DIY: Keep Your Turkey Company with Beautiful Photo Place Holders

Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

The Holidays are quickly approaching, and it’s time to get crafty.

So what are you bringing to the table?

It may be all about the turkey, dressing and casseroles, but these handmade table place holders are sweeter than pumpkin pie.

This DIY tutorial incorporates some of our favorite things: photos (duh!), tiny pumpkins (yay!) and Thanksgiving (yum!).

They’ll make your dinner table look *awesome*, and they’ll show your loved ones how much they mean to you.

Now isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about?

Why it’s cool:

ingred-smShow your family what Thanksgiving means to you.

Even if you’re not hosting the big dinner, bringing these to the table is sure to be a hit.

These two projects keep it simple and make a statement.

Make photo place settings that list reasons why you’re thankful for each person on the back.

They’re quick and easy to make, and the gesture will go a long way.

Or make a family tree centerpiece that incorporates your loved ones near and far.

It will brighten up the table, and maybe even get you an extra slice of pie! (score!)

Photo Table Settings:



  • Photographs
  • Cardstock
  • Glue
  • Regular Scissors
  • Scalloped Edge Scissors
  • Pen and Pencil
  • Ruler
  • 18-gauge Floral Wire
  • Baby Pumpkins

STEP 1: Prep Images:

paint-smChoose your favorite photo of each person, or even a pic of you two together.

If you don’t have photos of them, choose one that represents a happy memory or something special about them.

Use editing software to adjust the color and contrast, or turn them black and white.

Size each photo to 2.5″ square. This could be larger or smaller, depending on the size of your table, plates, and pumpkins.

Print them out using photo paper in your home printer, or take them to a nearby photo lab.

TIP: Make a mockup with a few different sizes before you print the photos. That way you can see which size will work best in your setting.

Step 2: Cut Photos:

paint-smTrim your photos with normal scissors to a little larger than you want them to be.

Use a pair of scalloped edge scissors to give your photos that old-timey feel. You can pick these up at any craft store.

Go around all four sides of the photo with the scalloped edge.

TIP: Be creative. You can cut your images square, with or without a border, or go for funky shapes… circles, stars, you name it!

Step 3: Cut Card stock:

paint-smTo give your photo place card some stability, you’ll want to attach it to a piece of card stock.

Measure your image and determine how much of a border you want around the photograph.

To get a 1/4″ border on each side of your photo, place your photo in the corner, and measure 1/2″ larger than your picture.

Draw your lines and use regular scissors and cut out your shape..

Step 4: Glue:

paint-smPut a thin layer of glue on the backside of your photo.

Make sure to spread it evenly, lumpy photos won’t look so hot.

Center the photo, and press it into place.

Let it dry.

TIP: Don’t forget the edges! Make sure you cover those scalloped edges with glue. That will keep them from sticking up at the end.

Step 5: Write:

paint-sm After your images are completely dry, flip them over on a clean surface.

Write why you’re thankful for them on the backside of the place card.

TIP: Practice what you will say and your handwriting on another piece of paper before putting it on the back of your photo.

Step 6: Wrap Wire:

paint-smCut your wire into 12″ sections.

Take the top part, and wrap it around your fingertip 3 times to make a tight spiral for the photo to sit in.

Wrap the bottom of the wire to the stem of the pumpkin.

You want to make sure it has a good grip, and won’t fall over when you place the photo in the top.

TIP: If your pumpkin has a very short stem, you can use a bit of glue to hold your wire in place. Be sure to let it dry before putting your photo in the top. The thicker the wire (smaller gauge number), the stronger it will be. Stronger wire will hold it’s shape better.

Step 7: Position Photo:

paint-smNow, place your photo in between that spiral you made at the top.

Check its stability, and make any adjustments necessary to keep it in place.

You might need to reposition some of the wire at the bottom, or squeeze that spiral a little tighter.

Place your pumpkin in the center of your plates.

Set your table, and oh yea, invite your family to dinner!

Family Tree Centerpiece:



  • Photographs
  • Cardstock
  • Glue
  • Xacto or Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Vase/Jar
  • Small Pebbles
  • Tree Branches
  • 18-gauge Floral Wire
  • Floral Tape (optional)
  • Decorative Berries (optional)

Step 1: Prep Images:

paint-sm Gather the images you want to use for your family tree.

Edit and size them on the computer, then print them out.

We made our images 2″ x 3″ to fit our branches. You may want yours bigger or smaller.

Use an Xacto or scissors to cut them down to size.

Step 2: Make Leaves:

paint-sm Pencil in a leaf shape on the photo itself.

Use scissors to cut it out.

Next, place the leaf on a colored piece of card stock. This will be the backside of each leaf.

Cut the card stock to the exact size of the photograph, or leave a little border for some colorful accents.

TIP: Draw out a few leaf shapes on a scratch piece of paper first to get a feel for what you like. Using a stencil could help, but they don’t all have to be perfect.

Step 3: Glue Wire:

paint-sm Glue together the photograph, card stock, and wire.

Place a thin layer of glue on the card stock, and sandwich the wire between the card stock and the photo.

Let it dry completely.

Step 4: Wrap Wire:

paint-smOnce your glue has dried, you can start wrapping your leaves onto the branches.

Place the leaf at the end of the branch.

Tuck the branch behind the photo, and start wrapping the wire.

TIP: You’ll be able to adjust the placement after it’s attached, so don’t worry about that too much right now.

Step 5: Cover Wire:

paint-smThis step is optional, but can look great if you choose to do it.

Wrap your wire and the branch with brown floral tape.

This will make it blend the wire with the branch, and give a nice, finished look to your centerpiece.

This tape stretches and sticks to itself. Start on the inside of the branch, wrap down to the photo leaf, then back up.

Step 6: Bend into Place:

paint-smNow you’ve given the branch some stability and flexibility by adding the wire.

You can bend your photo leaves to face the direction you desire.

The colored card stock on the back makes sure it looks good from all angles!

Repeat Steps 1 through 6 for the rest of your photos.

Step 7: Set It Up:

paint-smOnce you’ve secured all of your leaves on your branches, place them in a jar or vase filled with pebbles.

Add some decorative berries to fill out the inside of those bare branches, and add some fall colors to your table.

Place these on the center of your table to really bring the family together!

More Thanksgiving Ideas

  • Use photos as paper leaves to make a Family Tree Centerpiece.
  • Make a Photo Cornucopia. Ask guests to bring pics of what they are thankful for.
  • Set up a Photobooth after dinner to capture (thank)full expressions.