30 Eco-Friendly DIY Thanksgiving Decorations

Thanksgiving tends to get lost in the build-up to Christmas, but even though there’s snow on the ground outside my window right now, I personally still want to pretend like it’s autumn.

And the best way to do that is to spend a little extra time celebrating our national harvest holiday!

Fortunately, since retailers are so busy frothing at the mouth over Black Friday, there aren’t excessive temptations to buy a bunch of plastic Thanksgiving crap. That means there’s so much more mental space for making eco-friendly non-plastic Thanksgiving not-crap for your holiday decorations!

Check out the list, below, of my favorite tutorials for eco-friendly Thanksgiving decorations. This is just about our last hurrah to gather and display nature’s harvest before we bundle up by the fire and start on our winter crafting!

1. Acorn Wreath

This acorn wreath takes a lot of work, but if you store it carefully you can use it year after year.

2. Apple Tea Light Holders

The apples from your autumn orchard visit might be getting a little mushy by now. Either make applesauce or tea light holders!

3. Beer Bottle Centerpiece

These 5-minute DIY Thanksgiving centerpieces will make your holiday table extra special. And good news...there's beer involved!

Hosting a Friendsgiving? This is the decoration for you!

4. Burlap Pumpkin

Because you won’t be washing this pumpkin, consider using crumpled newspaper as filling instead of polyester fiberfill.

5. Burlap Wreath

Burlap can actually be quite eco-friendly and is a good choice of fabric to decorate with.

6. Clothespin Wreath

I actually use clothespins for my laundry, so I love decorations like these. I’ll happily decorate the clothespins and then afterward, reclaim them for my clothesline!

7. Clove Apples

Fall Nature Crafts

These would look–and smell!–sweet when placed in a bowl as a table centerpiece.

8. Coffee Can Turkey

Thanksgiving crafts from upcycled materials

Kid-friendly crafts keep kids engaged with the action (while keeping them from being underfoot), and increase their ownership of the holiday hosting… meaning they might even behave for a few minutes! Even little kids can make this cute coffee can turkey.

9. Corn Husk Wreath

Husk your own corn for this wreath, or buy corn husks intended for tamales.

10. Decorate With Sage

If you’re cooking a traditional feast, you likely have lots of fresh sage on hand. Use some of it to fancy up your Thanksgiving decor!

11. Decorative Corn Wreath

I LOVE colorful ears of corn, and when this wreath’s time is done, simply compost them!

12. Filled Hurricane Vases

After you use these during the holiday, introduce the kids to the fine art of dried bean mosaics.

13. Giant Wood Tags

Write a Thanksgiving message on them or a holiday greeting that can last through the new year.

14. “Give Thanks” Picture Frame

Thanksgiving Crafts from Recycled Materials

Use upcycled materials to switch out some of your regular pictures with Thanksgiving-themed messages.

15. “Give Thanks” Printables

The secret to eco-friendly printables is that you don’t have to print them on new paper. Experiment with printing onto old book pages, sheet music, or even newspaper for a decorative look that doesn’t use new materials.

16. Gratitude Place Cards

Thanksgiving crafts from recycled materials

Want to get everyone involved in the Thanksgiving decorations? Make these place cards, pass out some gel pens, and share the gratitude!

17. Gratitude Tree

Start decorating this tree today, and you’ll have a beautiful decoration, full of grateful words, by Thanksgiving.

18. Leaf Tags

Here’s another printable that you can print onto recycled paper. Write each guest’s name on one side, tie to a small pumpkin, and let them take them home as party favors!

19. Paint-Dipped Pine Cones

18 Nature Crafts for Christmas

With three ways to dip pine cones, you’re sure to find the best one for you!

20. Handprint Tablecloth

This would make a cute tablecloth for the kid’s table, or perhaps the dessert station.

21. Pine Cone door Decoration

Add a bouquet of pine cones to your front door to remind everyone who visits that despite the snow, IT IS STILL AUTUMN.

22. Pine Cone Garland

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And so it begins πŸŽ„

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A nature walk and a couple of supplies are all you need to make this pretty pine cone garland!

23. Popcorn

Normally, I eat my popcorn, but the other day I found a half-empty bag of Boy Scout popcorn in the back of my pantry… and I haven’t bought popcorn from the Boy Scouts in several years. So thus, this tutorial!

24. Seed Balls

Instead of the foam balls called for in this tutorial, look around for old tennis balls. In my local park, some tennis players have the bad habit of flinging their soft tennis balls over the fence. Shame on them for littering, but the local dogs–and me when I need a tennis ball for a craft!–appreciate it!

25. Stenciled Mason Jar

If you don’t have a quart-sized Mason jar on hand for this project and don’t want to buy a whole set of them, check out the spaghetti sauce aisle in your grocery store. Lots of spaghetti sauce jars are made with cute embellishments that give the same look–and it’s a great excuse to have spaghetti for dinner!

26. Upcycled Jack-o-Lantern

If your kids have grown out of their Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins (I have two teenagers who trick-or-treat with honest-to-goodness pillowcases, sigh), upcycle them with silver paint into festive Thanksgiving decor.

27. Vintage Bandanna Pumpkin

You can use any stash fabric for this pumpkin, but the vintage bandanna looks REALLY cute.

28. Upcycled Pumpkin Storage Jar

The tutorial calls for a Dollar Store storage jar, but I bet you can either find a suitable jar that you already own, or thrift a good one.

29. Wheat Wreath

If you don’t know anyone who knows anyone who grew wheat this year, check out your local farmer’s market or fall festival for supplies for this project.

30. Wreath

A straw or grapevine wreath form makes this project easier while keeping it natural.

How are you celebrating this November? Let me know in the comments below!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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