Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful For $2 Centerpiece

Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday.  For most of my adult life I have had anywhere from two to four celebrations to attend that day and, let's face it, this particular holiday is all about dinner*. That's a lot of dinners in one day. I'm thankful that my mom has graciously switched to a Thanksgiving brunch to help me spread out my meals, but I still hadn't been able to shake my lack of enthusiasm for this particular Thursday.

At first I was considering some cornucopia clip art instead of a monogram for my decoupage, but nothing really seemed to go well with the turkey. I even saw one with bananas in it, which I guess might be "autumn harvest" food somewhere to someone.

However, this will be our second year here and suddenly I'm interested in celebrating here at home with a more traditional meal and, get this, even some decorations. (I know!)  I want to set a pretty, or at least interesting, table for us and that means some centerpiece-y type decorations.  I don't want to spend a lot of time finding something and I am not ready to commit to buying something lovely, in case I go back to my Scrooge McTurkey** attitude.

I dug around on pinterest, started a Thanksgiving pinboard, and then remembered I had bought a couple fake "Funkins"*** at the Dollar Tree when they first started putting out their Halloween things. They're the quality that you'd expect to get for a dollar, so I never got excited about carving them.  So, I decoupaged them for our Thanksgiving table instead!

Tear the finished edges and crumple your tissue, then tear into convenient sizes.

They have that awful seam around their "equator" and instead of sanding and/or filling and making this even more complicated than I knew I eventually would make it, I just used the tried-and-true tissue paper method to give the whole thing a consistent, rustic-y, wrinkly surface.  I used Mod Podge for this, but I'm sure white glue would've worked.

I had saved a few of these food containers for another project and they came in very handy as a support for these while all the layers were trying.

Then because I was going to use simple black/white clip art printed on white paper I painted them white. Unbeknownst to me, my white craft paint had dried up so I used some flat white house paint I had.  It worked fine, but didn't dry as quickly as craft paint would have.  It required two coats to cover all the orange and brown.

Painted flat white; the "equatorial seam" is still obvious.

While that was drying I found and re-sized some clip art images to print out. I also downloaded some appropriate fonts for the monogram; I love monograms, so I'm thankful that Eric share a last initial in common. If there is anyone reading this who doesn't know, that initial would be F.  Once printed and cut out, I used good, old, reliable Mod Podge to attach them and then coat the whole surface. I did that to seal the ink and make a surface with a consistent porosity for the glazing step.

I used Proceed brand glazing medium (tinted raw sienna), because that's what I had.    I am sure it made this take a bit longer, but I didn't have to make a special trip or buy any more craft materials to store. That brand of glazing medium is a bit shiny, so I then applied Modern Masters Dead Flat Varnish to protect and dull the surface.  They're a warm white now; not nearly so stark/chalky white.

I think that the prevalence of wild turkeys around here has influenced my ideas about decorating for Thanksgiving.  I am considering starting a collection of certain kinds of turkeys to decorate the piano with in upcoming years.  A quick yet thorough search of a couple stores yielded no non-paper turkeys. NONE!  Not even some turkeys that I didn't like the looks of.  Huh.  But I did find a clip art turkey I liked and decoupaged that feathery butt to a fake pumpkin!

I'm not exactly sure how I'll make them into a centerpiece or other table decoration, but I'll share our table settings when it's set up for dinner.

UPDATE: Clear on the other side of the country, my friend Crystal has transformed this same dollar store pumpkin!  She used a similar process, but with a different and totally charming result.  You should check out her blog post about hers here.

* I realize for some people Thanksgiving is as much, if not more, about football; no one cares if I'm there for that.
** You know, like Scrooge McDuck, but a turkey instead and not especially greedy.
*** An imitation fake pumpkin... is that meta or just redundant?


  1. Oooh, those came out cute! Great job, Tara!

  2. Thanks! I think the centerpiece is now up to $4, because I can't just plunk these down on the table. Right?

  3. I like this! You are so creative with items that others would not know how to jazz up at all. Dollar Store crafting Queen!

    1. Thanks! It's amazing what you can do when you've amassed a craft empire's worth of materials.

  4. Right, and worth every penny - all four hundred of them! :)

    1. And they were so heavy to lug around the dollar store!


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