Recycled Thanksgiving Tree Craft

This is a Thanksgiving craft for the un-crafty. Simple, cheap (like 50 cents worth of stuff), and environmentally friendly to boot.

You’ll need:
– Brown paper grocery sack
– Cardstock or paper in fall colors (perfect use for paper scraps you might have laying around)
– Scissors
– Glue
– Writing utensil of choice

First, turn the grocery sack inside out. This is probably the hardest part of the whole craft. If your sack doesn’t have a big logo on the bottom, this step isn’t necessary. I just didn’t want mine to say “Stop & Shop” on the base.

Just reach in the bag, bunch up the bottom, and pull through. It takes a little finagling, but it works. Don’t worry about it getting crumpled – that’s actually the effect you’ll want.

 Flatten the bag back out the way it was right side out.

Using scissors, cut strips about 1″ wide from the opening down to where the base creases. (I also cut apart the folded strips on the ends, right on the fold, so none of the strips are doubled up.)

Open up the bag, then grab right around the middle and twist. The bottom will pull up a little, but no worries. It’s very moldable. You could put a beige rubber band around the top of the twist at this point, if you’re worried about it coming undone. Otherwise, just twist again if it comes loose.

Take each individual strip and twist it into a “branch.” Just twist and twist. This is a good step to employ the kids with. 
I also cut haphazardly around the bottom a bit to make it less rectangular and more tree-ish. It should look something like this when you’re done:

Cut out leaves from colored paper. Don’t get fancy here – simple is best.

Have your family members write down things they’re thankful for on the leaves. We used gold Sharpie because we’re fancy (and a little Sharpie-obsessed).

You can have everyone make one leaf per day leading up to Thanksgiving, or make them all at once. You could also use this as a Thanksgiving gathering activity, having each guest add a few leaves to the tree. Just glue onto the branches, and voila! A homemade Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Chocolate, hugs, trees and toilets. We know what’s important around here. 🙂 
Happy Thanksgiving! 

P.S. You can also make mini versions of these trees with brown paper lunch sacks (just make the leaves smaller).

P.P.S. When you’re done with these, recycle them if you have paper recycling services. Just pull off the leaves and chuck it all right in the bin.


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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

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