Monday, October 19, 2015

Turkey Folk Art 3d Box Assembly Guide

Add a little "gobbler" to your harvest decor
with this dimensional turkey "box" form.
Of significant size, he measures 10" to top of comb x
9" wide tail x 9" beak to tail.
Body vessel includes inner support for strength,
with neck and head sections, tail unit with overlays,
multiple feather singles and units added for effect.
Finger openings in body base and backside offer
access for applying pressure during construction,
then get covered by tail, cover shape or box & cover.
SVG cut file download can be purchased from, Silhouette America's
online store, and soon from SVG Attic as part
of a Thanksgiving theme set.

Assembly Overview: 1) Build the body with support insert.
2) Prepare the wings with feathers; 3) Build the neck in 3 cut sections; 
4) Build the head and attach to neck; 5) Add feather sections;
6) Attach neck to body; 7) Prepare and attach tail section.

1. Identify and cut the shapes:
A body base with back   B interior support
C section 1 front   D section 2 top front
E & F section 3 sides
G & H section 4 back sides   I top back
J wings   K wing lrg feather section
L feather sections and singles
M neck base   N neck lower section
O neck mid/top section   P joining collar
Q head    R eye bump with buildup, iris
S beak with tip contr   T wattle & comb pairs
U box insert   V box attached base
W  body base fingerhole cover
X tail main with feather overlays
Y  back tail overlays   Z  front tail overlay

2. Bend body base and section 1 lower body (look for tiny number symbol in bottom tab) back on all perforation lines and tabs.

3. Line up and attach the body base front straight edge to the lower center tab of section 1 by overlapping straight edge to perforation line, taking care that edge is centered.

4. Continue to attach section 1 lower edge tabs by bending the section to overlap base straight edges with corresponding tab and attaching, one at a time. Repeat for the opposite side of section 1

5. Fold section 2 body on all perforation lines and tab lines.

Form the section into a "tube" to line up the side straight edge overlapping the opposite side tab and join, taking care to match top and bottom ends of this seam.

6. Insert section 2 into front of previous assembly so that section 1 top center straight edge overlaps center bottom tab at perforation line; adjust and join.

7. Bend section 2 to allow similar alignment of section 1 straight edges to overlap corresponding tabs for two more sections of section 2 working around both sides.

8. Bend the insert support back slightly at each vertical perforation line and tab.

Insert the tabs on the bottom edge (widest end) into the corresponding slots on the body base between the two finger/box openings.

On the bottom of the base, bend the tabs toward the body front, and glue in place.

9. Push the insert support into place to insert the side top tabs into corresponding slots in the side back section lower edges of section 2.

Bend the slot tabs outward and glue to the top of the adjacent tabs (those next to the slots through which tabs just passed).

10. Bend, align and attach the center long tabs in a similar manner (these will not have a slot involved).

11. Bend, adjust into place, and glue the side tabs (indicated by the pointing finger) to the inside wall of section 1, as shown.

12. Bend the top tabs of section 2 inward to form a "platform", apply glue to tabs, then bend "lid" of section 2 down into place.

Adjust the shape of the opening to make sure that straight edges of lid line up as exactly as possible with the perforation edges of wall segments.

13. Bend back each section 3 on perforation lines and tab lines.

Position and attach bottom tab of each (opposite the circle symbol punched tab ends) along the side straight edges of body base.

14. Bend section 3 upward to align straight edges overlapping corresponding tabs of section 1, and join three edges.

Repeat for both sides.

15. Bend top back section on perforation and tab lines.

Position over the gap between the side edges of sections 3, overlap top straight edge over the remaining tab from section 2, side edges over section 3 tabs, and join each in place, one at a time.

NOTE in this image the tiny single and pair of circle symbol punches in tabs included as a guide to left and right side arrangement.

16. Bend each section 4 back on perforation and tab lines.

Position and attach bottom tab at body base edge, while at the same time lining up to attach the lowest front side edge (this involves making sure that the edge overlaps the tab prior to the gluing of the tab seam).

Repeat for each side.

17. Fold the back segment of the top section into position to join the remaining short seams to corresponding tabs of section 4s.

18. Bend the back tabs inward, then bend the body back/tail panel into place and attach each edge to corresponding tabs, one at a time. 

Use the opening for finger access during the adjusting and attaching process.

19. Bend back the bottom neck section on each perforation line. Form into a tube to bring side back edge to overlap opposite tab, adjust and attach.

