Looking for a fun Thanksgiving project to do with your kids? Use our free template to turn an empty toilet paper roll into a colourful turkey! This easy fall craft is a great way to use up recycled materials, and you can easily turn it into a thankful turkey craft with just one additional step.
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We always have a ton of empty toilet paper rolls at our house—mostly because my six-year-old likes to hide them around the house to prevent us from tossing them into the recycling.
It drives us a little nuts at times because there is really no reason for us to save every single toilet paper roll that enters our house. But at the same time, I love that she’s crafty and likes to use recycled materials to create art.
There are lots of fun craft ideas you can use to make things out of toilet paper rolls, and this Thanksgiving turkey project is one of them.
It is bright, colourful, and super easy to make if you use my free printable craft template to create the feathers. It’s also appropriate for a variety of age groups including elementary school children, kindergarteners and toddlers (as long as you’re willing to help younger kids with the cutting).
And if you like, you can even turn it into a thankful turkey craft with just one additional step!
So if you’ve been looking for something fun to make with the empty TP rolls you have lying around the house, you’ll definitely want to give this easy Thanksgiving craft a try.
How to Make a Toilet Paper Roll Turkey
Here’s what you’ll need to make a turkey from a toilet paper roll:
- My free toilet paper roll turkey feather template, which you can download using the form below (there’s another form at the bottom of the article if you’d rather keep reading)
- Toilet paper roll
- Brown construction paper or washable paint
- Yellow construction paper
- Adhesive tape
- Coloured cardstock or construction paper (for the feathers—I recommend that you use cardstock because it is sturdier) OR coloured markers, pencils or crayons
- Liquid school glue
- Googly eyes
Note: I decided to go with rainbow coloured feathers because my kids love rainbows, but feel free to stick to more traditional colours like yellow, orange and red.
1. Cover Toilet Paper Roll
Grab some brown construction paper and cut it into a rectangle about 4 x 6 inches in size. Then, use the construction paper to cover the roll of toilet paper and secure it with a piece of adhesive tape.
Brown construction can be a little hard to find since it’s not a standard colour. Mine is from this set of “multicultural” construction paper, which contained lots of beige, brown and earth tones that are meant to emulate different skin tones.
But if ever you can’t find any brown construction paper, you can simply paint the toilet paper roll brown and wait for it to dry before you move on to the next step. (If you’re doing this project with a toddler, painting the cardboard tube is probably the better choice anyway since they’ll be able to do it all by themselves.)
2. Cut & Trace Feathers
Next, print the craft template on Letter-sized paper (8.5 x 11 inches) and use scissors to cut out one of the feathers.
You actually have two options here:
- Cut only one feather and use it to trace the correct shape on coloured cardstock
- Cut all the feathers and colour them in with markers, pencils or crayons (this would make a great project for elementary students since those supplies are more likely to be available in a classroom
If you choose to use cardstock, you can print the template on regular printer paper since you’ll only be using it to trace the right shape. If you decide to colour in the feathers instead, I recommend that you print the template on cardstock to make the feathers sturdier.
I chose the first option and used seven different colours of cardstock to create rainbow turkey feathers. But if you’d rather stick to more traditional turkey feather colours like yellow, orange and red, that is totally fine as well!
3. Give Thanks (Optional)
This step is optional, but I think it adds a fun twist to this Thanksgiving project. Instead of making a plain old toilet roll turkey, why not turn it into a fun thankful turkey roll?
To complete this extra step, have your child write something they’re thankful for on each of the feathers. I recommend laying out the feathers in the shape of a fan first so that you can make sure none of the words get covered once the feather have been glued together.
If your child is too young to write, ask them to name the things they are thankful for and write down the words on the feather for them. It’s never too early for gratitude!
4. Glue Feathers
Lay out the feathers in the shape of a fan.
Once you are happy with how they are positioned, glue them together using liquid glue or a glue stick. I used liquid glue because it’s required during a subsequent step, so I had it out already. But a stick of glue should work just as well.
Note: If you have chosen to use construction paper rather than cardstock, I definitely recommend that you use a stick of glue instead of liquid glue. This will prevent the glue from soaking through the paper and ruining your craft.
5. Add Eyes & Beak
While the feathers are drying, use liquid glue to give your turkey two googly eyes and a beak cut from yellow construction paper. I really recommend using construction paper for this, because cardstock is too stiff and won’t wrap around the round paper tube properly.
If you wish, you can also cut a small red teardrop and glue it next to the beak to create the wattle. (Did you know that the red thing that dangles from a turkey’s neck is called that?)
6. Attach Feathers to Body
Once all the glue has dried, gently press the feathers against the back of the toilet paper roll and use adhesive tape to secure them in place. If you decided to make a thankful turkey, make sure the words on the feathers are facing the front.
When the feathers have been secured with adhesive tape, your DIY turkey craft is ready to display. Who knew you could make such an adorable turkey craft using a toilet paper roll? I just love the vibrant colours!
Related Thanksgiving Activities for Kids
Looking for more Thanksgiving fun for your little ones? Check out this article:
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