DIY Paper Turkey Centerpiece

Ellen Goldberg

turkey thanksgiving craft

Got a stash of old paperbacks you’re about to donate? Keep one and turn it into a paper turkey for your Thanksgiving table.


  • Old paperback book (the older and yellower, the better!)
  • Scissors
  • Nontoxic glue stick
  • Colorful cardboard cereal box
  • Small pinecone
  • Thin wire
  • 2 wooden clothespins


  1. Cut off the top of the book at a slight angle, higher toward the book’s spine (cut as many pages as you can at once: This part doesn’t have to be super-neat!). Then, draw a half-circle on the front cover, but angle the top slightly up.
  2. Cut the half-circle out of the front cover, but at about one inch from the bottom, cut at an angle away from the circle to make a triangle shape, which you will need to create the bottom feathers later. Do this with the back cover as well.
  3. Take 15 to 20 pages at a time and cut them into a half-circle to match the cover (minus the bottom triangle). Once all the pages are cut, glue together 4 to 5 pages in the front and back of the book, and then glue those chunks to the covers.
  4. Snip into the top of the pages, toward the spine, to make the neck feathers. Spread them apart and ruffle them. Then, on the bottom triangles on the front and back covers, make 4 to 5 angled snips to create the turkey’s bottom feathers.
  5. Make the turkey’s back feathers from the extra pieces you’ve cut off from the book. Cut 18 to 20 long ovals with pointed ends, about 4 or 5 inches long. Glue two together to make the feathers sturdier, then repeat with remaining pieces. Fan them out and glue to the back of the book.
  6. Look for red, orange, or yellow areas on the cereal box, and use them to create the turkey’s beak and waddle. For the beak, cut out a triangle, then fold it down the middle. For the waddle, cut out a long heart shape and snip off the pointed end. Glue both to the pinecone, then wrap wire around a piece of the pinecone, leaving a long piece hanging down. Slide the wire into the book so the pinecone sits on top.
  7. Open the book and clip the clothespins to pages near the center so the turkey will sit up. Gobble, gobble!

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