Simple DIY Thanksgiving Decorations

diy thanksgiving decorations
Silk leaves, grocery store gourds, and a bit of paint are all you need to bring these simple Thanksgiving decorations together.

The span of weeks (that feels more like minutes) between Halloween and Thanksgiving is barely enough time to take down the goblins and mummies and plan a Thanksgiving menu.
And, if you go balls to the wall for Halloween and Christmas decorating, embellishing for Thanksgiving can make your space (and your brain) feel a little cluttered. Like, I need space in between to breathe, hello?? On the other hand, being without any festivity in your home whatsoever can feel disappointing, and that’s no good either.

In years past I’ve taken the zero-decorating route for Thanksgiving,

but this year I grabbed the bull by the horns on November 1st.
(This is what happens when you start a blog apparently– if I was extra about the holidays before, now I’m extra extra.)
I wanted to come up with the easiest and cheapest (while still impactful) Thanksgiving decorating plan that I could, because no one has excess time nor excess funds this time of year. I also wanted something airy and minimal to prevent that cluttered feeling.

My Halloween-soaked brain needed ideas. And where do you go for ideas? Pinterest of course, the Mecca of DIY-ers. (BTW, you can follow me on Pinterest and see all the ideas I save!)

After a bit of perusing, I decided to make a wreath to greet Thanksgiving guests, and a wall hanging to warm up the living room.

So, I filled my Amazon cart with loose silk maple leaves, copper and gold spray paint, and a spool of monofilament.
As for the other materials, I recycled things I already had. The base of the wreath is the skeleton of an old Christmas wreath from West Elm that I dissected (read: ferociously tore apart with pliers because that thing was QUALITY made), the twig for the wall hanging was part of my witches brooms crafting from Halloween, and the gourds and pumpkins were leftover from Halloween as well.

When my materials arrived from Amazon, I also got to recycle the cardboard box to use as my base for spray painting! SO much recycling satisfaction.
I broke down the box and divided it into several flat pieces, then used straight pins to affix the leaves to them. I put the pins into the cardboard at a little bit of an angle to give them enough of a grip (the cardboard was thin), but left them sticking up a good 1/3 inch.
If you look closely, you can see the pins:rose gold painted leaves

Leaving the pins sticking up a bit made the cardboard pieces stackable, even when wet with paint! It worked out perfectly… Which is more than I can say about most of my crafting endeavors.

There is one tedious bit about this process that you ought to know up front– when the leaves are dry, you have to flip them over and re-pin them, then paint the other side. I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s really mindless, and probably takes at maximum 15 minutes to complete.
Here’s a little before and after:spray painted fall leaves

Once the leaves were dried and sparkly, I stuck them to my wreath base with a hot glue gun. I really don’t think there’s any way you could go wrong on this part. I folded some of them to give the wreath dimension, and stuck them in the crevasses to make it full and autumn or thanksgiving wreath

For the wall hanging,

I used my trusty hot glue gun to stick the leaves to strands of monofilament, and then to affix the strands to the twig. If you want to be really thorough, you can place the dot of glue between two leaves so that the glue cannot be seen, but I didn’t, and honestly I’m looking at mine right now and I can’t see the glue at autumn decor

After hanging the assembly, I draped a strand of copper wire lights around it to add height to the room as well as a little ambient lighting. It doesn’t really feel like the holidays without some twinkling lights!diy thanksgiving decorations

The last part of my easy-peas Thanksgiving decorations are these painted gourds:

Initially, I had planned to paint them in jewel tones, and thought I could blend the random colors I had already had into jewel tones. I also mixed the paint in the dark because apparently I am a vampire. It all came out so wrong.

They all ended up strange, muddy, tropical-esque colors… and it made me realize that most gourds look a little bit like sex toys.
I’m sorry, you’re never going to get that parallel out of your head autumn painted gourds

Anyway, after two days of looking at terrible pink and aqua gourds, I broke out a can of white latex house paint and repainted them.
Why house paint?
Well, I already had it which saved me a trip to the craft store, and it actually worked great! It has great coverage, a nice matte finish, and left behind some paint strokes that I think look really nice and arty. The all white effect also makes my space feel relaxing and airy, which is exactly what I was aiming for. Leftover house paint FTW!diy thanksgiving decor

Whether or not you’re planning on decorating for the Thanksgiving holiday, I hope that your season is warm and peaceful wherever you are- with family, friends, traveling, or on vacation.

For me, making things and feeding people brings me the most comfort and joy. I wish that I could share everything that I make with you directly, but for now, this will have to do! 


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