Make a Thankful Tree

Make an interactive thankful tree with paper leaves, and get the whole family involved to share their thankful hearts this Thanksgiving
Updated 10/2022

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I'm sure I'm not the first person to ever come up with the idea of a Thankful Tree...but I am so happy with how this project turned out!! It's definitely a keeper and fun to repurpose every Thanksgiving. I'm sharing two different versions below, I hope one of them works for your family!

Thankful Tree

I made this thankful tree a few years ago for my mother-in-law. We were spending Thanksgiving together as a family and I wanted to create something meaningful that everyone could participate in, young and old alike. 

The solution was a Thankful Tree!  A permanent reminder of thankfulness.

How to make a thankful tree

The leaves contain the thankful thoughts and were cut using my Cricut but they could easily be hand cut or you could use paper leaves you find at the store. I displayed the leaves in a decorative bowl with pins and a marker so that at their leisure, people could write thoughts down as they were inspired and attach their leaf to the tree with the pins.

The background for the tree is a thick piece of Styrofoam that I had leftover from a project. I wrapped it with a piece of canvas drop cloth that I cut to size and painted a simple border around the edge with a flat edge craft brush.

The tree was hand cut from sturdy brown felt and glued onto the drop cloth base.

I added a few smaller leaves as well for some additional color, using scraps of fall colored felts I had.

The letters were chipboard letters I had in my stash but these thin wood letters would also work. Paint them and glue them onto the background.

The beauty about this project is that new leaves can be added every year, until the tree is loaded with thankfulness. Don't you just love that thought?

The date can be written on the back of each leaf. I think families with smaller children would enjoy seeing how their children's handwriting changes as they get older, and how their thankfulness expands!

Hmm, the way it's looking, maybe I should have made a Thankful forest? If your tree is filling up too quickly, you could remove the leaves each year and keep them in a ziploc baggie or envelope marked by date so that the tree is fresh and ready to receive new batches of thankful leaves each year. It would be fun to look back through this Scrapbook of Thankfulness!

A simpler thankful tree

For an easier alternative, here is the thankful tree scroll I made with the kids this week at church. My friend Barb and I were doing a crafts class for the month of October and this was our big finale.

We used a piece of drop cloth for the base, gluing each end of the drop cloth around a branch. The sturdiness of the branch helps it to hang straight. You could substitute a dowel. A piece of jute tied around the top branch makes for easy hanging. The whole piece can be gently rolled up for storage.

The tree is a simpler version so the kids could cut it out; we used adhesive felt. We opted to attach the leaves because it badly needed some color so the kids could appreciate it more...and because adding the leaves was the FUN part! It was great to see the variety of creative expression! They are going to add their Thankful Thoughts to the leaves on Thanksgiving, using Sharpie. I used packaged leaves that I found at the dollar store.

I made a stencil for the word Thankful (see similar HERE) and the kids filled it in with paint. They loved this project and were able to easily accomplish it, with a little adult help, in under an hour!!

As always, thanks for hanging out with me for a little while! I am THANKFUL for each and every one of you! Please let me know if you make a thankful tree to display in your home this Thanksgiving!

creating beauty at home,

Featured at:
The Pin Junkie - Fall Crafts Roundup


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  1. great idea and fun for children too

    1. Thanks so much! yes, the children I did it with loved it :)

  2. It's beautiful, Cindy! This would make a great art project with kids--maybe I'll make one with construction paper and write down what they're thankful for. Thanks for the inspiration! I'm hopping over from Work It Wednesday(my link ups were #71 and 72)--have a wonderful evening!

    1. Thanks Carrie, glad to inspire you!! I like the idea of a construction paper one with your kids...whatever gets them thinking 'thankful thoughts', lol! Especially with the 'greediness' of the holidays just around the corner, it's so good to take time to focus on our blessings :) I'm off to check out your link ups.

  3. Thanks for sharing your thankful tree project at The Pin Junkie. It was featured in today's fall craft roundup. Don't forget to link up your Christmas decorating ideas tomorrow for another chance to be featured!


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