Thankful Tree Craft (with Painted Homemade Clay Dough Leaves)

This vibrant thankful tree craft is a creative way to teach kids the meaning of thanksgiving and makes a lovely centerpiece for your family’s Thanksgiving table. Kids will enjoy making and decorating their leaves with our easy 2-ingredient clay dough recipe.

I’ve seen several Thankful Tree crafts in my travels around the preschool and kid blogs in recent years, and this year, we decided to make one of our own.

See all of our Thanksgiving Crafts here.

What’s a Thankful Tree?

If you’ve never heard of a Thankful Tree before, you fill a jar or a vase with some twigs, and your kids make leaves to decorate it with. On each leaf, they write one thing that they’re thankful for. Related: Check out our Paper Plate Thankful Turkey Craft.

Related: See all of our fall leaf crafts and activities here and all of our fall tree crafts here.

Most of the Thankful Trees I’ve seen have leaves made out of coloured paper, but I wanted to put a unique spin on our tree, so we used our easy white clay dough (baking soda, corn starch and water) to make our leaves. Then we painted our leaves in some beautiful fall colours, wrote on them, and then varnished them to make them shine.

square image gratitude tree twigs in vase

What kind of paint?

We used acrylic craft paint to paint our leaves. We thinned it with a bit of water so the consistency would be more like watercolour paints. Watercolours will work too. We painted our clay dough butterflies with ours, but our colours are a bit too bright. I wanted earthy, autumn colours for our leaves, hence the acrylics.

I am so thrilled with the results. Our clay leaves are truly beautiful, and the activity is a wonderful reminder for kids and adults alike, that even in the most challenging times, we still have many things to be grateful for.

I hope you’ll make our Clay Leaf Thankful Tree with your kids to display in your home or classroom this holiday season.

Dry-time for clay leaves

Note: Your clay leaves will need to dry overnight, so you’ll need to make them at least one day before painting them and decorating your tree.

Related: You may also like our Fall Leaf Napkin Ring Craft and our Fall Leaf Silhouette Sun Catchers.

How to Make our Thankful Tree with White Clay Leaves

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Instructions:

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