How to make a turkey display for Thanksgiving appetizer skewers. Kids will love this project, and it may even help them eat their veggies.
One day, when my son and I were hanging out at mall, we came across a cute appetizer skewer display. It was basically a wooden board shaped like a hedgehog with holes in the back to hold the skewers. The skewers stuck out in various directions, looking like the hedgehog’s spines.
My son thought it was cute, and so did I.
Thanksgiving was nearing. So, it occurred to me that I could make something similar in the shape of a turkey. My idea was that the skewers would become the turkey’s colorful tail.
This might be a silly project, but my son liked it. He was excited to eat the turkey’s tail.
A toddler excited to eat some fruit and veggie skewers?
I’d say that’s a win-win!
How to make the Turkey Skewer Holder
The first time I tried making a Thanksgiving appetizer display, I have to admit that I wasn’t completely happy with the final result. I knew my young son liked it, but was otherwise a bit embarrassed about how childish it was.
At first, I thought it was because I had painted the turkey in bright colors and it looked too much like a cartoon.
Later, though, I realized that it was because I couldn’t fan out the tail enough on the turkey display I had made. The focus was on the display itself more than on the food. It also needs the addition of many appetizer skewers to actually look like a turkey and not like a duck.
I decided to give my silly craft another shot, and this time made the display differently. By switching the perspective (looking at the turkey face on rather than from the side), I was able to fan out the turkey’s tail much further.
In the end, I have to admit that I really like the second version of my Thanksgiving skewer holder. It doesn’t need as many skewers in place to actually look like a turkey, and I also quite like his cute face.
You will need:
- Wooden board scraps (At least 1.8mm thick)
- Drill with small drill bit ( around 3mm)
- Bamboo skewers
- Wood glue
- Optional: paint and googly eyes
1. Trace out the body shape of a turkey onto a wooden board.
For the first version, draw the turkey’s silhouette from the side.
For the turkey as seen from the front, you’ll need to cut 2 different shapes: one circular-shaped piece with a flat bottom for the body and one shaped like a bowling pin for the head and neck. (See photo below) (I traced a bowl to help draw the circular shape of the body.)
For either model, you’ll also need to cut a separate piece that will serve as a stand that will hold your turkey up. Make a rounded piece with a flat base (3-4 inches long and around 1 inch in height) with a slit in the center of the rounded part.
You’ll also want to make a slit in the bottom of the turkey that will fit with the slit in the stand. Each slit should have a width of the size of the thickness of the boards you are using. That will ensure that you can fit one piece inside the other snugly. Both slits should be around 1cm (1/2 inch) in length.
2. Using a jigsaw, cut the drawn pieces from the board. Sand the pieces, and check to see if the stand piece fits into the bottom of the turkey piece. (Place the slit of the stand piece into the slit of the turkey piece as shown below.) Make any needed adjustments until it fits.
3. Drill the holes for the skewers. I used a 3mm drill bit meant for wood. Use a size that will snugly hold the size of the skewers that you plan on using.
Make holes around 1cm deep into the turkey display along its back where the tail should be. Have some of the holes go straight down the back of the turkey down the center of the board. Slightly angle some holes along the edges. You can also add a row of more skewers along the sides that angle down even further. Be careful when doing the angled drilling not to drill your holes all the way through to the other side!
4. Test out your holes with the skewers and adjust them as needed.
5. You can optionally paint your turkey. For a more formal get together, perhaps leaving it as a silhouette would look a bit classier. I wanted my son to have fun with it, though, so he helped me decide on the colors to paint my turkey.
6. You can optionally glue on some googly eyes. I also glued on a craft foam waddle and beak for my second turkey display.
6. If you have made the second model type turkey, you’ll need to glue the head-and-neck piece to the body piece. Do this step with the stand in place to make sure that you don’t interfere with where the stand needs to go.
I used rubber bands to help hold the turkey together while the glue dried.
7. Once the glue has dried, your turkey display is done. All you need to do now is fill it with some appetizer skewers!
Making the Appetizer Skewers
For the appetizer skewers, you can use any combination of fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses. I found that round ingredients like olives, grapes, blueberries, and cherry tomatoes were the easiest to use and made a cute addition to the skewers.
These are some of the foods I’ve used on skewers.
- Thick slices of ham, or even more fitting, turkey ham. 😉
- Thickly sliced cheese.
- Thick slices of fruits like apples, pears, or persimmons.
- Slices of cucumbers
- Pieces of bell peppers
- Sliced cured sausage slices like chorizo
If cutting slices of foods, like cucumber, persimmon, ham, and/or cheese, make the slices thick so that it’s easy to skewer them without the food breaking. It looks especially good if you cut them out with small cookie cutters. I used hearts and squares for mine.
While you want to make the slices thick enough to easily skewer, don’t make the pieces too big or you may overload your turkey!
Load up your turkey on a smooth and stable surface, and enjoy your Thanksgiving appetizer skewers in your cute turkey display!
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
Thanksgiving skewer holders
- 3mm drill bit
- 1 wooden board
- wood glue
- bamboo skewers
- paint optional
- googly eyes optional
- Trace out turkey shape and stand piece shape onto the wooden boards. (See notes below.)
- Cut out the pieces using a jigsaw.
- Sand the pieces.
- Drill holes for the appetizer skewers. One row of holes should go down the back of the turkey in the center of the board. Make holes coming in from the sides at angles along the edges of the board, between the holes you just made. You can also make holes on the sides of the board, but angle them inwards and be careful not to drill all the way through the wood.
- Optionally paint the turkey and glue on googly eyes.
- Fit the stand piece into the slit cut into the bottom of the turkey display. Make sure it fits properly, and adjust, as needed, until the turkey display properly stands.
- If you made the turkey display in which the turkey is seen from the front, glue the head-and-neck piece to the body piece with wood glue. You can also decorate the face with googly eyes and a craft foam beak and waddle.
- Once the glue has dried, you can use the display!
- Add skewers to the holes you made in the display. Adjust, as needed, to fit them properly and so that they angle out in a way that looks good.