Turkey Votive Tutorial

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is coming up with inexpensive, but creative and beautiful ways to decorate the table.  This year, because it will be Elli's first Turkey day, the table is going to be kid-themed.  In preparation I had my niece and nephew over to create the main centerpieces.

Once I saw the idea for this votive, I knew it would be perfect for our theme.  I followed the main instructions from here, but added a few of my own modifications.

The biggest differences on our turkeys are the size and the heads.  When I went shopping the dollar store only had the larger bubble votives, but I think I like the result of the bigger turkey much more than I would have liked the standard size.

For the head I used a styrofoam ball (I found a ten pack at the dollar store) and covered it with the darker colored tissue and mod podge.

Here are a few tips and modifications: 
Get all of the cutting done and supplies gathered and organized ahead of time.  My niece and nephew love to do crafts, but expecting them to wait around happily while I prep isn't very realistic.  I also made my own turkey so that I would have a sample to show them.

I also covered the heads ahead of time.  The small size would have made it difficult for the kids to cover well (there's a lot of wrinkling/tearing tissue involved when you add the mod podge).  Putting a bamboo skewer into the styrofoam ball made them much easier to work with and to dry.

I cut the tissue paper for the body into petal/feather shapes instead of squares.  I did this for two reasons.  1: I thought bigger pieces would be take a bit less time to cover the votive (thus not using up my nephew's patience) 2: I just thought the new shape would be prettier

Layers of tissue paper stick together when you cut them.  Next time I would do a better job separating the tissue "feathers".  It was a bit difficult for little sticky fingers to do this.

The most difficult part of the entire project is painting the mod podge over the tissue paper.  The paper is delicate, so it tears easily.  This frustrated my perfectionist nephew.  I had to help both of the kids with this part.

  While the bodies dried (it takes about 30 minutes) we added the pieces to the turkey's head (we a little used Mod Podge instead of glue) and covered a few plain votives I had around the house with left over tissue. 

We also used this time to prep the tail-feathers.  Instead of just folding them in half we looped them (kind of like the cause ribbons) in a criss cross fashion.  The kids needed a little help getting started with this.

Once the body was dry we attached the head with hot glue (it's much faster than tacky glue), but did attach the tail-feathers with tacky glue.

One other modifications we made was cover the "stems" of the tail-feathers with extra body "feathers".  I thought this just made it look a little more finished.  We did this by placing Mod Podge under the tail feathers, sticking on the petal shaped feathers, then covering the ends with another layer of Mod Podge.

Our final step was to add eyes.  Instead of using beads or googly eyes (I hate googly eyes) we used a sharpie.  My niece gave her turkey girly eyelashes and my nephew gave his turkey "surprised eyebrows".  Battery operated votives (2 for $1 at the Dollar Tree) were placed inside.

The finished products!


elizabeth said...

This is fabulous, and the kids in your tutorial or so cute, as well as the one in the high chair!

KT Stewart said...

You are so creative and I love it!

Steph said...

That is a great idea!