured out how to make the gratitude part of Thanksgiving stand out during our celebration. Lucky for us, I work at Hallmark, where it’s our job to take emotions like gratitude and do stuff with them.

I teamed up with genius designer Ashley Harms to brainstorm ways to help families like ours put a little more craft into our displays of thankfulness. We (ok, really, Ashley) came up with two cool ideas that incorporate family photos and handwritten messages. Read on to learn how to bring them to your holiday parties!

gratitude branch

 

Make your own GRATITUDE BRANCH | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Ashley says:

As I get older, it becomes clearer each day that I have so much to be grateful for in my life. Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time to spend with family and friends…and let them know just how much they mean to us. One way to visually show gratitude is by creating this beautiful branch filled with family photos. This craft is by no means a new idea, but it does have a twist. By adding a small space at the bottom of the photo, family and friends can write what they are grateful for. By adding this Gratitude Branch to your Thanksgiving gathering, beautiful conversations can be started and photos of the past and present can be cherished.

What you’ll need

  • A large branch
  • Copies of family and friend photos
  • Our square template
  • Wire (I used copper wiring)
  • Ribbon, twine or yarn
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • A hole punch
  • Pens or markers

How to Make your Gratitude Branch

  1. Gather copies of family photos. Try to get a photo of everyone attending your gathering and loved ones who are no longer with you.

Make your own GRATITUDE BRANCH | thinkmakeshareblog.com

2. Cut your photos to fit the square from the template and then glue the photo down. (I stamped the words Grateful, Thankful and Blessed to each of my photos. This step is not necessary but just adds a touch more to the photos.)

Make your own GRATITUDE BRANCH | thinkmakeshareblog.com

3. Punch a hole in the center top and center bottom of the photo rectangles.

Make your own GRATITUDE BRANCH | thinkmakeshareblog.com

4. Cut an extra-long piece of ribbon, twine or yarn. Start with your first photo and thread the string through the top hole and tie a knot. Leave an excess of string at the top to later tie to the branch. Take the other end of the long piece of string and run it down the back of the photo. Thread it from back to front in the bottom hole. Grab your next polaroid and thread it in the top hole from front to back and then back to front on the bottom hole. Repeat this process until you get to your last hanging photo. At the bottom hole thread it through back to front and then pull it around the back and tie it to the back string in a knot. Trim off the excess ribbon, string or twine.

Make your own GRATITUDE BRANCH | thinkmakeshareblog.com

5. Repeat this process with all your string and photos. Turn on some music as you do this; it is a bit time consuming, but the end result is worth it. Promise.

6. Before tying all the photo strings to the branch, create the copper wall hangings. Find the best spots on the branch to attach to the wall (I used existing screws in the wall and positioned the copper according to where the screws in the wall already were) and begin wrapping the wire from back to front until about a 3-inch piece is left. Take that piece, create a loop and tuck it in the back. Repeat on the other spot needed to hang the branch.

Make your own GRATITUDE BRANCH | thinkmakeshareblog.com

7. Tie each string to the branch.

Make your own GRATITUDE BRANCH | thinkmakeshareblog.com

8. Hang it on your wall and marvel at your craftiness.

Make your own GRATITUDE BRANCH | thinkmakeshareblog.com

9. As guests enter, ask them to write a little message of gratitude on a photo of their choice.

Make your own GRATITUDE BRANCH | thinkmakeshareblog.com

10. Now enjoy your gathering with your loved ones. There is so much to be grateful for!

Gratitude Tree

DIY Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Sarah says:

What you’ll need

How to Make your Gratitude Tree

  1. Gather copies of family photos. Make sure you have one of everyone who will be attending your Thanksgiving gathering, so no one is left out. Mix up old and new photos for extra storytelling fun. Cut your photos to fit the circles on our photo template.

DIY Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree | thinkmakeshareblog.com

2. Cut matching circles out of our lined template.

DIY Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree | thinkmakeshareblog.com

3. Glue the lined circles to the backs of the photo circles and use the lines as a guide to punch a centered hole in the top of each photo.

DIY Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree | thinkmakeshareblog.com

4. String your ribbon, twine or yarn through the hole and knot to create a loop for hanging.

DIY Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree | thinkmakeshareblog.com

5. Set out all your photo ornaments with pens and our gratitude promptsdesigned to help guests write original thoughts of thanks. As your guests enter, ask them to write messages of gratitude on the backs of the photos and hang them on the branches.

DIY Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree | thinkmakeshareblog.com

DIY Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree | thinkmakeshareblog.com

6. Enjoy your tree while you celebrate! At the end of your party, give guests the photos of themselves to take home…with sweet messages on the back.

DIY Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Photography by Jane Kortright.

What do you do to express gratitude during Thanksgiving? Show us on Instagram @think.make.share

Comments

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  1. 4.30.16 | Reply
    Lynda True wrote:

    These are great ideas. Thanks for posting.