Thanksgiving Pineapple Turkey Centerpiece
A Simple Thanksgiving Centerpiece & Free Printable Pattern
The Pineapple Turkey has been a part of our Thanksgiving decor for what seems like forever. I can’t even remember where I got the idea or the pattern for this adorable holiday centerpiece. My children have seen it on our holiday table since they were very young, and it has become a Thanksgiving staple, along with the real turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.
The Pineapple Turkey is made with a felt head and a fresh pineapple. He lays on the tray of your choice. For years I simply went outside and picked some Southern Magnolia leaves for his bed, cleaned and shined them up and put them under him on a glass tray. When we lived in Pennsylvania, I purchased some leather leaf fern from the local florist to line the tray. The possibilities are endless.
Recently, I decided to share the Pineapple Turkey pattern with my friends. I hosted a crafting party with a “surprise take-home craft.” The Pineapple Turkey was on display and my guests were thrilled when they learned they would be leaving with one of their own, as well as a take-home pattern to share more “turkeys” with their families this year.
Now, it’s time to make your own Pineapple Turkey centerpiece for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Pineapple Turkey
You will need the following materials:
Live Pretty Pineapple Turkey Thanksgiving Centerpiece Template
1 sheet brown felt
1 sheet yellow felt
1 sheet red felt
1 sheet white felt
1 sheet black felt
1 bag of pillow stuffing
“T” pins (available at most fabric stores)
A needle and thread (I used my sewing machine) OR a hot glue gun and glue sticks
A fresh pineapple from your local grocery store (Try to find one unripe and slightly green with the best looking top of leaves you can find. Those leaves will become the “tail feathers” for your turkey. Additionally, an unripe pineapple will last for at least a week on your counter before it ripens and can be eaten.)
A tray and greenery/flowers to display your completed centerpiece
First, print the pattern at 100%.
Next, cut out the paper pattern pieces. Pin the pattern pieces to the felt fabric. Each piece is labeled to correspond to the proper colors. Cut two pieces of each pattern piece as directed on the printed pattern: two pieces for the brown head, the yellow beak, the red wattle that hangs below the beak, two white eyes, and two black eyes.
Sew each like-colored pieces together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance matching the colors of the threads, leaving the ends open for stuffing. When sewing the brown head, leave 2 openings: one for the yellow beak and one for the red wattle according to the pattern. (Or skip the sewing and go for your glue gun. Just be sure to leave an opening.) Next, stuff with pillow filling. Use a pencil or a chopstick to control the filling as you stuff the pieces, especially the small pieces.
Flatten the open ends of the beak and wattle to allow room for straight pins and sewing. Pin into the brown head openings and sew (or glue) all pieces together. Glue the black and white eyes onto the brown head.
Attach Turkey’s head to the bottom of the pineapple with the “T” pins.
Lay him on a tray with greens or on a bed of flowers.
If you chose to create a floral bed, here are some tips to make the arrangement last longer. You will need Oasis, that green stuff that holds water for flower arrangements. You can purchase Oasis at craft stores. (Be sure to buy Oasis, not Styrofoam, which doesn’t absorb water.) Soak the Oasis in water containing the water conditioner that comes in packets with cut flowers.
When soaking Oasis, dissolve the water conditioner in a bucket of lukewarm water. Gently place the Oasis on the top of the water in the bucket. Let the Oasis take its time soaking up the water. Do not push the Oasis into the water. An air lock might form, forcing air into the center of the Oasis instead of water and depriving the flowers of water. Let the Oasis take its time sinking to the bottom of the bucket.
Remove the Oasis from the water after it has been completely soaked. Cut Oasis in half longways (I recommend using a serrated bread knife). Scoop out the center to form a slight long U-shaped bed for the pineapple to lay upon.
Buy a few mums of various colors at the local grocery store. Put lukewarm water into a wide bowl or bucket in your kitchen sink. Add the floral prep from the little packet that comes with the flowers. Allow the flowers to sit in this water for a few minutes before cutting each flower stem under the prepared water. Cutting them in this way will prevent an air lock from forming in the stem and will keep the flowers fresh for a longer period.
Next, place Turkey on his Oasis bed. Trim each stem in random lengths of 3, 4 and 5”. Put each mum into the oasis surrounding Turkey. Allowing some flowers to have longer stems than other gives you some “relief” in your arrangement. Your Turkey will look like he is on a luau bed of flowers.
Fill the tray (avoiding spill-over) with the left-over conditioned water.
Check the water daily. The flowers and Oasis will soak up some water each day so you can continue adding water as needed.
Your Thanksgiving Pineapple Turkey can be stored in a refrigerator to maintain freshness. My last turkey sat out on my kitchen counter for an entire week before he started to smell like a sweet pineapple. Then, he was sliced and eaten. (What is better than fresh pineapple?)
Wow your family and guests this Thanksgiving. It’s so simple, and the turkey “head” can be saved to enjoy year after year. Thank you for allowing me to share one of my favorite holiday traditions. I hope you will make it one of your own.
I would love to see photos of your Thanksgiving Pineapple Turkeys! Add a comment below if you need any sewing or floral arranging tips.
UPDATE: Special thanks to our reader Ginger, for sharing her tip to use a hot glue gun as an alternative to sewing!