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Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas & Turkey Chalkboard

How to decorate your dining room for Thanksgiving Using Natural Elements, Chalkboards and More.

Bar set up on sideboard. Text overlay says Thanksgiving entertaining ideas.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, time to share my Thanksgiving decorating ideas and a free printable to use to create a turkey chalkboard with you.

Dining Room Decorating Ideas

I think I enjoy Thanksgiving more than any other holiday is because it is all about family and being grateful for all that we have.

How to draw artistically on a chalkboard for Thanksgiving

The day starts out by watching the Macy’s Day Parade. It is tradition – something I have done since I was a child and have passed onto my daughters. I was even in the parade one year when I was in college in NYC.  I worked part-time at Macy’s and all the employees can volunteer to be in it. I was dressed as a boxer and was with the float that carried Famous Amos – the cookie guy.

Fall Mantel Decorating Ideas

After the parade – the afternoon is about football and family. We just hang out, catch-up and eat lots.   I set up the baron the fireplace mantel in the dining room this year. I also drew a turkey on my traveling chalkboard.

****See the tutorial and free turkey printable for drawing on a chalkboard at the end of this post.

Autumn Mantel-Side-Board

I found the tree branches outside after Hurricane Sandy came through town.

How to draw a Turkey on a chalkboard

I like the natural touch and height they add to the mantel-turned-sideboard.

Dining Room Painted Furniture

I have the painted hutch on the other side of the room all set up for pies – a pumpkin pie and whatever my family brings.   I am using paper napkins this year.  I found them at JoAnn’s Fabrics. They are perfect and add the right amount of style and color to the table along with these snack and bread baskets.

The top of the cabinet in the corner is empty. You can see the plate stand.  The big white platter that usually lives there is now on the table awaiting the Thanksgiving turkey.

Thanksgiving-Dining-Entertaining Ideas

I like using white plates and serving dishes as they go with every color and holiday, plus the food has no color or pattern to compete with.  I collect baskets to use all around my home.

Thanksgiving-Placesetting

I decided to use the dollar store silk leaf place cards.  I like how nice they look on the plates.  Instead of a centerpiece that just has to be moved when the turkey is served, I like to use a small candle at each place setting.  It looks magical when they are all lit and visually connect everyone at the table.

Budget Thanksgiving-Tablesetting-Ideas

The table has a plywood board on top to extend the seating area.  The cloth is just yardage of brown fabric with a white burlap runner that I made on top.

My youngest, who moved home recently after working as an intern on a farm on the Champlain Islands in Vermont, just landed a job at a nearby organic farm. She is passionate about the Farm to Table movement and prefers to eat everything locally raised and grown.  Today she brought home a fresh turkey.  It will be a first for us as we usually go for the free one you get at the supermarket when you use your store saving card.

Thanksgiving-Table setting idea

Now the table just needs the food and family around it.

How to Draw a Turkey on a Chalkboard

If you don’t have a chalkboard handy, make one yourself. I made mine by simply spray-painting black chalkboard paint over an $8 framed fake oil painting from a local thrift store. 

Use painters tape to mask the frame before spraying 2 to 3 light coats of chalkboard paint. Let each coat dry completely before applying another coat. Repeat until the painting is covered.

supplies needed:

  •  chalkboard (learn how to make one below)
  •  chalk, white and colored
  •  print out of turkey drawing
  •  pencil
  •  glass of water
  •  cotton swaps or a tiny paint brush
  •  wet rag
How to draw a turkey on a chalkboard

1.  To make the chalk on your board stand out, wet the board first with a damp rag.  (Keep in mind that when drawing on a wet board, the chalk will look faint, but once dry, it will be nice and bright.)

2.  If using a print-out of a turkey for your design, lay it face down on a work surface and rub the entire back with the side of a piece of chalk. Make sure to cover it well.

How to draw like a pro on a chalkboard

3.  Place the drawing chalk-side down on your chalkboard where you want the turkey. Trace over the turkey with a pencil. When you are done tracing, remove the drawing to reveal the outline of the turkey on the chalkboard. Go over all the lines to darken them.

How to draw on a chalkboard

4. Write your Thanksgiving Menu on the board. If you wet your chalkboard earlier, you can now use a hair blow dryer to speed up the drying process, or simply leave it to dry. To remove any chalk smudges or mistakes use a wet rag, cotton swab, or paint brush.

5.  If you want to seal your design on the chalkboard so it will not smudge, spray regular hairspray in an aerosol can lightly over the design.

If you don’t have wall space for the chalkboard to lean, use an easel or temporarily remove a piece already hanging on the wall and replace it for the day with the chalkboard.

For more Fall mantel decorating ideas, check out the Fall Mantel Link-Up Party over at Thrifty Decor Chick.

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From my house to yours –

Happy-Thanksgiving
Free Printable Turkey art for kids Thanksgiving craft.

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26 Comments

  1. Love your idea of a small candle at each place at the table (since there will just be two of us this year, that’s going to be pretty easy for me to do!). Also like the reminder of how pretty outdoor foliage looks as indoor decoration at this time of years. Sometimes I forget to go searching and bring some indoors; definitely will do that this year.

