How Martha Stewart Creatively Creates A Thanksgiving Turkey Centerpiece

Thanksgiving is a time of abundance and harvesting, so what better way to celebrate than by using the actual fruits, vegetables, and flora of the season to decorate our homes? On a classic episode of "The Martha Stewart Show," Martha Stewart and floral designer Olivier Giugni showed the audience how to create a large turkey centerpiece made out of a pumpkin, some floral foam, dried wheat, and all manner of fruits, veggies, and nuts. By augmenting a pumpkin with some floral foam with glue, you can use it as a canvas to attack a head, tail, and other accents to make it more turkey-like, all with natural materials you may already have in your kitchen. 

The centerpiece, which can be as large or small as you desire, is a perfect way to decorate your table or front porch this season. You can even customize the basic DIY to your decor. The centerpiece is completely compostable after the holiday, which means you won't have to store it off-season or find a way to dispose of it. According to Giugni, the centerpiece will last about a week indoors in good condition, so you can get started on it well in advance of your holiday gathering. While professionally done similar centerpieces can cost upwards of $100, this DIY is only as expensive as your food and organic materials.

Creating a turkey from produce

Martha Stewart and Olivier Giugni start with a pumpkin lying on its side and two large chunks of floral foam. You will need the dry, or Sahara, floral foam meant for artificial and dried flowers for this project. Sketch and cut out the 3-D shape of a turkey head from a block of foam, shaping as needed. You will also need fan shaped piece that is large enough to round the back of the pumpkin lying on its side. For both pieces, round the edges that sit on the pumpkin, which makes it easier to attach them with hot glue to the surface.

Once you have the basic shape of your turkey, you can begin adding your fruits, veggies, and floral elements to the turkey. Cover the head with hot glued cranberries, using a small red pepper as the beak. Insert long sticks of dried wheat in a fan shape on the foam at the rear until it's full, adding a layer of corn stalks and apples in front of the wheat to add texture and depth. These larger elements can be inserted into the foam or the pumpkin itself using some toothpicks dabbed with glue to secure them. 

Decorating your turkey centerpiece

Use other food items glued to the pumpkin to create the accents and decorative elements of the turkey, including the front breasts using sweet potatoes and wings designed from walnuts, chestnuts, and grapes. Add sprigs of rosemary and other herbs around the base of the pumpkin and some moss to cover the floral foam as needed. Martha Stewart also suggests gluing pieces of dried corn husk over the rear of the pumpkin so it looks finished from all sides.

For variations on this DIY centerpiece, use smaller pumpkins or gourds with shorter pieces of wheat, fall grasses, or sticks. While Martha Stewart uses nuts, apples, and cranberries, you can use other seeds like popcorn kernels, small berries, acorns, or raisins to create the wings and other details. Add fall leaves or your favorite dried flowers like mums, hydrangeas, and baby's breath for a more romantic look around or on the turkey near the tail. You can also paint the pumpkin another color and use decorative elements that match your Thanksgiving table style or color scheme.