As part of the We Gather Together Thanksgiving Blog Hop, I’m sharing the family photo place cards that will show who sits where for the feast.
As I mentioned in, Pumpkin Patch Table for Thanksgiving Brunch, I’ll be setting three tables for the holiday meal. That’s to accommodate 16 family members coming by plane and car (but not by boat lol!) to celebrate with us.
So, to add a little humor and personalize each place setting, family member faces were added onto pilgrim and Native American figures.
Hosted by Amber of Follow the Yellow Brick Home, the hop includes 25 bloggers presenting lots of ways to celebrate Thanksgiving. You’ll find ideas and inspiration for crafts, recipes, decorating, and setting tables.
Let me show you how to easily make family photo place cards for your own turkey day celebration.
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We Gather Together for the Feast
This year, we’ve decided to mix up the seating, with relatives from both sides of the family having the opportunity to break bread together. Three generations will be co-mingling and making merry.
Couples and siblings will be seated at different tables, but we’ll still all be one big family tribe.
To find their seats, I created either a pilgrim or Native American photo place card for each guest.
How to Make Photo Place Cards
Making photo place cards is best done in assembly mode; completing each step before moving on to the next. The hardest part was gathering recent, usable head and shoulder photos of each family member. So, I had to go back and forth to the computer and printer several times.
Fortunately, I had all the supplies on hand to craft the photo place cards, with the exception of construction paper. Here’s what you’ll need to recreate the same look:
- Glossy photo paper
- Toilet paper rolls
- Black, brown, white, yellow & orange construction paper
- White paper dollies (8″)
- Package of small feathers
Tools include computer, printer, glue gun and sticks, scissors, fine craft scissors, pinking shears, Sharpie, pencil, and ruler.
Step 1: Collect, Crop, Print & Cutout Photos
Begin by gathering together digital photos of family members from your phone, computer, or Facebook.
Closeup, head and shoulder portraits are ideal. It’s best if people aren’t wearing hats or sunglasses.
But, most of the time, I had to zoom in and crop face shots from full body or small group pictures. I use PicMonkey, but any photo editing tool will do.
Next, drop those edited shots into something like Microsoft Word — you can also crop images within Word itself.
From the View dropdown menu, turn on the ruler.
Now, reduce the size of each cropped photo (maintaining the image ratio), so that the head measures about 2″ high by 1″ wide. That’s the scale I used to keep the face in proportion with a toilet paper roll body.
For best results, load your printer with glossy photo paper. If you don’t have photo paper, be sure to use heavier cardstock. That will insure the photo head will not droop.
Now you’re ready to cut out each head individually.
It’s best to separate all the photos with a regular pair of scissors first. That way, you won’t crease or damage the other images while cutting. Then, use fine crafting scissors like the Fiskar (Michaels) ones shown.
Step 2: Make Pilgrim & Native American Figures
For each figure’s body, you’ll need to wrap either black or brown construction paper around a toilet paper roll. Cardstock could crease and is more difficult to glue in place.
Each cut paper should measure about 4 1/4″ high by 5 3/4″ wide (to allow for seam overlap). One standard sheet of construction paper will yield four body wraps.
Because my husband’s oldest brother is over six feet, I cut down a paper towel roll to make his figure taller than the rest. And, for two of my younger nieces and nephews, I trimmed the height on the toilet paper rolls to make them a little shorter than the adults.
Then, I simply adjusted the height measurement on the construction paper body wrappers.
Wrap the paper around the roll, glue one edge and press the seam against the tabletop — until the glue sets up. Let dry for a few minutes.
For the Native American figures, I made small slits with craft scissors to resemble fringe, all around the bottom of each roll.
Step 3: Add Details to Bodies
The women also have fringed necklines. To create them, I simply cut another piece of brown construction paper 1 1/2″ by 5 3/4″.
Then I cut a wide of “V” in the center. After making the first one, I used it as a template to trace the others. Then, I made the little slits for a fringed edge all the way around. When attaching to the top of each roll, be sure to match up the seams in the back.
For the men, I cut a 1″ by 5 3/4″ strip of orange paper. Using pinking shears, I trimmed one edge. Then, I also attached one to the top of each paper roll.
The leftover zigzag strip was glued along the neckline of the Native American women for added decoration.
Pilgrim figures each have a wide white collar. For the males, I started by cutting a strip of white paper measuring 2″ by 5 3/4″.
Using a pencil and ruler I then measured and cut out two squared-off “wings.”
Once I had a good scale with the body and faces, I again used the original collar as a template for the rest of the pilgrim guys.
