DIY Tutorial: Three Thanksgiving Table Ideas

DIY Tutorial: Three Thanksgiving Table Ideas

Are you looking for a little project this weekend?  Today I have three Thanksgiving table ideas, and I have great news about them!

1.  They will all take you less than thirty minutes.

2.  They will all cost less than $20.

Woohoo!  Let’s get started.


Project #1 – Lacquered Pumpkins

You have probably seen painted pumpkins before.  But have you ever seen lacquered pumpkins?  Let me tell you, there is a big difference in texture and shine than simple matte or glossy paint.

What You’ll Need:


Valspar Brand Lacquer Paint in White



It depends on the number of pumpkins you want to do, but I did five pumpkins, and it took me less than thirty minutes.


Step 1: Picking Your Pumpkins

When you go to the store or farmer’s market to pick your pumpkins, I like to find ones that have pretty stems.  Look for some interest there.  Also, something I learned when doing this project is, the smoother your pumpkins are, the better your finished product will be.  Try to avoid getting pumpkins with a mottled appearance.

Step 2: Washing Your Pumpkins

Wash and dry your pumpkins with a towel to remove any dirt or debris sticking to them.  Take extra care around the stem as little pieces want to stay in that area.

Step 3:  Priming Your Pumpkins

Set your pumpkins on the dropcloth and spray them using even sweeping motions.  Make sure you are spraying up underneath the pumpkin to ensure there is no orange showing from the bottom.  One coat of primer will do.  Note:  You may skip this step if you want to, but I felt it would give the pumpkins an overall smoother finish, plus help them be more durable.  Also, Valspar Spray Primer with a gray lid is indeed gray, woops!

Step 4:  Painting Your Pumpkins

Let your primer dry to touch which normally takes less than ten minutes.  In even, short, sweeping motions, lacquer the pumpkins.  I have found the more light coats I do, the better it looks (rather than two heavy coats).  If you are doing thin layers of paint, typically by the time you have finished your row of pumpkins, the first pumpkin is ready for another coat.  (the picture below is after a couple of light coats, and I probably did about three more)  If you can’t tell, I’m still loving the Valspar Lacquer Paint – it coats so well, and allows for a streakless shine!  Still waiting for them to come out with more colors!

Step 5:  Dry Time

Let your pumpkins dry thoroughly before you move them inside.  You don’t want icky fingerprint marks!  Enjoy!


Project #2 – Squash Bunting Table Decor

I love to be inspired by nature, and trips to the grocery store often do that for me.  I have taken the kids on many an outing to the farmer’s market or grocery store just so I could put different textures and sizes and colors in their hands.  Yes, we would go just to feel stuff.  This is especially fun when you have really little ones!  Anyway, I found these beautiful squash at the grocery store, and I knew I had to do something with them so I brought them home.  Feeling very inspired by green this year for my Thanksgiving table ideas, I felt they would fit in perfectly.

After turning them and pondering, I realized how pretty they looked turned upside down.  Taking a knife, I trimmed the stem off so they would lay flat on a surface.  Looking at the little hole on the bottom inspired me to get out my skewers which began my squash bunting decor project.

Step 1: Picking Your Squash

Try and pick squash that are interesting to you and have minimal cosmetic flaws.

Step 2: Trimming the Stem

Trim the stem using a kitchen knife as close to the face of the squash as you can so it lays flat on the table.

Step 3: Skewering 

It may be a little difficult to get your skewer in as far as you want to, so I simply took a long nail and a hammer and hammered the nail in a little bit.  Take the nail out, slide your skewer in (pointed side down), and you should be smooth sailing.  Note:  You can trim the skewers to be any size you want using scissors usually.

Step 4: Making the Bunting

Here’s the fun part.  My whole idea when creating this was to make maybe five bunting squash holders.  You can place them on your table prettily, and it will be lovely.  However, I thought it would be sweet to make each bunting an area of life or a feeling.  Areas of Life:  Health, Personal, Career, Home.  Feelings: Peace, Joy, Patience, Love.  Each person at the table could “pick a squash” (Ha, kind of funny to say, right?  Comedy always helps loosen these types of activities!)  and talk about how they have grown in that way this past year.  Expressing thankfulness for their growth.  This may help avoid the “I’m thankful for my family, I’m thankful for food”, etc. – more token answers that are true, of course, but may be more surface.  Making Thanksgiving a time of honest reflection is really special, I think.

Anyways, back to the project.

Did you know you can print on burlap?  It is super easy, and while it may not work on some printers, I found mine handled it easy as pie.  (how ’bout that Thanksgiving reference – boom!)

Here’s what you will need:

* burlap

* white cardstock or pretty cardstock that goes with the colors at your table

* scissors

* spray adhesive

* some type of roller – I had a wallpaper tube

* printer

* hot glue gun


a:  Set Up Your Document

Open a Word document and type out whatever word you like in a pretty typeface.  Make sure you have the page set to “Landscape” position since it will be easier to cut out your bunting when you are ready.

b: Measure and Cut the Burlap

Put your paper on top of your piece of burlap and trace around it with a marker.  When cutting – this is important! – make sure you cut INSIDE your lines as you want the piece of burlap to be smaller than your paper.  Note: You may use a pretty piece of card stock so the backs of your buntings will be pretty, too – I used a white card stock piece of paper, and I thought it still looked nice.  

c: Adhere the Paper to the Burlap

Spray the paper in long, even strokes making sure you get the edges.  You want the burlap to lay flat.  Press the burlap on top of the paper taking care to smooth any bumps.

d:  Rolling Your New Burlap Paper

Take a roller (I used an old wallpaper tube) to roll on top of the burlap to make sure everything is nice and smooth.

e:  Print

Place your paper in the printer making sure it will print with the wording on the burlap.  (I had to place mine face down)

f:  Relish

Relish in how cool you feel that you printed on burlap.  Think of the possibilities!

g: Draw the Bunting

You can make a template of the size of bunting you want, cut it out, and use it as a pattern, or you can do what I did and just draw it using a ruler.  I just guessed on the lines – sometimes things look better when they are not exactly perfect.

h:  Cut and Attach

Cut out the bunting and attach it to the skewer using hot glue.

Aren’t they cute?  There is something really charming about them.  I also used some ribbon to show you what they would look like if you want them a little more dressed up.


Project #3 – Mini Gourd Place Cards

These are adorable, super easy, and fast to do!

Step 1:  Choose Your Gourds

These mini gourds are fairly easy to find at farmers markets and grocery stores.  At around a dollar each, they are a pretty and budget friendly table decoration!

Step 2:  Cut Your Gourd

Take a sharp knife and cut a slit into your gourd.

Step 3: Write and Insert Pretty Card

Write a name on your card (the tag set I show in the picture os from Joanns), attach a pretty ribbon (optional), slide the edge of the card into the gourd, and voila!  A creative and elegant place card.

So what do you think?  How can you use these three ideas?  Will any of them be a part of your Thanksgiving tablescape?   I’m always happy to hear your feedback, ideas, or revisions!  Come back Monday for one more Thanksgiving idea – a little take away gift for your guests!


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