DIY Turkey Button Ornament

Ever since I bought my little metal tree last month, I have been brainstorming ornaments to fill up its branches for various holidays.  One of the tutorials on making ornaments that inspired me was by Martha Stewart featuring Christmas ornaments that can be made from colored buttons and pipe cleaners.  Here is the link:

I thought it might be fun to attempt a Thanksgiving turkey ornament using my collection of colored buttons.  It took 61 buttons and approximately 4 pipe cleaners to make this little guy, feel free to use more or less buttons to create your own turkey…

DIY Turkey Button Ornament

Buttons of various colors and thicknesses (I used shades of brown, red, yellow, and orange)
Pipe cleaners (1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange, and 1 brown)
Bronze jewelry wire & scissors

Begin by cutting the red, yellow, and orange pipe cleaners in half.  You will use half of a pipe cleaner to make each turkey feather.  Keep the brown pipe cleaner whole.

Here are three of the four pipe cleaner halves I used for the feathers.

Instead of using colored pipe cleaners to match the buttons, as I did, you could use all one color of pipe cleaner, ie: brown.  If you choose to do that, you will need 2 pipe cleaners to make the feathers and 1 pipe cleaner for the body.

Once you have cut the pipe cleaners in half for the feathers, twist one end of each color: red, yellow, and orange, to secure it so that the buttons do not slip off.

See how the end of the orange pipe cleaner is twisted to make a little nub? The buttons won't slip off if you do this!

Begin stringing buttons of various sizes and widths onto the corresponding colored pipe cleaners for the feathers.  Start with the smallest buttons at the end that is twisted to make a point (see previous step), and end with the largest button at the open end.  I found it helpful to lay out the buttons in the order that I wanted to string them on the pipe cleaners to plan out the look of each feather and also, for the body.

Here are the buttons for the head.

I wanted to show the reverse side of the large button. You can vary the colors just by flipping the buttons to see which side you prefer.

Once you have finished each feather to your liking, twist each pipe cleaner at the bottom of the largest button to secure the stack of buttons.

Here are the button feathers. You can vary the sizes, shapes, and thicknesses of the buttons to create a unique look to each one.

Then trim off the excess pipe cleaner, leaving about 1 1/2″ of pipe cleaner.  See photo.

Here are all the feathers, clipped and ready to be attached to the turkey.

Next, start the turkey body by securing a small red button (or bead) to the end of the brown pipe cleaner.  Twist the pipe cleaner after the button.

Here is the brown pipe cleaner.

A closer view of the red "wattle" button.

Then begin the turkey head and neck.  I used approximately 5 buttons for the head, and 6 buttons for the neck.  I started the head with smaller buttons to make a bit of a “snout.”  Make a twist in the pipe cleaner after stringing on the head and again after the neck to secure the buttons.

This is the head of the turkey. The neck will begin after the twist (the knobby thing on the pipe cleaner after the largest button).

Continue stringing on additional buttons of various thicknesses after the twist at the bottom of the neck to make the rest of the body.  Stop when the buttons on the turkey body reach the twist in the pope cleaner after the head.

Here is the entire turkey body. You can see the segments of buttons here for the head, neck, and body.

This is another view of the entire body. You can see that the size of the buttons on the body portion (after the neck) lines up with the twist/knot under the head if the pipe cleaner is looped around.

Loop the pipe cleaner around the twist at the bottom of the head portion a few times to make a circular “body” shape and cut off any excess brown pipe cleaner.

The body is finished. Now the feathers can be attached to the back. If you want to make legs, attach them at the twist in the pipe cleaner in between the neck and the body, at the bottom of the photo.

Attach the feathers to the back of the circular turkey “body” and twist the red, yellow, and orange pipe cleaners to secure them, cutting off any excess pipe cleaner if needed.

Optional: attach wire feet to the turkey using jewelry wire.  I left the turkey plain.

Use an additional piece of jewelry wire to make a hook to hang the ornament.  I will post a picture of the ornament on the tree tomorrow!