Now, glue in place matching the seams in the back with the black construction paper.
For the pilgrim women I did something a little different. White paper dollies helped to create a more lacey look for their collars and aprons.
Because the dollies are round, I cut out the plain centers first. Then, I cut a curved section length for each collar. Collars were wrapped, overlapped and glued in the front of the bodies.
The aprons were a simple wedge cut from the remaining decorative edge of the dollie.
I think I got two pilgrim women’s collars and aprons out of each dollie?
Later, I decided all the male figures bodies looked like they needed a little more embellishment.
So, I freehanded arms and hands and glued them to the side of each pilgrim and indian body. The black or brown arms are about 2″ long by a 1/2″ wide, with 1/2″ white hands.
The pilgrim gents also each got a yellow gold belt buckle, matching their hats.
Sistah B’s husband and children are direct descendants of three of the original 102 Mayflower pilgrims. I shared this discovery with them last Thanksgiving while Making Merry in Magical Charleston. Two years earlier, I had discovered Sister A’s husband and kids were descended from nine of the original 1620 Plymouth settlers!
Now here’s the best part — both my sister’s husbands and kids are cousins many times over. That’s because they are all descended from those same three pilgrims! How fun is that! Are you a descendant of the first pilgrims? If so, you may be a cousin too!
Step 4: Add Photo Heads
Now to personalize each photo place card by adding faces and heads.
Once again, I freehanded a template to make the pilgrim men’s black hats. To keep them in scale with the approximately 2″ by 1″ heads, the hat brims are 3″ across.
Before gluing a hat on the top of each head, a gold buckle was added to the front.
For the women, I freehanded a white bonnet template that took a couple of tries to get the shape and scale right. Faces were simply glued on top of the bonnets.
Once all the hats were glued to the faces, the heads were attached to the top of the toilet paper bodies.
Come on Board the Mayflower
Do you recognize me among the pilgrim photo place cards aboard the Mayflower?
Years ago, my mom made Sistah B a beautiful pilgrim costume that her daughter and granddaughter have also worn. Wish I could find one of those pictures…so darn cute! But, this year, Sistah will be wearing a feather headress in her photo place card.
The Mayflower was purchased on a post holiday clearance (Pottery Barn Kids) many years ago. Isn’t it adorable?
During the month of November it usually sits on my fireplace hearth.
Sometimes, I raise the sails on the glass coffee table in the living room. Children’s books on Thanksgiving are fanned out next to it. Someday, I imagine grandchildren using the Mayflower for creative play — along with their own crafted pilgrim and indian figures.
I’ve also used the ship as a centerpiece on the dining room mahogany table. But, not for meals, as it would block conversation.
Since it’s lightweight and the sails are removable, the Mayflower is a lot easier to store than all my Thanksgiving tableware!
All the Native American photo place cards are wearing headbands with feathers. The headbands and paper feathers were freehanded and cut with the crafting scissors. A black marker added details onto the headbands.
Feathers were leftover from Easy to Make Fall Decor: Sweater Pumpkins.
A Place at the Feast
The sweater pumpkins will also be used to embellish all three Thanksgiving tables — like the Pumpkin Patch Table for Thanksgiving centerpiece.
And, at each setting with be a personalized, photo place card.
I made my husband a Native American, because he was medicine man in two different YMCA Indian Guide tribes with our sons, when they were in elementary school. Here he is as either Mohican Big Buffalo, or Soaring Eagle of the Mighty Utes.
The program is very popular here, and has offered generations of parents and kids structured opportunities for fellowship, camping, crafting, and community activities and service. It was a wonderful experience for our family.
Do or did any of your kids or grandkids participate in Indian Guides?
Related Post Picks
Hop on Board
Time to hop. Your next destination is to Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson. You’re gonna love her unique color combination on the Thanksgiving table and charming vintage knick knacks.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Wishing you all a most wonderful Thanksgiving! I’ll bee taking a little break to make merry. Family starts arriving in a just couple days for a much-anticipated wedding. It’ll bee ten days of family fun!
Update: Check out Thanksgiving Table Setting: When Three’s a Charm to see the pilgrim and American Indian place cards.
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Deb, your Pilgrim place cards are the best! What a fun way to bring smiles to the Thanksgiving table!
Thanks Cecilia. Though, I’m sure every single family member is going to complain I didn’t use a more flattering photo, LOL! I think I’m going to have a contest where everyone votes for the funniest character.
