DIY Thanksgiving Poetry Napkins

This is the first year I’m hosting Thanksgiving all by myself.  It’ll just be me and my new husband, but I get to do the menu planning, cooking, decorating and table setting (Darren gets to do the dishes).  I’m lucky to have inherited some of  my great grandmother’s china and silverware which will make a fabulous place setting for the fabulous food.

I wanted a decoration for the table that was fun, literary and somewhat elegant.  My great-grandmother LOVED to read, the poetry is a nod to her.

Most of these things you’ll have on hand or can photocopy at the library, but if you need any of the items please click-through the link to buy on Amazon.  It helps keep me in turkey.

What You’ll Need:

I chose Shel Silverstein for the poetry book because he has such a wide variety of poetry.  There is sweet for your spouse, fun for your kids, lots of poems on food and a wide variety of poems featuring names.


img_20301.  Now the fun part… find poems that remind you of the people you’ll be sharing the holiday with.  Tear them out or photocopy the page (if you can’t bear to tear apart a book).  Add a note why you picked that poem for them.




2.  Fold the shorter side in on itself like you would to make a fan, leaving about three inches unfolded at the end.  It will look something like this.



3. Place the accordion folded side down and fold in half.img_2033



4. You’ll have a rectangle part sticking out the back.  Fold theimg_2037  corner of the rectangle down and tuck into fan.  It will make this little stand for the fan.



5. img_2039To me it looked not quite right so I chose to tear the edges where the fan folds are and bend them in making it look more like feathers.   Here is an example half done and half undone.


6. img_2041Now, get out the water colors and start painting some fun feathers.  I did every wing a different color but I think if I could do it again I’d randomly dab colors making it more of a kaleidoscope.  When your guest unfolds it will look something like this. img_2043img_2044








7.   Now for the base.  Take a square napkin and fold two img_2055corners down to meet in the middle (my napkin was a little too big for my turkey feathers so I had to improvise and go a little further past center).  img_2056








8. Make the exact same fold two more times. This will make a narrow, almost flared tube like figure.  (red lines indicate where a fold occurred.img_2058 img_2057







9. Fold near the top to make a face and about half way through to make a base. Add some google eyes if you like for a silly effect. Place your poem behind and place on a dish.  Your guest will have a poem picked just for them and a napkin an a simple table setting. img_2059img_2060











  • If you want to go all out you could use your printer to print a poem onto a napkin.  This would be insanely elegant and make your guest feel super special.  For a DIY how to on that visit the graphic fairy’s website that has six easy ways to print on fabric
  • I would have painted dots instead of stripes on the turkey to make it look more like feathers.  I think it would have looked nicer but the way featured is fine too.
  • Have your kids pick poems and paint!  It’d be an easy way to keep them occupied on Thanksgiving morning.  The origami is easy enough an adult or older child could teach it.
About Kaitey Moore 40 Articles
Kaitlin Moore Morley is passionate about storytelling, the kind of our imagination and the kind of our experiences. She works as a hospital chaplain where she collects love stories and as a pastor where she collect biblical narrative. She holds an undergraduate in Social Anthropology from the University of Manchester in England and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky. She lives in Evansville, Indiana in an old (very cold) Victorian house with her husband, Darren and their dog Olga.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.