3D Turkey Centerpiece for Thanksgiving 🦃 Slot-Together Design
Make a 3D turkey centerpiece for Thanksgiving with this papercraft design.
The detailed mandala tail and cute little face are sure to make this Thanksgiving Cricut craft a winner with your family.
The turkey (almost) goes together without the need for any glue, using a clever slot-together technique.
That means you can easily take it apart after Thanksgiving to store it flat in a folder or envelope, ready to get out and make again next year.
Materials supply list
Here is a list of the materials that I used to make this project.
Please note that some of the links included in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
- Cricut machine
- Light blue Cricut cutting mat
- Cricut scoring wheel or Cricut scoring stylus
- Coloured card
- Collall All Purpose glue or similar
- Needle tip applicator bottle
This project is suitable for the following types of Cricut machine: Explore Air 2, Explore Air 3, Maker, Maker 3, Venture and Joy Xtra.
Watch the video below to see how to make this project. Keep scrolling for a written tutorial.
Written tutorial (with photos!)
Here’s how to make your very own 3D Thanksgiving turkey papercraft project using a Cricut machine!
Step 1) Download the cutting file(s) & unzip the downloaded folder
Download the Free Cutting File
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Before you upload the SVG to Design Space, you need to unzip the download folder that it comes in.
- How to unzip a folder on Windows computer
- How to unzip a folder on a Mac
- How to unzip a folder on an iPad/iPhone
- How to unzip a folder on an Android device
Step 2) Upload the SVG file into Design Space
Open up Cricut Design Space and start a new Project.
Click “Upload” and then find your unzipped version of the downloaded files for this project.
Go into the “Cut Files” subfolder and then select the file called svg-3d-turkey-craftwithsarah.svg
This is how it should look after you have uploaded the file:
Make sure you upload the file which starts svg- in the filename!!
After uploading, the design will show in your “Recently Uploaded Images”.
Click on it and then press “Add to Canvas” to put it onto your Project.
The turkey will load in at the correct size to make a finished design that’s just approximately 6.75 inches tall.
You can resize it to make it bigger if you want to make more of an impact with your centerpiece, but I don’t recommend making it smaller as it may get difficult to slot the pieces together.
TIP: If you resize the turkey, make sure the padlock icon above the width/height boxes is CLOSED before you resize. If it appears “open”, click it with your mouse to close it.
Step 3) Format the score lines
Some of the pieces of the turkey have score lines to make them easier to put together.
If you don’t have a scoring stylus or scoring wheel for your Cricut machine (or if you are using the Cricut Joy Xtra), you can delete the score lines.
However, if you do have one, here’s how to format them so that your Cricut knows to score them.
First, click the design and press the “Ungroup” button.
Click one of the wing pieces that is connected to the body with the feather cutouts, as shown below.
This will highlight two layers in the layers panel.
Click the layer that looks like four little lines.
Change it to “Score” under the Operations dropdown.
Select the score line and the feathery body piece and press “Attach” to join the score line to the body.
Repeat those steps for the other side of the turkey wing.
Scroll to the right and downwards on the Canvas until you see the two small brown pieces shown below:
These pieces of card are how the beak is attached to the turkey. They also have a score line that needs formatting.
Change each of the lines to a Score, then Attach to its relevant matching piece.
Step 4) Cut out the project from cardstock
When you’re happy with how the project is looking in Design Space, click “Make It” and follow the instructions on-screen to cut out all the layers.
To change the paper size, go into the dropdowns over on the left side of the screen and choose the paper size that you want to use. You need to change it for every single colour.
To save space on your cardstock, you can move things around by clicking and dragging. Make sure when you’re moving things about that nothing overlaps because otherwise, it won’t cut out properly.
TIP: New to cutting cardstock with a Cricut? Check out this in-depth tutorial which goes through every step of the process, including tips for getting the best quality cuts from your Cricut.
Step 5) Do the glueing for the project
The turkey is primarily “slotted” together without the need for any adhesive, however there are some bits which need to be glued to add extra details and colour into the face and wings.