Use fingernail to "flick" each of the texture cuts outward slightly.

20. Bend the lower neck section on perforation lines, form into a tube, and attach straight edge overlapping tab.

21. Rotate the two tubes to align the front segments (widest flair at center front, shown here . . . 

 . . . narrowest at center back, shown here). 

Apply glue to the scallop extensions of the lower neck (at right in this image), then slide into place over the top of bottom section, adjust, and attach.

Here is the joined neck lower unit. The pointing finger is indicating the triangular "wedge" segments which flank the center front segment, to further help identify which is the front.

22. Bend back on all perforation and tab lines on the combination neck section.

23. Form the lower portion (scalloped edged) into a tube, overlap edge at tab perf line, adjust and glue seam.

Form the upper portion (slotted) into a tube similarly and glue seam.

23. Bend the bottom tabs of upper tube inward slightly, then . . . 

. . . bend the lower into place with tabs inserting inside.  Insert fingers into tube ends to help attach each tab in place.

24. Prepare the wattle by bending small tabs outward. Position the two shapes back to back, lining up the tab perforation lines/edges. Glue surfaces together that touch.

25. Insert wattle tabs into neck front slot, bend each tab outward and glue in place on the inside of neck tube.

26. Apply glue to the inside surfaces of upper neck scallop edge, insert over the previous neck assembly, adjust so that ridges line up, center front and center back panels line up, and that the forward "bend" of the neck suits, then hold in place until glue grabs.

27. Prepare eye bumps. Fold sides and tabs on perforation lines.

Glue the socket build up rings on the backside of the hex bump shape. Position and glue the "pupil" contrast circle (face to be seen thru the circle hole) over the rings.

28. Bend the head shape back on all perforation and tab lines.

29. Insert the tabs of one eye bump into the corresponding slots on the side segment. On the inside, bend tabs inward and glue in place.

 (NOTE this gluing is a bit tricky, since it is difficult to push against the bump to achieve attachment.)

30. Bend the beak shape back on center and tab lines. Bend the tip contrast overlap on center perf line. Position tip and glue in place.

31. Insert beak back tabs into angled slots near front (narrower end) of head. On head backside, bend the tabs toward the center, overlapping, and glue in place.

32. Prepare the two comb shapes by bending the end tabs outward. Position the two back to back, lining up the tab edge/perf lines. Glue together the surfaces that touch.

33. Insert the comb tabs into the center head slot. On the head backside, bend each tab outward and glue in place.

34. Bend  each sides with eyes into position to align straight edges to overlap the corresponding tab perf lines the "boxing" center portion. Glue each in place, one at a time, bending and adjusting to join each, for both sides of head.

Also bend the narrow end tab back and glue in place on the head inside.

NOTE: the back head panel which includes the hex opening remains unattached at this point of assembly.

35. Insert the neck end into the hex opening at the head back. Only about 1/8" of neck will extend through opening.

NOTE the tall tab at neck back; apply glue to the face side of tab, then . . . 

. . . bend the head forward so that the tab touches the next-to-back panel, while at the same time  inserting the back panel tabs under the adjacent straight edges of head to glue them in place.

It may be helpful to insert a narrow rod-like tool (such as this spatula handle) into the opening at the head bottom to apply pressure to the tall tab at back, as well as the side tabs until they are secure.

36. To further secure the head in place, an attachment collar is provided.

Bend the collar ring perfs inward and upper scallops outward. Apply glue to backside of entire collar.

Position under head at top of exposed neck, aligning slot notch over wattle, then wrapping collar around neck. Ring of collar should attach to neck (adjust so that ridges align), and upper scallops should attach to head back panel

37. Prepare the wings. Layer and attach the 5-feather overlay (marked with a circle symbol cutout), and the special 3-part top wing section as shown.

NOTE that the special wing top section can be identified by its rounded point top tip.

38. As surrounding body angles are "covered" with feathers, it will be helpful to understand where the wings will eventually be attached. You may wish to "dry fit" the wing to visualize its positioning.

This shot shows that the wing forward tip will fit into the angled face of section 3.

NOTE: the lower tip of the wing is the longest and widest feather end.

39. Begin adding feathers at the side back (on section 4). The wing is shown here, held in position only, to help with orientation for this first portion of feather addition.

Pre-tail feathers are shorter, "scallop" sections.

