Thankgiving is almost here! Is there a turkey at your gate? (or in your freezer?) Its just not Thanksgiving without a sweet handprint turkey, like my popular Handprint Turkey Keepsakes, or this new version, to decorate your home or give to family.
I helped my group of 8 preschoolers and toddlers make Thanksgiving handprint turkeys for their parents. They go super quick so there’s still time if you want to make some.
Turkey at the Gate Thanksgiving Handprint Art
- 9 Jumbo Natural Colored Craft Sticks, size 5 7/8″ x 11/16″
- Hot glue gun (for adult use)
- Tempera Paint: brown, red, blue, green orange, yellow
- Paint brushes, one for each color you’re using
- Paper plate to hold paint
- Jute Twine
- Wood Beads
- Pony beads
- See the photos below for making the “gate” for your Thanksgiving handprint turkey. Hot glue together the nine craft sticks.
2. Paint the child’s hand. Using a separate brush for each color, paint the child’s hand. I do the brown first and say “This is the turkey’s body. Here’s his neck and head.”
Then I choose a color, and generously paint the the child’s finger. Work quickly and keep them interested, saying, “Should we give him a yellow feather? What a blue one? “What color should we do next?” “What does the turkey say?”
This can be tricky with younger ones because they want to close their hand. I demonstrate how to hold their hand open with fingers spread. You might need to remind. Keep paper towels nearby in case you need to start over. Even with older children, I help them because you really don’t want to have to remake your canvas… Guide the child’s hand to make the print and lift off quickly so they don’t smear it. It takes a little practice but I have my group trained and they *love* to make handprint art gifts for parents.
3. Now we wait for the paint to dry…I’m not so patient! I want to see the turkeys detailed and finished! After they’re dry, use Sharpie markers to draw:
- Make an orange beak
- Brown or black eye
- Orange legs
- Red wattle
Don’t worry about messing it up – they are forgiving and each one turns out differently.
4. Then cut a length of jute twine -cut it long so you have some extra to work with when you tie it on. String the beads onto the jute. I used a combination of bright colored plastic beads, even star shaped ones, along with wood beads of various colors and shapes. Choose matching “Thanksgiving type” colors.
5. Tie the handle. I made a simple loop and pulled it tight, securing it with a bit of hot glue underneath the twine on the front and back so it doesn’t slide off. Fray the end of the twine if desired.
6. Of course the little Thanksgiving Handprint Turkey poem on the back notes the meaning just adds to this cute Thanksgiving Turkey Handprint art. You can download a copy of the turkey poem here. Don’t forget to add the date and the child’s name. I use printed name labels for each child so their projects do not have my handwriting on them.
There! You have an adorable little handprint turkey to keep forever. Parents and grandparents love them so make a couple.
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