These are the pieces that will be glued:
Glue the yellow beak piece onto the red piece. Make sure you can still see the “slit” in the top.
Turn the two eye pieces upside down and glue the red and black ovals to the backs to cover the eye and cheek holes.
Turn the two body/wing pieces upside down and glue the darker brown panels to the wings.
Glue the long, thin orange piece to the top of the buckle cutout on the tail piece.
Important – make sure the “slit” cut on the long, thin piece is on the RIGHT side.
Leave everything to one side to let the glue dry fully.
Step 6) Assemble the turkey body
Select the following pieces and make sure they are in the order listed below.
Slot the second body piece into the top of the first piece, then carefully slit it into the bottom too.
Hold the two pieces flat against each other, then slit in the third body piece.
You will end up with six sides that will stand up unassisted.
Look carefully at the two circle pieces of card. One of them has two rectangular cutouts on one of the edges.
This is for the BOTTOM of the turkey body (the rectangles are for the feet to slot into).
Pick up the circle that does NOT have those rectangular cutouts.
Slide it into the middle of the body and maneuver it so that the slits in the edge of the circle are pushed into the slides in the outer body pieces.
This is quite fiddly and the cardstock is delicate, so be very careful to not tear anything.
Take the circle piece with the rectangular cutouts and slot that into the bottom of the body.
Get together the inner pieces for the body.
Take the pieces with the wings and fold along the score lines to make the wings have a “popout” effect.
Fold out all the cutout feather shapes to make them look a bit more dimensional and life-like.
Take the piece with the “wave” shape cutouts. This is for the tummy/front of the turkey. The triangular shaped tab goes at the top and the rounded edge goes at the bottom.
Find the section of the body that has the two rectangular cutouts on the bottom of the circle.
Thread the tummy pieces through the holes.
Thread one wing piece each side of the tummy, then add one feather piece next to each of them.
The very back section of the body is left “empty” as that’s where we will be attaching the tail.
Step 7) Assemble the turkey head
Put the head of the turkey together in the same way as the body.
Slot the head pieces together first, in this order:
Add in the circles at the top and bottom (they are the same style this time, so it doesn’t matter which ones goes at the top and which one is at the bottom).
Put the pieces for the panels in order and fold out the feathers.
Slot all the panels into the head. Make sure the eyes are facing the correct directions.
Take one of the two small brown pieces of card and fold outwards along the score line.
Glue the curved edge to the outer edge that goes between the two eye pieces.
Do the same with the other piece, on the other side of the edge.
You will end up with a “tab” to glue the beak onto.
We’ll stick the beak on at the end to give the tabs time to fully try in the meantime.
Step 9) Make the turkey’s tail
Each of the tail pieces has three feather-shaped slits on it.
Use these to thread each tail piece onto each other.
Here’s how they look when they are all slotted together. Fold down the feather slits to hold them in place.
Slot the front mandala piece of the tail on top, using the same feather-shaped slits.
Slot the bottom of the “buckle” through the slit in the bottom of the body of the turkey.
Pull it back on itself and thread it through the rectangular slit at the bottom of the tail.
Thread the top buckle piece upwards through the top hole in the body.
Pull it back on itself and go through the hole in the top of the tail.
Turn the turkey over and join the two buckle ends together using the slits.
Make sure the buckles are pulled through all the way to ensure the tail is held securely.
Step 10) Finish the turkey assembly
Add the head to the body by carefully slotting the bottom shape of the head into the body.
This is probably the trickiest part to thread together and you might need to wiggle it about a bit to get it on!
Glue the beak onto the tabs and then your turkey is all finished!
3D turkey craft for Thanksgiving
I hope you enjoy making this Thanksgiving craft with my free turkey SVG.
This project is a little bit different to what I usually create, but I had so much fun with it.
The design of the turkey was based on a layered turkey SVG from a couple of years ago.
They would make a lovely matching pair if you created both of them!