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.
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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