Thanksgiving | Turkey assemblage

I’ve been a little obsessed with “turkey robots” lately. Some people call them “turkey assemblages.” Or “upcycled turkeys.” Or “steampunk turkeys.”

turkey robot

Whatever you call them, they’re out there, and I love them, and I couldn’t wait to make my own.

Pinterest inspiration

steam punk turkeys

I’ve been storing images of some of my favorites on Pinterest and keeping my eye out for parts lately.

upcycled turkey

A few weeks ago, I found an old vegetable steamer in a thrift store.

upcycled turkey

I bought it, knowing that the flaps on the basket would make perfect turkey feathers.

turkey assemblage

I also bought this thing. I thought maybe it was a tea strainer at the time, but my friends who bake have since informed me that it’s an egg separator. But never mind what it’s actually used for. When I looked at it in the thrift store, I saw a turkey head.

Getting started

After I got my turkey parts home, I disassembled the steamer and soaked the pieces in vinegar for a few minutes to remove the lime scale.

turkey craft

The bright, shiny aluminum wasn’t working for me, so I slapped a quick coat of brown acrylic craft paint on everything.

Rub 'n Buff on metal

Then I smeared Spanish copper Rub ‘n Buff over the paint. (Rub ‘n Buff doesn’t adhere very well to shiny metal; hence the basecoat.)

When the Rub ‘n Buff dried, I buffed the pieces with a soft cloth and started assembling the turkey.

Feet, beak, and eyes

picture hangers

For the feet, I found one of these picture hangers in the hardware stash in my basement. And then I had to go down to the hardware store to buy a second one.

They got a basecoat of brown acrylic craft paint, topped with Spanish copper Rub ‘n Buff, too.

The beak was made from an old earring. I just snipped the end of it off.

I found a couple of washers for the eyes. Obviously, these got the paint-and-Rub-n-Buff treatment, too.

Assembling the pieces

With all the small parts painted and ready to go, I put a bolt through the hole on the bottom of the turkey’s head.

Then I stacked nuts on the bolt to act as spacers …

… and screwed the bolt into a hole in the center of the turkey’s body.

Here’s what the head looks like from the front.

And here’s how it’s attached in the back.

Finishing the turkey assemblage

After I had the head attached, I hung the feet off the rim of the turkey’s body.

Then I glued on his facial features.

Here he is all done.

I think he’s awfully cute, considering he started life as a just a few random kitchen castoffs. What do you think?

If you like this guy, check out my other junk assemblages here.

— Lisa

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