Jive Turkey: Kid’s Art Turned into a Seriously Cool Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Do you have a lot of leftover kid’s art hanging around the house?

Because I sure do.

I don’t even have any kids and my place is littered with gobs of their paintings, drawings and doodles.

People just give it to me. Everywhere. They know I love it, and more importantly, they don’t have the heart to throw out their children’s art work. They would rather give it to me, their token hoarding friend.


With all the munchkin art on my mind and in my house, I decided to do a new version of the old classic Hand Turkey, but, instead of tracing my hand on a single plate and filling in the fingers with color, I decided to cut out lots of hands and cobble them together into one monster turkey masterpiece. The end result is a cross between my previous post Cher and Ruffled Chicken, and a Turkey Table Topper from Disney’s Family Fun Magazine.  The end result is seriously impressive, and even better — the process to make it could not be easier!

Best part? Total cost on this: Zero Dollars.  That’s right folks, you own all this stuff already. No kid’s art laying around, use scraps from some other project.  Or food wrappers. Or cereal boxes. Or make some….

Create the foundation by stapling paper plates to the shoe box. Click here to see a handy diagram for the folks at Family Fun. Their pictures explain it better than I ever will. 
Note: Any sort of paper based kids art will work with this project, but I suggest using thicker pieces if possible (think construction paper or heavier). Paper plate doodles are excellent. If you have lots of light-weight paper, I suggest decoupaging wrapping paper onto the back to stiffen things up. Everything with a white back will need a quick smear of paint — I like watercolor, but you use whatever you have on hand (no pun intended).
Technically, you can skip the glazing and the curling, especially if you are working with impatient munchkins, but I think they add a special touch. Plus, the Mod Podge will strengthen and protect each hand, turning this from a one-time craft into a lifelong family keepsake. Something you can keep out on the coffee table every November. Because that’s just what your livingroom needs — a giant, sparkling turkey.  
Oh hush. I know you want it.
The final product came out far more impressive than I imagined. Initially I thought I would make this as a gift for my friends, the parents who gave me much of the art I used along the way…but now I see the end result, this turkey is not going anywhere. This one is a keeper! 


  1. says

    That got me grinning from ear-to-ear – especially the waddle. 😀

  2. says

    this is so OTT (over-the-top, and also my maiden name). i love it.

    hands down the best thanksgiving centerpiece i’ve ever seen.

  3. says

    You are in the wrong business! You should be writing for Babble or something like that! You should also be giving kids’ birthday parties. Ann

  4. says

    I’m sure any kid would be so proud to see their art work made into the centerpiece for thanksgiving dinner! Haha just love that idea! Super cute!!!

  5. says

    Whee! I particularly love that there is a cow face on the turkey butt. Of course there is! No, you must not give this away. Cuter than cute! And hey, so practical.

  6. says

    This is so cool!!!! I love it. Definite project this weekend for me and my little girl. 😀 **Helena

  7. says

    Let’s see…we have drawers stuffed full of kid art, and the little one is obsessed with having her hand traced these days. This project’s a total winner!

  8. says

    What a cute idea. Definitely a good way to keep little ones busy on Thanksgiving day.

  9. says

    This is fantastic! I submitted it to the Make and Takes spotlight page. (www.makeandtakes.com/spotlight) (I hope you don’t mind!)

  10. says

    I totally love this…..I shall have to get the Girls churning out art in a sweatshop style later 😀


  1. […] world over. This one is a little new because my plate features munchkin doodles (leftover from the Jive Turkey). You could certainly do this with some festive plates, or stuff it with something besides cookies […]

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