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Kids' Tables Centerpiece

Entertain young guests with playful table decor that they can help make before the meal. 




Everyone looks forward to Thanksgiving, but sitting through a long meal can be a challenge for kids. A special decorated kids' table will ensure a pleasant gathering for everyone. And with supervision, kids can help make all of these projects. A miniature Mayflower sets sail on a map tablecloth, while Paper-Boat Place Cards guide young guests to their seats.

Did You Know?

Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official national holiday in 1863, more than two centuries after the first Thanksgiving feast.



  1. Step 1

    Print out templates. Trace one boat bottom and two boat sides onto thin cardboard, and trace the sails onto white paper; cut out all the shapes.

  2. Step 2

    Form the hull (the body of the boat) by attaching the sides to the bottom with masking tape placed on the inner seams.

  3. Step 3

    To make the hull look wooden, trace two additional side templates onto a piece of veneer, and cut them out with a utility knife.

  4. Step 4

    Brush the outside of the cardboard hull with white glue, and affix the veneer panels. Glue lengths of 3/8-inch-wide satin ribbon over the seams at the bow and the stern.

  5. Step 5

    For the mast, cut a thin wooden dowel to the desired height. Punch holes in the sails (as indicated on the template), and weave the mast through the holes.

  6. Step 6

    Fill the ship with fruits and nuts, and insert the mast and sails.

  7. Step 7


    A feather dresses up a simple twill-tape napkin wrap, which doubles as a headdress during -- and after -- the feast. Cut a small hole in the center of a 27-inch-long piece of twill tape.

  8. Step 8


    Insert a clean feather (available from florists' shops) in the hole, and stitch to secure. Center the feather on the front of a folded napkin, and tie the tape loosely at the napkin's back.

Martha Stewart Living, November 1999



Reviews (10)

  • TheGreenMama 16 Nov, 2013

    Did not enlarge and so it was really small. That is ok because this is the perfect size ( when not enlarged) for individual favors for my young children. Could not find veneer so use faux wood linoleum from Home Depot. Also used the 1/8" dowel but not thrilled so will use a skewer.

  • xack1 24 Nov, 2010

    (original post disappeared)

  • xack1 24 Nov, 2010

    Made this today with kids ages 3, 4

  • Blax 22 Nov, 2010

    O.K., I ended up enlarging 135%.
    Plus I added about a 1/4" line on each side of the boat bottom following the curve. I included little 'v's to cut out. This makes it easier to tape together. I also just used a wooden skewer cut down to size and placed in a little of Crayola's Model Magic for the mast, this way it will stand up on it's own. If you have any leftover halloween candy, you can put candy CORN itside too.

  • Blax 22 Nov, 2010

    Maybe try some scrapbooking papaer in a "wood" look?
    Also, I did enlarge the template for the boat and sails to 125%.

  • HWalz 17 Nov, 2010

    Are you suppose to enlarge the template? How big? I found veneer at Menards (hardware store in the Midwest) but it was expensive ($20-$25).

  • bethybond 15 Nov, 2010

    having trouble finding veneer. where did you get it?

  • ellawood 24 Nov, 2009

    HELP!! I was going to make theis for my daughters table and can not get the immage from here - it is just a blank page ...

  • k2riddle 18 Nov, 2009

    The veneer would look gorgeous but I am going to print out the boat hull shapes as a photographic wood texture.

  • SuzieinGA 22 Nov, 2008

    I think I would use corn husk strips to replace the veneer. It could be painted brown.