Upcycled Craftivity: Make a Turkey

Upcycled Craftivity: Make a Turkey

Thanksgiving is a great time to get crafty. Help your child get into the Turkey Day spirit by creating an eco-friendly bird napkin or utensil holder using sustainable resources from your recycling bin! (Hint: For more variety, ask your friends and neighbors if you can raid their recycling bins, too.)

See instructions below, or click here for a downloadable PDF.

Getting started:

You’ll need your imagination for the best upcycle! Remember, to upcycle you’ll want to find things around you that could serve as something else. See what’s lying around the house. You’ll basically be looking out for the different body parts that make up a turkey.


  • Turkey body  Examples: empty soup can, empty jar from salsa or applesauce
  • Feathers Examples: cut-up cardboard, newspaper or construction paper
  • Eyes
  • Beak  Examples: baby bottle nipple, cut-up cardboard, toilet paper roll
  • Wattle, aka the red flappy bit hanging from a turkey’s head or neck (optional)
  • Wings (optional)  Examples: aluminum foil works well
  • Eyebrows, tongue and feet (optional) 
  • Washable paint and brushes or sponges, markers or crayons
  • Elmer’s glue, glitter glue or tape


Make the body:

Wash out the part you’ve chosen to serve as the turkey body (e.g., soup can) and let it dry. This will be the part that holds the utensils or napkins, so clean it out well.

Make the feathers:

  1. PARENT STEP: Cut out feathers from the chosen material. 
  2. Decorate the feathers with color (paint, crayons, etc.).

Make the eyes:

  1. Find something round (for one of our turkeys, we used baby bottle rings).
  2. Or PARENT STEP: Cut cardboard into circles. 
  3. Let your child color the eyes with crayons, markers or paint.

Make the beak:

  1. Find something beak-like (or triangular).
  2. Or PARENT STEP: Cut a triangle from cardboard or colored paper.

Make the wattle (the fleshy, red part under the turkey’s neck):

  1. Find something wattle-like.
  2. Or PARENT STEP: Cut a wavy shape from cardboard.
  3. Let your child paint it red, or use red paper.

Assemble your turkey with glue or tape!

For more upcycle crafting fun with your family, try making Recycled Cork Boats, a Milk Carton Bird Feeder or Toilet Paper Binoculars.

Gobble, gobble!

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