Check out this Thanksgiving paper craft that doubles as an excellent STEAM activity, too! Our Thanksgiving craft is a terrific way to explore how 3D images can be created. Take your two-dimensional Thanksgiving activities up a notch with our printable 3D templates.  Create a Thanksgiving paper craft project that is perfect for older kids, too!


How To Make 3D Art

What is 3D art and craft all about? A three dimensional craft explores height, width, and depth in the space that it occupies. There are two important processes for creating a 3D craft. These processes are called additive and subtractive (there’s a bit of math for your STEAM)!

Additive is the process of using your materials to build up the craft, Subtractive is the process of removing pieces of material to create depth. This 3D Thanksgiving paper craft uses the additive process to build up the materials and create the three dimensional effect.

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More 3D art characteristics include balance, proportion, and rhythm which you will see as you build this Thanksgiving craft! Rhythm refers to the repetitive lines or shapes which you can see with the frames. Balance is how the pieces work with one another (not stand up) and proportion is all about how the elements work with one another and look like they belong together.

The frames you will create are also considered forms. They are solid, geometric shapes or organic shapes that take-up space and create volume and mass for the project. More awesome math to add into your Thanksgiving STEAM project!


Two dimensional art is what we typically think of when we think of arts and crafts. These include photography, paintings, drawings and most of the hand print and paper plate crafts as well.


3D Thanksgiving Papercraft Supplies List

Below you will find everything you need to make this unique Thanksgiving paper craft to explore three dimensional crafting. Add it to your STEAM club, library group, classroom project, or home activity.

Think about how you can use basic elements from this 3D paper activity to create unique scenes of your own.


How To Put Together Your 3D Thanksgiving Papercraft

While you go about assembling your three dimensional Thanksgiving paper craft keep in mind what you read above about forms, balance, proportion, and rhythm. This neat STEAM activity checks off all the boxes along the way!

STEP 1:  Choose Your Layers

First, you will want to decide on the color for each layer. You may want to use different shades of orange and red craft papers to create the balance. This 3D Thanksgiving craft has 4 layers, so you’ll need 4 different shades of paper.

Cut all 4 sheets the same size, 5.5 inches X 3.5 inches.

If you plan to do this with a group and your time is limited or skill level is limited, cut out the pieces beforehand.

STEP 2: Draw & Cut Out Each Layer

Take the sheet of craft paper you have selected for the front layer. Use a pencil to draw the front layer pattern on the sheet from our printable template or simply draw a large circle.

Remember you want to create form, balance, proportion, and rhythm. These four frames you will be making create form.

Once you have the front layer down, one by one trace the layer patterns on each sheet to create all four forms. Make sure to keep an ombre color sequence while tracing the patterns.

Then use an x-acto knife to cut out the traced patterns.

The front layer cutout should be the biggest and the rest of patterns should get smaller towards the bottom layer. This gradual size change creates a nice proportion. 

Note: This part may be best done by an adult.


STEP 3: Cut Out Your Foam

Next, you need to cut out the materials for creating depth! Grab some craft foam, and cut out thin strips to fit the edges of each paper layer. You will need 16 strips for this paper craft.

This is where you are exploring the additive process that is an important part of 3D craft making. Remember a 3D paper craft is defined by height and depth!

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STEP 4: Glue The Frame

Time to create the depth you will need for your 3D Thanksgiving craft!

Glue each piece of foam to the outer edge of each paper layer.


STEP 5: Attach Fence & Grass

Before you glue together the layers, make sure to cut out and glue the fence and grass to your bottom layer (as shown in the photo below).


STEP 6: Glue The Layers Together

Apply a layer of glue along each foam piece and carefully attach the second bottom paper layer to bottom layer.

Glue and attach the next layer onto the second bottom layer and so on until all layers are glue together.


STEP 7: Cut Out & Attach Thanksgiving Pieces

Trace and cut out the other items (leaves, pumpkin etc.) from paper. 


Then take the cutouts and attach them to the backside of any layer with a dab of glue. 


STEP  9: Create The Background

Select a paper for the empty background.  Pick a color that pops for the layer behind the house!

You can either cut the paper to the layer size (5.5 inches X 3.5 inches) or cut to the size to fill the background space (the bottom layer cutout).

Glue the background paper on the backside paper.


Allow the glue to dry, frame your Thanksgiving paper craft, and hang it up for a terrific Thanksgiving decoration year after year. What a fun way to spend an afternoon with a Thanksgiving STEAM project!


Click on the photos below for more great ideas to enjoy your holiday season this winter.

Printable Thanksgiving Project Pack

STEMS-Giving Pack! A full menu of Thanksgiving dinner science activities, secret codes, and more!

What’s Included:

  • STEMS-Giving! A feast of science and STEM with simple experiments and projects for home or classroom!
  • Even More Thanksgiving theme STEM activities with printable sheets, instructions, and useful information all using easy-to-source materials and perfect for limited time needs. Includes a Thanksgiving theme engineering pack with fun, problem-based challenges for kids to solve!
  • Got STEAM? Try a turkey in a disguise challenge with writing prompts and more! Also color by code turkeys in disguise!
  • Try your hand at building shapes with cranberry structure challenge cards.
  • Discover Thanksgiving brick-building challenges perfect for early finishers, quiet time, hands-on math, or family time.