Garden Lifestyle

Making Paper Vegetables for Thanksgiving

Are you feeling a little let down because gardening season is over? Then it’s time to get crafty and make your own vegetables with a little paper and some glue.

  • Decorating with fall vegetables is a harvest tradition.
    Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey
  • Assemble all the materials and then gather the family for some crafty fun.
    Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey

Gardening season may be over for this year, but we can still have fun with vegetables. Instead of starting from seeds or transplants, these homemade papier-mâché vegetables are made from newspaper, tissue paper and that miracle goo called Mod Podge.

It’s a harvest tradition to decorate with fall vegetables, but that doesn’t mean the vegetables have to be edible. These papier-mâché veggies make for an enjoyable afternoon or evening of crafting, whether working alone or with family and friends. Use the appetizing creations to create an inexpensive centerpiece to brighten your Thanksgiving table. 

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Tissue paper in assorted colors (look for orange, yellow, brown, dark reds, etc.)
  • Sheets of newspaper
  • Mod Podge (or another water-based sealer found at craft stores)
  • Inexpensive paint brushes
  • Small disposable dishes
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape

Instructions-Paper-Mâché Vegetables

  1. Cover the table with an old tablecloth or layer of newspaper. Use the rest of the newspaper to make the vegetable forms.
  2. Crumple newspaper into the shapes of favorite fall vegetables like squash, gourds, small pumpkins, potatoes, eggplants, carrots, etc. Secure the newspaper shapes with masking tape (cover areas with especially dark print). Keep in mind the charm of these vegetables will be in their imperfections.
  3. Use tape to craft stems for those vegetables that need them; tape down the stems.
  4. Cut small (3 or 4-inch) squares of tissue paper in the colors you want to use for each vegetable.
  5. Pour some Mod Podge in the disposable dish. Brush the sealer on a small area of the vegetable and apply a piece of tissue paper. Continue overlapping tissue paper to cover the vegetable. 
  6. Let vegetables dry and then add more tissue paper in layers until the vegetable is covered and you’re satisfied with the results.
  7. Cover the stems with brown or green tissue paper.

Let the vegetables dry thoroughly. Then arrange in a basket, cornucopia or other seasonal container. Add silk leaves, ornamental grass plumes and other embellishments to make your centerpiece complete. (And be sure to post pictures of your vegetable centerpiece here.)

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