Pilgrim Hat Craft and Thanksgiving Place Cards

Pilgrim Hat Craft and Thanksgiving Place Cards

There I was, in one of the Charlotte Region Habitat ReStores, tinkering around the light fixture section. I mean, it’s not exactly a strange place to find me. BUT, imagine me picking up a light baffle and placing it atop my head for a split second. Because as soon as I saw a pile of them, I knew they’d be perfect for a pilgrim hat craft. Not to wear, mind you, but as Thanksgiving table decor.

light baffle

Specifically, to use as DIY place cards. The baffles were perfectly shaped to become DIY pilgrim hats, don’t you think?

baffle trim recessed lighting

Now, if the term “light baffle” is baffling to you, this is what I’m talking about. The baffle is a piece of builder-basic recessed lighting found in a lot of newer homes. The ring portion (aka, the hat brim) is what we see in a finished light on the ceiling.

can light or recessed lighting in a new home

But trust me when I tell you that the rest of the baffle trim is up there, inside the ceiling. 

Either way, though, I couldn’t NOT see them as pilgrim hats, so I brought a few home and put my theory to the test.

This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. All blue, bold, and underlined text is a clickable link, either to a product or to a related post. This project is also sponsored by the Charlotte Region ReStore(s).

Pilgrim Hat Craft from Light Fixtures

Anyway, I found them at MULTIPLE ReStores in the Charlotte area. I took it as a sign that I did, indeed, need to upcycle a few into mini pilgrim hats.

light baffles at habitat restore

And upon further study, I realized that the transformation would be easier than I had initially thought. In the store, I figured I’d need to cut some of the metal parts off, particularly the clips on the sides.

Which, of course, left me worrying about jagged edges. NOT something you want on your Thanksgiving table for sure!

pilgrim hat craft for the thanksgiving table

But as luck would have it, the clips could be pinched and easily removed. So that solved the dilemma right away!

upcycling a light fixture into thanksgiving table decor

Next, it was time to paint them black to look like pilgrim hats. So, I set up my spray painting station in the backyard and got to work.

transforming the light fixtures into pilgrim hats

Once the light fixtures dried (after two coats of black spray paint), I brought them inside and assembled my other supplies. These included wide wired ribbon, small chalkboard ornaments, and gold paint.

craft supplies for a pilgrim hat craft

Eagle-eyed readers may recall seeing these chalkboard ornaments on a Christmas project in my book, “Crafting with Flannel”. So, they definitely come in handy for a variety of projects!

Finishing the Thanksgiving Table Decor

First, I wrapped some of the wired ribbon around the base of the light baffle, where the ribbed section was. I used my mixed-media shears (gosh, these things are handy) to cut through the wired ribbon and my hot glue gun to fix the ribbon in place.

On the backside, I folded over the ends of the ribbon to cover any exposed wire.

creating pilgrim hats to use as thanksgiving table decor

Now, the small chalkboards were going to be the iconic “buckle” on this pilgrim hat craft, and also allow the “hats” to act as place cards. To make them a little fancier, I very carefully painted the frame of the chalkboards with gold craft paint.

Then, I wrote names on the chalkboard buckles using a gold chalk marker. Luckily for me, the gold craft paint and gold chalk marker were very similar in color!

gold chalk marker for thanksgiving place cards

Lastly, I hot-glued them to the pilgrim hat place cards. And that was it- my upcycled Thanksgiving table decor project was all done.

I mean, COME ON. Tell me those aren’t the cutest Thanksgiving place cards you’ve ever seen? And from part of a light fixture, no less. Such a fun and easy upcycling project that will bring charm and whimsy to your Thanksgiving table.

diy pilgrim hat and place card

Pilgrim Hat Craft and Thanksgiving Place Cards

Perhaps the other best part (besides the cuteness factor) is that they were only a dollar or two each. So, not only is this a fabulous way to repurpose something, but it’s inexpensive, as well.

I’m just so enamored with how these turned out. While I’ve done SO MANY Halloween projects and SO MANY Christmas projects, I’ve virtually ignored projects for Thanksgiving.

But, between last year’s Thanksgiving decor project for Habitat ReStore, and now this year’s pilgrim hat craft…maybe I’m finally making up for lost time.

pilgrim hat craft and diy place cards

Plus, the baffle trims that I found were ideally sized to fit on top of a plate charger. When it comes to upcycling success, it just doesn’t get much better than that!

pilgrim hat craft for thanksgiving decor

A special thanks to my friend, Andrea, who inadvertently lent me her table for these photos. I was cat-sitting for her while she was out of the country, and I snuck a few project photos in her lovely home while she was away! Trust me, I was extra careful and put everything away that I’d used on her table. And I confessed the truth before the post when up on my blog and she could recognize her dining room in the photos!

And, as always, a big thank you to the Charlotte Region ReStores for sponsoring this project! Be sure to check out the tutorial on their website, as well.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this upcycling idea for making pilgrim hat place cards as much as I did! And as always, I appreciate your understanding that the full tutorial is on the ReStore blog, and not mine.

Interested in even more upcycling ideas for old light fixtures? Then this collection of project ideas is just for you!

repurposed light fixtures

And for all of my North American friends and neighbors, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving- from my upcycling family to yours.

DIY Thanksgiving decor with vintage and thrifted items

Craft on!


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diy pilgrim hat from a baffle trim

diy place cards and pilgrim hat craft

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Your vision and creativity is amazing. Light baffles as Puritan hats…wow. Happy Thanksgiving keep on thrifting and share your fantastic ideas.

  2. Carmen Montmarquet says

    Very cute idea! Thanks for sharing!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  3. Wendy Oyler says

    Oh my goodness Sadie! You just keep coming up with the best upcycles! These are the absolute cutest hats ❤️❤️❤️

  4. Hi Sarah,
    Just wondering if you could also use these for a snowman hat- perhaps even a “melted snowman”? Love your blog and GREAT ideas! I love to find new uses for old/recycled things.

  5. Omygosh I love them! Good eye! Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. SO clever! Goodness. Who woulda thought you could find Pilgrim hats at Home Depot? Thanks to YOU!

  7. Wowsa! Those are so much fun!! You have a great eye for spotting items to upcycle 😊

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