You may recycle or repurpose brown paper bags to create placemats, decorations and favors for your Thanksgiving table. Using the brown paper bags gives the placemats a woven grass look and the decorations a primitive look both which are great for the Thanksgiving table.
The placemats would be a very useful alone. However the additional items are easily made with a little time and creativity and add a bit more to the decorative theme. Even though all of the items are made from brown paper bags the small baskets or cornucopias are very attractive once filled with a little autumn colored cellophane, small candies, fruit or nuts, or individual small packages of candy corn. The turkeys may be used as place markers by writing each guests name on the tail.
The placemats are easy for both adults and children to make. The one inch strips would be easier for the children to handle; the ½ inch strips look more like woven grass but can be a bit difficult to handle.
Brown paper bag
Scissors or paper cutter
Cut the solid end off of the paper bag. Cut the body of the paper bag in to one inch strips. Cut the circular strips to form one long strip.
Place 12 strips on a flat surface and weave nine strips in a basket weave pattern to form a rectangle. Tap the edges of the woven strips across and down to tighten the weave. Cut the loose strips around the edges to a one inch length from the woven rectangle. Fold the edge strips oven and glue them to the edge row to finish the edges of the placemat.
You may adjust the size of the placemat by adding more strips or by using less strips. If you would like a more grass like appearance cut the strips to a width of ½ inch using 24 strips across and 18 strips to weave into them.
Paper bag ends
Several ½ inch strips
Cut a square from the paper bag end. Roll two edges of the square towards each other and glue to form a cone. Cut the open end to form a pleasing shape. Twist or fold the paper strips to form a decorative edge for the cornucopia and glue in place around the opening.
One inch paper strips
½ inch paper strips
Place two paper strips on a flat surface and weave two more strips into them to form a small square in the center of the strips. Glue the four strips in place and allow to dry. Cut the loose strips in half lengthwise (forming two ½ inch lengths) to the edge of the center square. Fold the loose edges upwards. Use more ½ inch paper strips to weave the body of the basket to a desired size. Trim the edges of the basket top, fold and glue in place. Form a handle using another paper strip cut to size and glued in place.
Various leftover pieces of the paper bag
One inch strips
½ inch strips
Fold two ½ inch strips using the “gum wrapper” technique to form an accordion fold length of paper and glue to secure the ends.
Fold a small rectangle of paper in half and cut a turkey foot shape. Open the folded paper rectangle to reveal two joined turkey feet.
Glue the ends of the length of accordion folded paper to the feet to form curved legs on the feet.
Wrap a length of a one inch strip around your finger and cut and glue the strip to form the body.
Stack five paper strips and cut through them to form feathers for the tail. Glue the feathers to form a fanned tail and allow to dry.
Glue the tail onto the back of the body where the paper strip was joined together. Allow to dry.
Head and beak:
Cut a ½ inch strip on paper long enough to curve into the body piece and glue in place. Cut a small triangle to form the beak and glue into the head.