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Midas Touches: Flocking Together

Photography: Maura McEvoy

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2007


Highlights of dark candles and orange-patterned accent plates add surprising contrast to a formally set dining table. Large resin turkeys that were gilded with faux gold leaf create a centerpiece, while smaller plastic ones, similarly treated, preen around the table with molded beeswax turkey candles. At each setting, elegant gold-rimmed plates and glassware contrast with the rough-hewn, stripped wood of the rustic table. A napkin was folded accordion-style to evoke a turkey with its tail unfurled and then affixed with a store-bought embossed golden Dresden ornament. A variety of antique silver and mother-of-pearl-handled flatware add to the reflective richness. Even the knife rest and the bread and butter plate continue the avian motif. Adding metallic accents to a tabletop lends warmth and elegance to a traditional centerpiece. Avian accents and gilded glamour are essential elements for a head-turning tabletop.

Gold-Leaf Turkeys
We used faux gold leaf for this project, but metallic floral spray (see the Guide) also works well. If painting, you will need only the turkeys and the paint. Use the same method and medium if doing multiple projects, since colors and finishes vary. It takes about 20 large sheets of gold leaf to cover a large turkey and 3 for a small one.


Turkey Napkin Fold
The accordion folds of the napkin suggest a turkey's tail feathers. A golden Dresden ornament embossed with a turkey makes a fitting finishing touch.


Return to Midas Touches.


  • For Gold Leaf Turkeys: Resin turkeys

  • Acrylic paint in a pale, neutral color

  • 2 paintbrushes

  • Size liquid adhesive

  • White cotton gloves

  • Faux gold leaf

  • Soft-bristle brush

  • For the Turkey Napkin: Table napkins

  • Gold twine or ribbon, cut to 6-inch lengths

  • Glue dots

  • Golden Dresden ornament in a turkey pattern


  1. Paint turkeys with acrylic paint. Let dry.

  2. Use second paintbrush to apply adhesive to turkeys. Let dry.

  3. In a draft-free room, wear cotton gloves to lift 1 gold-leaf sheet from packet.

  4. Drape sheet over a turkey, and smooth with fingertips. Use the soft-bristle brush to even out the texture of the gold leaf and remove any flakes. Add another sheet (they should overlap slightly), and smooth. Repeat until the turkey is covered. Touch up any bare spots with adhesive, let dry, then apply gold leaf cut to size. Repeat with remaining turkeys.

  5. Fold the napkin in half lengthwise, and crease with your fingertips. Unfold. Turn 2 sides inward, stopping halfway to the center crease. Flip the napkin over.

  6. Beginning at an unfolded edge, accordion-fold the napkin at equal intervals.

  7. Tie the napkin at its center with twine or ribbon.

  8. Fan out the folds so the top edges meet and the bottom edges remain apart. Apply a glue dot to the twine or ribbon, and press the back of the Dresden ornament onto it.

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