Position one 5-part scallop section along the back edge as shown, taking care that the scallop edges do not extend beyond the body edge, or they will interfere with the eventual tail attachment.
40. Complete the pre-tail feather additions:
side back sections = two 5-part scallops
center back section = 4-part, 5-part scallops
far side back sections = 2 single scallops

NOTE: bend the ends of scallop (and later feather) sections back to follow body angles or contours when they are too long.

41. Add feathers to the mid-back sections:
sides = two 4-part sections (bottom-most bent and overlapping the straight top edge of previously-attached scallop pre-tail sections)

Also add four "long" single feathers above 4-part feather sections, bending tips to fit into the angle between sections 1 and 3.

42. Add back feathers:
center = one 5-part section, two 4-part sections

43. Add feathers to the upper back (section 2), bending tips at angle:

sides = one 3-part section with 3 single "short" feathers above (tips nearly even with top "platform" ridge)

center = one 3-part section with 3 single "short" feathers above

44. At back side bottom face, position and attach:

one 3-part section with tips even and aligned at body bottom ridge

one 3-part section angled so that top straight edge is more or less parallel to body segment ridge.

one or two single "long" feathers bent to cross the ridge as shown being added

45. Add feathers above the triangular face where wing upper tip will be placed:

one 3-part section with three "short" single feathers above, more or less even with the top body edge (you can see completed section in the next image)

46. Add special "side" (marked with tiny 'S' near top) 4-part sections, the appropriate left or right shape, near the bottom.

NOTE: as indicated with pointing finger, the longest feather should fit into the point of the segment face, with one feather toward front.

47. Complete the groups from steps 45 & 46 by adding:

3 single "short" feathers near top of body

2 single "long" feathers over lower shape (trim end(s) that extend beyond the angled ridge to avoid interfering with wing)

3 single "long" feathers inserted under special wing shape as shown.

48. Add feathers to side front segments:

special front bottom 3-part ('F' marked)
at bottom

two 3-part feathers on lower face

one 3-part section overlapping
three single "short" feathers at top

49. Add feathers to the center front segments:
three 5-part sections on lower face
two 4-part sections on upper face

50. Position and attach each wing to appropriate side of body, taking care that the feather tip at bottom does NOT extend below the bottom of the body.

(NOTE: if regularly-used adhesive doesn't offer a quick-grab bond, you may wish to use something like hot glue instead.)

51. Position and attach the finger access opening cover, lining up front edges with body edges exactly.

52. Bend the box insert on perforations and tabs. Fold the sides up, tabs back, and join.

53. Insert the box into the rectangular opening (this is designed to be tight fit), with the tallest "back" of the box toward the back of the body.

Insert all the way, so that the box insert bottom and body bottom are flush.

54. Apply glue to the box bottom, then position and center the "base" shape (this will provide finger hold for removing the box) as shown, triangle punch pointing toward body back . . . 

. . . opposite straight edge even at finger hole cover straight edge.

Apply pressure until the base and box bottom are joined, then . . . 

. . . you can remove the box.

Here is the completed box with base attached, showing that the "tall" back panel of box corresponds to the triangle arrow head punch of base.

55. Apply glue to the scallops at the neck bottom, then position and insert over the body extension, overlapping the top tips of attached feathers. Adjust so that the ridges of neck cone and body line up as desired - at least align the front pair and the back pair of ridges. Also adjust to tip the neck forward suitably, or as desired.

Hold in place until secure.

56. Position and attach contrast feathers and bracket accent shapes to the tail base. 

Note that the tops of the feather overlays should be approx. a scant 1/4" below feather tips.

Accents should be positioned a generous 1/8" below overlay tips.

57. Position the scallop overlay at bottom of feather base, centered, and overlapping the straight ends of feathers.

58. Prepare the tail back array by positioning and attaching the smaller scallop shape rotated so that 9-scallop top is up, centered with bottom center scallop at the cut guides indicated by pointing finger.

59. Position and attach array to the back of the tail feathers section, bottom straight edges aligned, and center marks aligned.

60. Position and attach tail to back panel of body assembly, bottom edges even, and centered side to side.

NOTE: you may wish to use a quick-grab adhesive here, such as hot glue.

Finally - sixty steps later - he's done,
ready to strut his stuff with your Thanksgiving decor!


  1. WOW!! He's beautiful!! Lot of steps, but the pay off is worth it for sure!

  2. Its lovely but do you have a video of the steps. I am finding it hard to follow and get it right

    1. I'm sorry, I only do still photos for my tutorials. I think it is easier to pause and study the images this way.