Flashback: Thankful Tree

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Flashback: Thankful Tree

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By Vanessa Coppola

It has become a Thanksgiving tradition for my family to go around the table and say what we are each thankful for. This has become my favorite part of the meal. I want to carry over this tradition with my 1 year old, so I came up with the Thankful Tree. This tree is a throwback to my elementary school days. My classmates and I scribbled out what we were thankful for in crayon onto a construction paper cutout of our hand and placed it on a large tree stump that the teacher made out of butcher paper. Same concept – I just spruced up the idea a bit.

As if I needed an excuse to turn something into a chalkboard, I’ll be showing you how to make reusable chalkboard leaves to hang on the tree. You could use these leaves as place cards for your Thanksgiving dinner and then ask guests to erase their names and write in chalk what they are thankful for. It might also be fun to turn a piece of butcher paper into a chalkboard with chalkboard paint and use that for your tablecloth or runner. Guests would have a blast doodling on it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Pumpkin carving knife
artificial or real
Floral foam blocks
Hot glue
Cardstock paper or cardboard
an empty cereal box works great
Leaf stencils or real leaves
Hole puncher
Chalkboard spray paint
Jute or hemp string


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Step 1: Cut a small hole at the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds (if using a real pumpkin). Paint the pumpkin, 2-3 coats, if you desire a different color. Allow time to dry overnight.

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Step 2: Cut the floral foam so it is small enough to fit through the hole at the top of the pumpkin. Fill the pumpkin with the foam pieces so they are snuggly sitting inside.

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Step 3: Place the branches into the pumpkin and through the floral foam. You can add a dab of hot glue to the ends of the branches before you stick them through the foam for a more secure placement. If you don’t have access to branches in your backyard, many craft stores sell bundles of tree branches.

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Step 4: You can make cardstock leaves or chalkboard leaves, made out of cardboard from an old cereal box. Trace leaf stencils or actual leaves onto the paper/cardboard and cut out the shapes.

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Step 5: To make chalkboard leaves, spray the cardboard leaf shapes with 2-3 coats of chalkboard spray paint. Use a hole punch to make a hole at the top of each cutout. String a piece of jute or hemp through the hole for hanging.

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Step 6: Leave pens (for cardstock leaves) or chalk (for chalkboard leaves) out for Thanksgiving guests to write down what they are thankful for. Hang the leaves on the branches of the thankful tree.

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About the Author:

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Vanessa Coppola crafts from her Arizona home, where she resides with her husband and son Logan. You can read her crafty ramblings at See Vanessa Craft. She is very thankful for her family and friends this Thanksgiving season.

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Haley Pierson-Cox from Red-Handled Scissors is a maker of crafts, a lover of cats, an avid swearing enthusiast, a cross-stitch book author, and a general purveyor of quirk. She's also sometimes an irritable cartoon named Tiny Cranky Haley. https://www.redhandledscissors.com

View more articles by Haley Pierson-Cox


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