Nothing says fall celebrations like a cornucopia overflowing with autumn produce and botanicals. A cornucopia represents abundance, prosperity and, most of all, gratitude and thanksgiving. Whether you use fresh or artificial elements, decorating a cornucopia centerpiece is easy — you just have to take advantage of a little trick to hold everything together, even as elements appear to cascade out the cornucopia.
Things You'll Need
- 14-inch (or larger) platter, cutting board or sheet pan
- Silk or real autumn leaves
- Wheat stalks
- Pumpkin, 6 to 8 inches tall
- Medium gourds, 4 to 5 inches tall
- Medium glue spots
- Small gourds, 2 to 3 inches tall
- Plastic grapes
Step 1: Start With a Cornucopia
You can purchase a cornucopia at a store, but it is easy to make your own from chicken wire and burlap. An added bonus to making your own is that you can make one that is larger than the ones typically available in stores. The cornucopia used in this example is about 24 inches long.
Step 2: Cover the Platter
Cover a large platter that is at least 14 inches with real or artificial autumn leaves. Instead of a platter, you can use a wood cutting board or a sheet pan.
Place the cornucopia in the middle of the platter. Arranging the centerpiece on a platter allows you to move the cornucopia easily without disrupting the contents of the arrangement.
Step 3: Fill the Back
Stuff the back of the cornucopia with enough raffia so that the tapered section of the cornucopia is completely filled. You will need about two handfuls of raffia.
Step 4: Arrange the Wheat Stalks
Place a bunch of approximately 20 wheat stalks in the cornucopia, allowing the stalks to extend past the opening. The stems of the wheat stalks should rest against the raffia. You can find wheat stalks in the dried floral aisle of the crafts store. During the fall, they are also available at supermarkets and farmers markets.
Step 5: Place the Pumpkin
Insert a small pumpkin — between 6 to 8 inches tall — in the back of the cornucopia, against the raffia and sitting on top of the wheat stalk stems. Use either a real or artificial pumpkin. Placing a pumpkin in the back takes up a lot of room so that you will need fewer gourds and other elements in the remainder of the cornucopia.
Step 6: Arrange Larger Gourds
In front of the pumpkin, arrange medium-sized gourds that are 4 to 5 inches tall, or slightly shorter than the pumpkin you use. Rather than just placing the gourds in the cornucopia, place a glue spot on the gourds first. Glue spots, also known as glue dots, are available in the crafts store in the adhesives aisle. These glue spots are the secret ingredient that will keep the gourds and other elements in place so that they don't fall out.
Press the gourds against the pumpkin so that the glue spots adhere them together. As with the pumpkin, you can use real or artificial gourds, although artificial ones are lighter and, therefore, easier to keep in place with the glue spots.
Step 7: Layer Smaller Gourds
Arrange gourds that are 2 to 3 inches tall in front of the larger gourds and pumpkin. Again, place a glue spot on the gourd and press it against an adjacent element. Arrange some of the small gourds so that they cascade out of the cornucopia opening. We want this cup to runneth over.
For extra support, arrange the smaller gourds so that they touch at least two other elements, with a glue spot at each of those contact points.
Step 8: Frame the Opening
Arrange plastic grapes around the opening of the cornucopia between the rim and the gourds. Place a glue spot on a few of the grapes so that they stick to the gourds. They should spill out of the cornucopia. Do not use real grapes here, as they will spoil and make a mess.
Step 9: Fill in Gaps
Position additional leaves in the cornucopia to hide any gaps. (Just squeeze them between the elements; you don't need to place glue spots on them.) You can also add one or two more small gourds to balance out the arrangement if you feel there are any large empty spaces.
When your cornucopia centerpiece is bursting with beauty, display it in an entryway or on a mantel or tablescape, and enjoy it throughout the fall season.