What a special way to welcome guests to your Thanksgiving table Deb! This is such a clever idea and would be so much fun to see how these faces change from year to year. I hope you all have a fabulous time celebrating together this year. Hugs and Happy Thanksgiving, CoCo
Thanks so much CoCo! I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone’s reaction to their figure — although the cat is now out of the bag, as many follow my blog! Hoping you have a blessed holiday as well. Lovely blog hopping with you,
What a great idea….love all the smiling faces! My husband is a direct descendant of two men on the Mayflower…..so he may be a very distant relative! May you be blessed this Thanksgiving.
So Lee, he might be related to my nieces and nephews! I’m so envious, as I just love history. But, I have really enjoyed finding out quite a lot of details on each ancestor. I was surprised how much information is available on the pilgrims. Hope you have a wonderful holiday too!
These are so fun, Deb! What a great theme to decorate around; I’m sure everyone loves to find their spots at the table! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration!
It should be a great long weekend with family that I’ve been looking forward to for some time. Instead of black Friday shopping, we’ll continue the fun with a buffet luncheon, bowling party, and dinner out at a casual, local restaurant.
Those are the cutest things since the color pink! Just seeing all those tiny heads made me laugh. How fun. And how cools is it to have descendants from the Mayflower! Very cool! I know you’ll enjoy your Thanksgiving. How could you not with that fantastic craft! Pinned!
Cindy, since the color pink? LOL! I love American history and was so excited to make the discoveries. It was a blast seeing their reaction when I showed them the ancestor charts, paintings, etc. But, alas, none in my or my husband’s tree.
This is such an adorable idea!! Your family is going to love seeing these place cards on your Thanksgiving table.
Oh this is SUCH an adorable idea! You are so creative and I am sure your family is going to love these. I guarantee you will bring a smile to every person’s face! Awesome! Shelley
Thanks Shelley, but I didn’t originate the idea. Like many projects, I first found inspiration on Pinterest. I saw a couple of posts where people had done something sorta similar, but with bodies half the size. In that case, they weren’t just place cards but napkin rings! Just slip the napkin through the toilet paper ring — voila!
Debbee, these are crackin’ me up! They are so darn cute, and I can bet there’ll be lots of laughing all day/evening long over these, especially if adult beverages are served. But the best part is how unique they are. Very creative idea! Have a wonderful time!
Me too! Everytime I’m feeling a little stressed with all there is to do (having house guests over 9 days, lots of meals, activities, and the feast), I just take a peek at the figures and can’t help but smile. As I told Shelley, I can’t take credit for concept, but I’m hoping creating the tutorial will make it easy for others. Are you hosting or a guest this year?
These totally made me giggle, Debbee! What a fun and cute idea! Tis fun hopping with you!
What a fun and super creative idea. I love it. Now I need to try and make some.
Marty, I’d love to see your version of the place cards! It was so much fun creating them, I’m thinking of doing other versions of Santa’s elves, or Easter bunnies.
Debbie, this is so fun, creative, and cute! I love it! I hope you have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!
Oh my goodness this is the cutest idea I’ve seen in a long while. I love it!
Thanks Laura! I was actually inspired by some napkin rings I saw on Pinterest a couple of years ago.
This is an adorable idea!
I’ve been wanting to make these for several years Michelle, but had to wait until it was my turn to host Thanksgiving.
This is such a cute idea! You are so fun and creative! thanks for sharing! Have a great week!
Thanks for stopping by Tee, lovely to “meet” you!
What a fun way to make everyone feel like they really were thought of and welcomed.
Sheltie, you’ve articulated exactly my intention! My family always teases about how I love to use place cards. Hoping these will be the best ones yet.
You are unstoppable, girl! I can not believe all the ideas you come up with. These pilgrim place cards are great…and also funny. This left me with a big smile, and I know it will do the same for your family. Hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful. Hugs!
I can’t actually take full credit for the concept. Several years ago I saw a couple posts on Pinterest that doubled as napkin rings. But, no tutorials. I knew they’d look adorable on my empty Mayflower. Wishing you a blessed holiday Bobbi.
this is just so fun! I LOVE it!!!I am sure everyone enjoys seeing their picture on their pilgrim boat!
Thanks Angelina! I’m going to miss all the happy characters sitting on my dining room table after everyone takes theirs home. At least I get to keep mine and my husband’s. Have a great holiday!
Debbee I’m making these!!!! Sooo cute what a clever idea.I’m happy to be hopping along with you, pinned. Hugs!
