To decorate this year’s Thanksgiving table, I’ve hand painted some fun turkey glasses.


Dear hubby and I had been hoping to spend Thanksgiving with our adult sons in Philadelphia. Because of the horrible-no-good-very-bad-awful virus, our small gathering of seven is now five down to four in Pittsburgh.

Regardless of the size, I think it’s still important to count our blessings, eat a fairly traditional meal (even if scaled back), and set a festive table. So, I decided to do a little craft therapy, by painting glasses with a pilgrim hat topped gobbler.

If you’re hopping over from Rebecca’s of Zucchini Sisters and her adorable DIY gnome garland, welcome! Seventeen talented bloggers are sharing their creative endeavors this month.

Here, I’ll show how to paint Thanksgiving turkey glasses in five easy steps, using my template method.

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Fun Holiday & Party Craft


All that’s really required to paint a wine stem or water goblet, is a steady hand and the ability to hold a paint brush.

You don’t have to be an artist or even artistic. Really!

With just a little help and direction, even a child can freehand paint or use a template to craft their own festive holiday glass.

I first painted wine glasses as tableware and favors for a My Favorite Things Party. It began with freehand painting large feathers as Peacock Party Favors, Gifts and Prizes.

Casual St. Patrick’s Day Table & DIY Shamrock Glasses were also painted freehand, but on Dollar Tree beer pilsners.

Painting glasses became a tradition for my annual theme parties. But to make 16 Breakfast at Tiffany theme champagne flutes, I first needed to figure out how to create a template of Holly Golightly’s silhouette.

See them in Terrific Tiffany Theme Party Favors and Gifts.

Later, the same template method was applied to paint four different Wonderland characters — on 20 glasses — from vintage imagery. They were part of 12 Alice in Wonderland Party Favor Ideas & Crafts.

It’s the same technique I’ll show you for painting Thanksgiving turkey glasses to decorate the table.


However, the turkey is a much simpler design, and easier to replicate.

DIY Thanksgiving Turkey Glasses

For more detailed instructions, pictures and tips using the template method, please also read DIY Hand Painted Glasses & Champagne Flutes.


  • Clear glasses
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paper towels
  • Cotton swabs
  • Paint pen(s)
  • Glass or multi-purpose acrylic paint(s)
  • Paint brush(s)

You’ll also need a ruler, pencil, paper, black marker, and scissors.

Step 1: Prep Glasses

For supplies, I most often use cheap glassware from Dollar Tree. I especially like the large 16.25 ounce stem goblets, because they provide a good amount of surface area for painting. Made of thick clear glass, they also aren’t fragile to handle. Having a stem makes the glasses easy to hold too.

I run glasses through the dishwasher, but you can just wash them in soap and water. Once dry, wipe any outside surfaces you plan to paint with rubbing alcohol.

Step 2:  Create Template

The method I used for the Thanksgiving turkey glasses was to first create a drawing or template. Using a specialty paint pen, that image is then traced onto the glass.

If you plan to freehand a design or image, just skip this step.


First, measure the surface area of the glass you intend to paint. For the Dollar Tree goblets, the area is about 2 1/2″ wide by 3 1/4″ tall. So, I measured out a block of the same dimensions on a piece of paper. Then I drew a turkey wearing a pilgrim hat within that block.

You could also trace an image from a holiday card, newspaper ad or magazine.

Next, I went over the pencil lines with a Sharpie marker. Cut the image block from the piece of paper. You will reuse the same template for each glass.

Step 3: Trace Image On Glass

If you set this up as a craft for children or grandchildren, you may want to have a few basic images for them to trace — like pumpkins. Or, just let them freehand paint fall leaves and whatever inspires them.


Use a small piece of tape to affix the image to the inside of the glass. It helps to insert tissues or paper towels into the glass. That helps to push the image smoothly against the curved edge.

Make sure no part of the painted image is too close to the top of the glass — where lips would touch when drinking beverages.

Step 4: Paint Image

You’ll need to use specialty paints designed for multi-surfaces and/or glass specifically. Some colors or designs may require multiple layers for desired coverage. But, be sure to allow two hours to dry between coats.

Keep rubbing alcohol, paper towels and cotton swabs handy to quickly remove mistakes before the paint dries.

Fortunately, I already had all the paints and pens I need in my craft stash. They were leftover from other glass painting projects, like these Hand Painted, Wedding Champagne Flutes. I painted the exotic birds to match my niece’s unique cake topper. That template was made on the computer by resizing and printing a photograph.

While painting, I find it helpful to lean the stemware on a roll of paper towels. It sorta works like a paint easel lol!

Eight Thanksgiving turkey glasses took me four sessions to paint over several days. Allow drying time between colors so you don’t smear the paint.


The amount of time it takes is dependent on the complexity of your design or image, and the number of colors and glasses.

If kids are doing the painting, just let ’em have some fun! Rubbing alcohol will remove smears and mistakes if done quickly. But, at only a buck per glass, it makes sense to have a couple extras.


Finally, I used a black paint pen to define the edges, and black and white pens for the eyes of the turkey. It’s not necessary, however, to outline the image as I did.


Inspired by the view of our large Bradford Pear tree, I also decided to freehand paint some simple fall leaves on the “foot” of the stemware.


Paint pens also work well for writing guest names or messages like; “Gobble, Gobble” or “Give Thanks” on the glass. They can take the place of wine charms for telling who’s glass is who’s.

Step 5: Cure Paint

It takes at least two hours for the paint to dry. At minimum, you need four days for the glasses to properly cure. But to be top rack, dishwasher safe, requires 21 days of air drying.

However, speed up the curing process by placing the Thanksgiving turkey glasses in a cold oven. Then bake at 350 degree for 30-60 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the glasses cool to room temperature. Check the  directions on the paint label beforehand.


If the kids are painting glasses on Thanksgiving, you can get by with just a few hours to dry. Or, perhaps they could paint them on Wednesday as a craft activity to dry overnight?


As you can see, my painted glasses are nothing fancy. But I think they’ll look cute and festive on the table as water goblets.

You can apply the same template painting technique to create other holiday painted glasses too. For Christmas, there’s lots of imagery to choose from including; snowmen, Santa, elves, trees, wreaths, holly, and wrapped packages.

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This Too Will Pass

Painting the turkey glasses was a good craft activity to keep me busy while I continue to recuperate and heal after foot surgery. Two weeks ago, the second cast was removed and stitches came out (ouch!). Since then, I’ve been in this huge hard boot.


Doesn’t it look like something a Star Wars storm trooper would wear lol?

Time moves like molasses. Especially since I’m still non-weight bearing for another two to three weeks. Most awkward is trying to get comfortable and sleep with the darn boot on. At least now I can remove it to shower and do minor stretching twice a day. Real physical therapy begins in December. By New Years I hope to be in a shoe.

As I write this, despite everyone wearing masks and social distancing, our small Thanksgiving gathering is in doubt. Plan B (or is F?) will be here in Pittsburgh, minus one son and his puppy (sniff!). I’m trying not to get too worried, depressed or upset. Honestly, some days are harder than others.

I’m reminding myself of the hardships and sacrifices of many others. That includes reflecting on how my father-law was captured on Christmas, during the Battle of the Bulge. Dad told an interviewer (and us) that he’d lived a wonderful life. And that he’d live his entire life all over again if he could — both the good with the bad. Read his inspirational story in Salute to a WWII POW Veteran.

Wishing you all the best, as a we try to persevere through these trying times. Here’s to the return of happy, healthy and more prosperous days for all.




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