For the last few years, we've spent Thanksgiving morning writing things we're thankful for on simple Fall shapes. This year, I decided to turn it into a month-long tradition. Instead of listing what we're thankful for all at once, we'll add them to our tree all month long! This tree may look complicated, but you can do it! (I'll show you how.)
How to create a recycled Thanksgiving thankful tree
My tree is made from brown-paper packing material that arrived with a package earlier this week (perfect timing). You could also make it out of brown craft paper or recycled paper sacks (just tape the pieces together on the printed side). I want my tree to last from year to year, so I mounted it on a tri-fold presentation board.
You could also pin it to a bulletin board or just stick it right on your wall.
- Crumple your tree material. (This is the fun part!) I had way more than I needed. You need just enough to match the height of your board.
- Spread out the top half of the paper.
- Cut the top half into four or five sections. (I used five, but I ended up trimming off most of the fifth branch.)
- Trim each of the five branches into three smaller branches.
- Begin to shape your branches by crumbling them up and then shaping them into swirls.
- Continue with the other branches, allowing them to overlap and trimming branches when they are too long.
- Too many branches? No problem. Cut them off completely, or leave short stubs. (You can hide any crazy spots by creatively arranging the wrinkles and taping or gluing them into place.
- Affix the trunk and branches to the presentation board using masking tape, double-sided tape, glue, or a combination of all three! I used masking tape for the trunk and scrapbook tape runner for the branches.
Thankful tree version 2
I found this gem while looking through photos today (11/2020). This is our first thankful tree. If you look closely, you'll see lots of fun pictures drawn by my kids. I love the leaves created by my youngest daughter -- scibbles with a marker. Such a fun memory!
This tree was created with brown butcher paper that I crumpled up, spread back out, and then cut. I guess I really like the idea of a swirly 3D tree. You could easily make a flat tree with straight branches instead if 3D and swirly is above your creativity or effort level.
Now you're ready to display your board and start adding leaves. I've created printable leaves for you. Just print and cut. Click on the download link below to
*Since writing this post last year, I won a Silhoutte! (I know. So cool!) If you'd like a cutting file instead, I've linked it in this post.
Depending on the age of your kids, keep a marker, masking tape and envelope of leaves next to the tree, and let them add leaves whenever they feel inspired. (I plan to let them add more leaves every year until the tree is so full that we need a new one. It will be fun to read the old leaves at the beginning of November each year.) Inspired by this video, I'll be sharing something I'm grateful for on Facebook every day this month. Have fun teaching your family about showing gratitude every day!