Oh Katherine, I sure hope you share, blog about it after you do! I’d love to see your version. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Debbee, these are so adorable! How creative you got with these! These remind me of all of the indian and pilgrim crafts we made as kids in school! I don’t think they do that any more. I bet your family will love these!
Thanks Chloe! I wanted to personalize the tables a bit and mix in some whimsy amidst the china, sterling and crystal.
Oh my goodness these photo place cards are adorable! I’m sure everyone will have a blast looking at them and there will be lots of lively conversations at your table. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks so much Michelle. I’ve decided to add a fun “beauty” contest to the day, with everyone voting for best-looking pilgrim and Native American. Prizes will be chocolate candy turkeys!
Oh my goodness this is adorable and hysterical – I love this idea!!! Glad I bumped into this on the Life and Linda link party.
Hi Jennifer, I’m glad you stopped by too — thanks so much!
Deb, these just make me smile! How fun they are, and what a surprise for your guests! I can tell you put a lot of thought into hosting, and I’m sure your family will appreciate that. (I guess the place cards are coming by boat, even if your family isn’t…hee hee!) I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your full house. Many happy wishes to you!
Debbee these are so fun and funny! What a great way to put everyone in a festive and happy mood for such a special day. How cool to have original pilgrim descendants mingling at your feast! Love that Mayflower too.
Thank you so much for joining the hop. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks so much Amber! I really enjoyed making them and can’t wait to see everyone’s reaction. It was great fun taking part in the hop; thanks for all your hard work putting it together.
Oh Crissy, I got quite the giggle of your “by boat” remark, LOL! The cat is out of the bag on the photo place cards since I published the post, but the guys should still all be surprised. Still, my mom and sister couldn’t wait to see them when they arrived last Friday for a family wedding. Thank you for your good wishes and right back at you!
I absolutely love these place cards! This is such a clever idea. I will be featuring it at my Party in Your PJs link party tomorrow night. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome idea.
Nina, that’s great! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and really appreciate the feature.
Oh these are priceless!! What a brilliant idea, and such fun at the table! Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your Pilgrims and Natives!
Thanks so much Barbara! Really appreciate you visiting. A most happy holiday to you too!
These made me giggle. Debbee!
Ann, a great compliment — thanks! Have a wonderful holiday.
Very creative and unique. Love this idea Debbee. Here’s to a happy Thanksgiving.
Thanks so much Linday — I’m so excited for my family to see them! Wishing you a wonderful holiday.
Adorable ideas! These Are so fun and great conversation starter.
Thanks Christy. They were a big success with the family — everyone loved them! And not a one complained about the face photo I picked for them.
I love this idea. Nice change from your typical place cards. I’ll be featuring your post. Thanks for sharing on Sunday’s Best.
Rhonda, really appreciate the feature! I was delighted by everyone’s reaction. They all enjoyed seeing each other’s too. It really personalized the table settings.
Thank you for sharing. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week.
Hi Marilyn! I hope you took it easy after your surgery and let everyone else wait on you for the holiday.
Hi Debbee, this is the cutest idea ever for Thanksgiving place cards! Love them. I’ll be featuring this post on All About Home.
Hi Debra, hope you had a wonderful holiday! I’m thrilled to be featured this week; especially since everyone seems to be rushing on to Christmas. My family got a big kick out of their individual figures. I highly recommend making them; they personalize the table and add a fun factor.
Deb, these are just so cute. I’d like to have the hours you spent making them! Around here, kids would have used them as finger puppets! I’m glad your family enjoyed them. They will be hard to top!
Thanks Kathy. Mostly I worked on them in front of the TV. I think it’d be great if kids used them as puppets. Others have made them as napkin rings.
What a fun idea! Pinned and will be doing this this Thanksgiving!
I’m delighted to hear that! Let me know how it turns out.
These are soooo clever!! I love them!! So glad you’re blogging, you’re talented!!
Thanks for visiting! We initially “met” via Pinterest several years ago, and I remember you being one of those who encouraged me to start my own blog. Here I am, now 3 years later!
Oh, how fun these place cards are!! You are so creative. Pinned.
Glad you enjoyed them Allyson. My family got a big kick out of them. Hope you have a happy, healthy holiday!
These are awesome, so cute! Thanks for the great idea and Happy Thanksgiving!
Glad you like ’em Denise! Appreciate you stopping by. Let me know if you make some and how they turn out.
These are too cute! I’m featuring them on today’s Crafty Creators. Congrats!
Thanks ever so much Niki! Now that my son and nephew are engaged, I had to make another pilgrim and Indian for the feast!