DIY Air Dry Clay Turkey Handprint Craft

Two handprint Thanksgiving turkeys made with clay

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I was in search of a new turkey keepsake craft to do with my children, ages 2 and 5.  I love making keepsake crafts.

A local craft center was offering a ceramic turkey craft that looked so cute. 

Unfortunately, I have to work the day of the activity, so I decided to try my own version at home.  Since I don’t have a ceramic studio or access to a kiln at home, I decided to purchase some Crayola Air Dry clay from Michael’s to make my turkey.

Turkey Keepsake Craft

This turkey craft came out so cute.  It was easy to do, and my children had so much fun making it.  It came out so good that her best friend was going to come over to make one instead of going to the class.

The DIY turkey was much cheaper than going to the ceramic studio.  Only $7.00 for the clay (after using a 50% off coupon). I already had the paints and glue.  That beats the $30 per child they were going to charge at the ceramic studio.

This project is great for children of all ages.  It’s a great 1st Thanksgiving craft to do with a new baby.  It works with children all the way up to middle school.  Of course, the bigger the hand, the more clay you will use, but a lot comes in one container.


Air Dry Clay.  I used the Crayola brand.

Acrylic paint- I used brown, red, yellow, orange, and green.  Acrylic paint can be purchased at any craft store.

Pen or pencil

Hot Glue

Exacto knife or any knife with a sharp point.

small rolling pin or Play-Doh rolling tool

Black Sharpie to make the eyes

Air Dry Clay Handprint Turkey Craft Directions

Step 1:   The first thing you will do is make the handprint.  I used a placemat on my table.  You want to roll the clay out on a smooth surface like a plastic placemat or parchment paper to prevent the clay from sticking. 

You can have your child roll out the clay if they are old enough.  It should be about 1/4 inch thick.  Ensure you roll enough out that your child’s hand fits on it. 

Using your pen or pencil, trace your child’s hand. After you trace your child’s hand, use an Exacto knife or a pointy knife to cut out their hand.  Do not let the children use any sharp objects at any time. 

Please remove the knife from the work area after this step is completed to ensure your child will not pick it up or hurt themselves.

Child making handprint in air dry clay to make the Thanksgiving turkey.

Step 2:  This is when you make your turkey; your child’s hand is drying. Take one large piece of clay to make the turkey’s body and one smaller piece to make the turkey’s head. 

Have your child roll the pieces into a smooth ball.  The body should be as big as your child’s palm in their handprint.

After you make the body and head, place the head on top of the body and press down slightly.  You want the head to stick to the body.

After you put the turkey’s body together, you will make the beak.  Take a small piece of clay and make a triangle shape. 

Press it into the middle of the turkey’s head.  Next, you are going to make the waddle. 

Roll another small piece of clay to look like a little snake.  After you make the snake shape, curve the end and stick it on the turkey next to the beak.

Air dry Thanksgiving turkey head and body.

Let your turkey dry overnight.  When your turkey is fully dry, it will be hard and completely solid, not squishy at all.

When your project is dry, it is time to paint.

Little girl painting her air dry clay handprint in Thanksgiving colors.

Step 3:  Paint your turkey the way your child likes.  We painted our turkey brown and used red, green, brown, yellow, and orange for the feathers.

I held the hand as my daughter painted it so that she could paint the front and the back.  We also used the air dry clay container to let the hand dry on.

Air dry clay handprint drying

Let dry

Step 4: Hot glue the handprint to the back of the turkey’s body when your project is completely dry. 

Use a good amount of glue to ensure that it will stick. 

Lay the on its back so the handprint is on the table and the turkey is facing up to let the glue dry. While our turkey was drying, I used a black Sharpie to make the eyes.

Completed air dry clay Thanksgiving handprint turkey.

It took two days to complete this project.

More ideas for your turkey:  You can use clay to make wings for your turkey.  Use the black Sharpie to write your child’s name and year on your turkey.  Use the black Sharpie to write Happy Thanksgiving on your turkey.

Did your turkey come out great?  Would you like to see a picture of it on  E-mail pictures to  Turkey pictures will be uploaded to our site.

Happy Thanksgiving