Thanksgiving is a holiday perfect for pulling out all the stops. But decorating for such an occasion often requires a seemingly endless budget. But there are plenty of great DIY projects that can transform even the most boring of tables. Here are my five favorites.
5 Inexpensive Ways to Decorate for Thanksgiving
Fall Garlands and Banners
Garlands and banners make a perfect way to set the stage. To create the perfect Thanksgiving garland, pick up some bright-colored plastic leaves at your local craft store. Then, use clear fishing twine or invisible thread to stitch through the leaves (usually about three stitches down the center will do). Leave extra slack to have enough room to tie around a window’s curtain rod or a hook on your mantle.
To make a simple “Give Thanks” banner, use a design program to make pendant shapes with a letter in each and print on cardstock. Then, using a hole puncher, make two holes at the top to thread a long bit of thick ribbon through. Alternatively, you can cut recycled fabric into the shape, write the letters out with fabric markers, and sew or glue onto the ribbon.
Though centerpieces are a Thanksgiving necessity, large flower arrangements are not in everyone’s budget. But anything around the house can make a great centerpiece: clear jars, empty lanterns, even unused serving bowls. To spice them up, head outdoors to find acorns, leaves, stones, and pinecones (or purchase at the craft store).
Arrange your centerpiece by placing heavy items like twigs and stones at the bottom. Next, add texture (acorns, pine cones). Top off with color (leaves, plastic berries) for a great holiday look!
Frugal Table Linens
Sprucing up an old table doesn’t have to require a new, expensive tablecloth. In fact, you can reuse your old one by dyeing it in a harvest color such as gold or brown.
To do this, wash the old tablecloth, but do not dry it. Purchase fabric dye at an art store in the color of your choice. Use a tablespoon of dye in a large bucket and slowly add 1/6th cup of salt and six cups of boiling water. Mix with a paint stirrer or old wooden spoon until you no longer see the salt. Place the still-wet tablecloth into the bucket and stir for roughly 3-5 minutes every 20 minutes for an hour total and then let sit for 2-3 hours. When done, lay outside for 24 hours to dry. You’ll be impressed at how amazing your new table cloth looks when finished!
For the adult table, candles are essential. Luckily, they are pretty inexpensive decorations when you buy them at places such as dollar stores. You can also go thrifting for great, vintage candleholders that you can remove the rust or even touch up using spray paint.
If you’re going for a more DIY look, try spicing up your candles by wrapping around autumn staples such as twigs, cinnamon sticks, or leaves. To make a cute candle holder, use a large glass jar and insert the candle. Then, fill in the space with candy corn, berries, sticks, or stones. You can use plastic berry leaves and water in tall, thin pitchers with floating tea lights for an added, tall centerpiece effect.
One of my favorite ways to decorate a table is to make interactive placemats. They are a great way to get people talking and sharing (while keeping them out of the kitchen). Purchase paper from the craft store and cut it into large squares big enough for plates, silverware, and glasses. Then, add a writing prompt such as “What are you thankful for?” or “Name this year’s turkey.” For kids, you can print theirs with games, puzzles, or coloring prompts.
Spending a fortune on Thanksgiving decorations doesn’t have to be on your holiday list. Instead, find simple, easy DIY projects that will create the atmosphere you love without overspending.
Michelle is a 20-something new mom, dog lover, and freelance writer/solopreneur living in Chicago. She's currently fighting back to get in the black while learning how to make great financial decisions for the future. You can find her personal debt story at fitnpoor.com and her site for parents wanting to raise money-smart children at everylittlecent.com
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