    1. Hi Linda – When I was first married and we had both Ed and my families coming for Thanksgiving and Christmas to our house, I learned early on that a centerpiece was a waste of money since it always got removed when the food was placed on the table. I have been using a candle at every place-setting since then. It provides such a nice glow for the table and makes every place setting seem magical. Enjoy your 2 person Thanksgiving. We are going to be 4 this year with a 20 month old – at least that is our plan unless something changes. :-)

  2. I, like Kate, also would like the turkey print like the one you used on your Menu chalkboard, rather than the one that comes up to download. If you were able to find the one you used, would you please email it to me?

    Thank you so much. All of your ideas are lovely and I will be using several of them. But the turkey/menu chalkboard is absolutely number one!

    1. Hi Patti – When I created the chalkboard I used the printable that I have the download for. You can see it in my photos in the post. After I traced the turkey onto the chalkboard I added the leaves underneath the turkey free hand. I will see if I can duplicate the leaves and make a separate printable that you can place under the turkey. I will try to get it done tonight and will email you when it is ready.

  3. I just surfed on here but am really interested in the Turkey printout. The one on the chalkboard is different from the ones offered in your writeup. Is it possible to get the one on the chalkboard?

    Love your style!

    1. Oh my… I had no idea that the printable was wrong. Thanks for taking the time to tell me. I will have to search for the right one and update the post. Once I find it, I will email you again with the right link.

    2. Hi Kate – Last year you had written to me asking for the turkey printable that I used on my Thanksgiving chalkboard. The printable on my blog was the one I used, but was missing the leaves that I added free hand after I traced the turkey onto the chalkboard. I was so focused on the hard part of the drawing (turkey) and didn’t think the leaves were going to be hard for anyone to draw. I have since added the leaves to the printable. Not sure if you are still interested, but I thought I would let you know. You can download it here: https://inmyownstyle.com/2012/11/happy-thanksgiving-2.html

  4. Love your chalkboard do you use n erosol hairspry an also after spraying hairspray on can you wipe off the chalk a ew days later or is it permanent please email me

  5. This is such a beautiful vignette, and I love the chalkboard. I featured your chalkboard in my post about Thanksgiving Chalkboards. Please feel free to check it out. Thanks for the beautiful inspiration!

  6. Looks great! I like how those stamped placemats turned out with the napkins, they look like they match, but not too matchy, if you know what I mean :). I too am a proponent of white dishes, mine are Onieda White Pearls, they go with everything and I can add colored glass wear or napkins or what ever on my table scape and I don’t have to fuss over the items looking good together.
    I really enjoy your site, I get some great ideas and seeing how good your white kitchen came out helped me decide to do mine and it also turned out great.
    Thanks!

  7. Im so thankful to have found your blog! I love your creative ideas and the detailed instructions you give for projects. Thanks for sharing your creativity with us all year long!

  8. Thank you Diane,

    For so many wonderful blogs. And especially for posting your table setting and decorations….. I knew all would be just beautiful and sure enough they are… gives me so much cheer.

    I am alone, so I splurged on a 6.40 lb butt, fully cooked ham (smallest I could find). All I have to do is heat it… grin. Not doing anything fancy with casseroles either. Making my own glaze, easy one.

    Baked Glazed Ham,
    Steamed Carrots,
    Fried Green Cabbage (modified a lot),
    Scalloped Potatoes W Cheddar
    Peanut Butter Pie

    The Very Best Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. Looks like your house is all ready for the Thanksgiving holiday. May you have a very Happy Thanksgiving celebrating with family and friends.

  10. Your turkey on the chalk board is so good…you are a very talented artist! Any guest invited to you house will be in for a treat. The table and buffet look so welcoming. You always have such great style!

  11. Your table and home look beautiful and ready for the holiday! Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. Everything looks just lovely, Diane. I am sure your family will appreciate every gesture.

    I clicked on over to your chalkboard tutorial and learned some new tricks, as always.

    I couldn’t agree more about white dinnerware. It frees you up to do almost anything with what else goes on the table. I’m going to remember the individual candlelights idea.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  13. Hi Diane,
    I get your emails every day and I love to read them all the time. I live in The Netherlands so we don’t have Thanksgiving or anything like it which I regret deeply as I feel it’s worth while remembering and being thankful for all the good we have. Thanks for sharing your lovely ideas every day again.

  14. Looks beautiful, comfy and welcoming Diane . . .

    I like your turkey menu board . . . I may have a try at one of those. I also like your beverage mantle . . . ingenious and perfect for encouraging family out of the kitchen and in the other room to watch the parade and/or football games. I too use white . . . so much easier to create around. Individual candles . . . perfect idea . . .

    There you go, giving me more and more ideas to try . . . Just might have to include you too for a bit of thankfulness.

    Happy, Happy Day . . . let me/us know how the fresh turkey turns out!
    Love, Lynne

  15. Your dining room & your table look so lovely, & your chalkboard is a work of art! Tomorrow is my hubby’s birthday, as well as my big prep day. I, too am looking forward to the feast with the 9 people that I love the most! Happy Thanksgiving to you, Diane!

  16. Looks like you are all ready for a very Happy Thanksgiving!!! What a gorgeous and fun hutch!!!! I think your bar idea is brilliant!!!
    Your guest will feel loved and so special by the beautiful and chic table you set!!!
    Happy Thanksgiving!!!