How to Make a Turkey Centerpiece from Flowers

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Image Credit: Jonathan Fong

When it comes to Thanksgiving centerpieces, this DIY turkey made from Thanksgiving flowers will gobble up all the compliments. Although this holiday flower arrangement is made with chrysanthemums, a bird of paradise, a palm frond and cattails, you can substitute different flowers depending on what's available in your area. After all, there's more than one way to prepare a turkey.

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Things You'll Need

  • Floral foam

  • Knife

  • Bucket

  • Platter

  • Scissors

  • Chrysanthemums or other fall flowers

  • Palm frond

  • Cattails

  • Bird of paradise flower

1. Carve the floral foam

Image Credit: Jonathan Fong

Floral foam comes in standard-sized bricks in the floral supply section of your local crafts store. Carve the floral foam with a knife, rounding out the edges until you have an oval shape.

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Tip

Purchase floral foam that is designated for fresh flowers, as stores also sell floral foam for artificial flowers. Only the foam for real flowers will absorb water.

2. Soak the foam

Image Credit: Jonathan Fong

Place the carved floral foam in a bucket of water. You will know the foam has completely absorbed water when it turns dark green. Then place the wet floral foam on a platter.

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3. Cut the chrysanthemums and insert

Image Credit: Jonathan Fong

Orange, gold, brown, red and reddish-brown chrysanthemums are plentiful during the fall season, and the petals make perfect turkey feathers for your arrangement. If you don't have access to chrysanthemums, any flower with petals of a similar color family will work.

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Chrysanthemums are inexpensive, beautiful flowers perfect for Thanksgiving decor. They typically come in big bunches of about 25 buds. You will need about three bunches of flowers to cover the floral foam. Using scissors, cut the stems to about 1 inch.

Tip

Other flowers that you can use for this project include daisies, gerberas, sunflowers and carnations, all of which are available in fall colors year-round.

You can find chrysanthemums and other seasonal flowers for your Thanksgiving bouquet at grocery stores as well as florist shops.

Insert the stems straight down into the floral foam, starting at the top and working your way down. Push the stem all the way in until the bud reaches the foam.When you're done covering the floral foam in flowers, you will have what looks like a meatloaf — a turkey meatloaf.

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4. Cut and insert the palm frond

Image Credit: Jonathan Fong

A palm frond creates the turkey's tail feathers, as the leaves splay out like plumage. If you don't have a palm frond, you can use ferns, pine branches or even stalks of rosemary — just as long as they fan out like a turkey's tail. Trim the stem of the palm frond, leaving about 2 inches. You may also need to cut off some of the bottom leaves of the palm frond if it's too long.

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At the back of the turkey body, insert the palm frond. At this point, it looks more like a pineapple than a turkey, but don't worry, it will look like a turkey soon enough.

5. Trim and insert the cattails

Image Credit: Jonathan Fong

To add more dimension to the turkey tail feathers, add more fall botanicals that will help shape the plumage. Cattails are used in this example, but you can also use wheat stalks, foxtails, lavender, corn husks or any other natural element you can arrange in a semi-circle in the back. Whatever you use, trim the individual stalks to about 12 to 14 inches.

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Insert the stems of the cattails into the floral foam directly in front of the palm frond.

6. Cut the bird of paradise

Image Credit: Jonathan Fong

For the turkey head and neck, a bird of paradise is ideal because it already looks like an aviary creature. Cut the stem to about 12 inches with scissors.

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If you cannot find a bird of paradise, look for another flower with a long, thick stem and a large head, like a calla lily. Or use a thick branch and place a chili pepper on the end as a head. There's also nothing wrong with cutting out a paper head and neck and attaching it to the front.

7. Insert the "turkey head"

Image Credit: Jonathan Fong

Insert the stem at the front of the turkey's body, pushing aside a few flowers to fit the stem in. If you feel the neck is too long compared to the feathers, trim the stem a few more inches until you're happy with the proportion of all the components of the floral centerpiece.

8. Display your floral turkey centerpiece

Image Credit: Jonathan Fong

Display the turkey centerpiece floral arrangement proudly on your Thanksgiving table, or make one as a hostess gift. Thanks to the floral foam, the arrangement will last for about a week. And whoever receives it will certainly be giving thanks — to you.

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