Meet my latest upcycled turkey. I’ve been calling him my “porch turkey” because he’s a sturdy fellow that I made specifically to set out on my porch in the fall.
As usual, he’s made out of a bunch of random thrift store parts. Also as usual, most of the parts came from the Dig & Save, where they sell junk by the pound, and if you have an eye for lightweight castoffs, you can walk out with a full cart for just a few bucks.
If you’re ever in the market for rusty colanders, scratched Teflon pans or greasy foil trays, the Dig & Save has got you covered.
And if you’re wondering how I turned that pile of junk into a turkey, read on.
Building an upcycled turkey
This is what I used as the base for my porch turkey. I thought it looked like turkey feet. Apparently the previous owner thought it looked like a garden sprinkler because it had this weird contraption on top when I bought it.
After I stripped all the sprinkler-y bits off the base, I foraged around my basement stash in search of a way to attach the base to the giant pot that was going to be the turkey’s body.
Here’s what I found: a silver metal bendy pipe with two holes in the back for bolts to go through. I don’t know what it would normally be used for. I just know I had bought it at a thrift store a while back thinking it might come in handy one day.
The bolts, washers and nuts were not included in my thrift store purchase. I pilfered those from my husband’s workshop.
As you’ve probably surmised, the metal bendy pipe was a perfect fit for the hole in the base. (Nothing makes me happier than when two parts fit together perfectly with no drilling, hammering or swearing required.)
To attach the body to the bendy pipe, I drilled a couple of holes into the bottom of the pot.
Then I hammered the bolts on the back of the bendy pipe through the holes and secured them in place with a couple of nuts inside the pot.
This is the back of the turkey, showing the two bolts poking through.
And here’s a view of the turkey’s front. That pot is really heavy, but the bendy pipe and sprinkler base proved sturdy enough to hold it up.
Attaching the head
Next, I drilled holes through the handle of an old colander that was going to be the turkey’s head and through the giant pot. Then I ran bolts through the two pieces and screwed nuts onto the back of the bolts.
Here’s what my turkey looked like with one bolt through his neck. His head was a bit wobbly at that point, so I added a second bolt further down the handle.
I always get excited when I get to this point in the process — when the turkey is actually starting to look like a turkey.
Tinfoil tail feathers
I used this foil tray for the tail feathers. It’s 18 inches in diameter, which was the biggest tray I could find at the Dig & Save or any of my other usual haunts.
To attach the tail feathers to the body, I drilled three holes around the perimeter of the pot and through the tray.
Then I inserted bolts into the holes and screwed nuts onto them on the back.
Here’s a look at the turkey’s backside at this point.
And here’s a look at his distinctive profile. His beak is definitely a little Jimmy Durante, but I think it suits him.
Adding the eyes
Nothing that I had on hand at this point seemed quite right for the turkey’s eyes, so I made a Goodwill run in search of inspiration.
What I found was a pair of bincoluars.
Obviously, the binoculars as a whole would be too big for the turkey’s head, but I figured I could remove the lenses at the top and use just that section.
Unfortunately I had seriously underestimated the amount of time, patience and frustration involved in deconstructing a pair of binoculars.
I spent two days meticulously removing a series of tiny screws and bolts and attempting to carefully pry apart pieces that were clearly never meant to be separated.
Finally, on the third day, I grabbed my hammer and just whacked away at the parts of the binoculars that I didn’t need. I succeeded in freeing the lenses, but it wasn’t pretty.
To attach the lenses, I drilled a hole through the top of the colander and ran a bolt through it.
Then I attached an L-bracket to the bolt on the inside the colander.
Next, I ran the metal piece attached to the back of the lenses through the hole in the L-bracket …
… and screwed the original hardware from the binoculars back in place.
Personally I think he looks very smart with his new eyewear.
And there you have it: another upcycled turkey assemblage. This is the biggest one I’ve made so far. I still have more parts and more plans, so I will probably try to build another one or two yet before Thanksgiving.
More upcycled turkey posts
If you liked this post, check out some of my other junk turkey stories, like this one from last year. And sign up to get my blog via email or follow me on social media so you can follow along with future creations.