Create a kid-friendly turkey centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table using seasonal vegetables with this how-to from floral designer Olivier Giugni. For maximum freshness, keep the centerpiece in a cool location.
Tools and Materials
- Sharp floral knife
- Wire cutter
- Hot-glue gun and hot-glue sticks
- 1 1/2 brick Sahara dry oasis (for silk floral arrangements)
- 1 brick green wet oasis (for fresh flowers)
- 1 box of heavy-duty wooden toothpicks
- 1 medium orange pumpkin
- 12 multicolored Indian corn cobs, dried
- 4 bundles natural-color dried wheat
- 1 bag fresh cranberries
- 8 red apples
- 6 to 8 large carrots, preferably white and red if possible
- 20 walnuts, in the shells
- 2 bundles fresh-cut rosemary
- 2 medium eggplants
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 2 cucumbers
- 1 red pepper
- 15 chestnuts
- 10 "pumpkin" peppers
- 1 metal or wooden rectangle tray
Turkey Centerpiece How-To
1. Place pumpkin on its side with the stem facing you. Take sharp knife and begin shaving down the "skin" of the pumpkin on the top to create a level, flat surface. This will stop the pumpkin from rolling off the tray or wobbling back and forth.
2. Flip the pumpkin over and place it on tray with the stem facing you and as close to the front of the tray as possible. Add 4 large drops of hot glue around the base of the pumpkin where it touches the tray to help stop the pumpkin from sliding around.
3. Place one dry Sahara oasis brick on its end, vertically. Using a sharp floral knife, carve the top of the oasis into a half moon shape. (Eventually this is where the wheat, carrots, and corn will be glued.) Generously glue the bottom of the Sahara oasis and place it directly behind the pumpkin.
4. Carve the 1/2 piece of dry Sahara oasis foam into a thin "turkey neck" shape. Be sure to round off all the sharp edges and taper the base to fit the contour of the pumpkin. Hot-glue the base of the "turkey neck" to pumpkin. Take 4 toothpicks, press them through the base of the turkey neck, and push them into the pumpkin skin. Glue in place.
5. Make 2 bundles of 4 to 5 stems of wheat; press bundles into the foam in a fan shape behind the pumpkin. Secure each bundle with hot glue.
6. Glue and toothpick the red pepper, or "gizzard," to the top front of the turkey-neck head.
7. Remove all the dried husks from Indian corn cobs and set the husks aside. Insert 3 toothpicks into the bases of each corn cob and carrot, securing them with hot glue. Add glue to the toothpicks in the corn cobs and insert them into the foam in a radiating-sun shape in front of the wheat. Follow with the same method for the carrots, placing them in front of the corn.
8. Using glue gun, cover the entire neck with firm and round cranberries, packing them in as tightly as possible.
9. With sharp knife, cut oasis foam for fresh flowers (still in its dry state) in half. Carve each half to the contour of each side of the pumpkin. Glue each piece of oasis to both sides of the pumpkin. After the glue has set, soak the oasis pieces with warm water.
10. Carve cucumbers and eggplants to the contour of the pumpkin. (These will be used to define parts of the wings and hind legs of the turkey.) Insert several toothpicks into each cucumber, secure with hot glue, and insert into the pumpkin. Add extra glue if needed.
11. Carve the bottoms of apples to fit the contour of pumpkin. Insert toothpicks, glue to secure, and insert into the pumpkin in a radius in front of the corn and carrots.
12. Glue and layer on chestnuts, walnuts, peppers, and Brussels sprouts, starting with the back and finishing with a layer at the front of the neck. Use leftover cranberries to glue into any obvious open spaces and hide any oasis that may be showing.
13. Carve sweet potatoes to match the contour of the front of the pumpkin. Insert toothpicks, add hot glue, and secure into front of pumpkin to form turkey breast.
14. Separate and flatten the dry corn husks set aside earlier. Turn turkey around and begin gluing each husk onto the foam, creating a fan. Glue each layer a little lower than the layer before, until foam is completely covered.
15. Cut rosemary into long and short pieces. Insert longer pieces of rosemary at the back of the foam, creating a back-sweeping effect. Add shorter pieces to the front of the foam to create wings.
16. Finish by filling the bottom of the tray with any leftover cranberries, nuts, or vegetables.
All tools and materials available from your local floral or craft supply store and grocery.