FRONT AND CENTER
A homemade centerpiece adds personality to a home, setting the tone for decor while matching the colors of the season. Now is the time to start thinking about fall entertaining, and these elegant and mostly easy centerpieces are a great place to begin your autumn decorating efforts.
PUMPKIN POT OF FLOWERS
Here's a use for that extra pumpkin you never got around to carving. Real Simple suggests cutting a wide opening in the top and emptying the seeds to make enough room to place a jar inside. Fill the jar with water and fresh flowers that match the surrounding room. Whether it's made with daisies from a local florist or orange leaves and twigs from the front lawn, the completed centerpiece is handsome and easy to prepare.
NEW TREE FOR OLD LEAVES
Collect a few of the most colorful leaves as they fall and repurpose them for a whimsical centerpiece idea from Midwest Living. Start with a moderately sized branch from the yard or a florist and anchor it in a vase or pot using rocks or floral foam concealed with moss. Use hot glue to adhere favorite leaves to pieces of cardstock (or save a step by printing out some leaves) with season-specific quotes on the opposite side, and hang them on the branches using twine.
A visit to the local pumpkin patch is the perfect time to pick up a shapely gourd for crafting. Follow instructions laid out by Craft Stylish to clean the gourd, cut it, and smooth the rough edges before preparing a centerpiece. The gourd can be halved and filled with apples for an all-natural fruit bowl, or be hung like a birdhouse. Or, drill a circle in the side, and fill with flowers, moss, wheat stalks, and other natural elements.
PAGES OF A PUMPKIN
Sometimes a great centerpiece requires sacrifice. The blog Crafting Mom begins by choosing an old book, removing the front and back covers, and using a utility or craft knife to carve the remaining pages into a pumpkin shape. Color the edges a vibrant orange and top the centerpiece with leaves made of green felt and thin wire, which can be curled around a pen or pencil for a corkscrew effect, then fan the pages out evenly.
Whatever cranberries don't get boiled into sauce and served as part of the Thanksgiving meal can be used to create a punch bowl centerpiece suggested by Ocean Spray. Fill a clear, wide-mouthed serving bowl with water and enough cranberries to create a complete layer on top. Supplement the berries with a few floating tea candles and a large live flower.
This centerpiece, an assortment of colorful veggies arranged to resemble a turkey, doubles as an appetizer before a hearty dinner of actual turkey. Follow instructions from the blog Eating With Food Allergies to create the turkey's likeness using baby carrots, cucumber, celery, and bell pepper, with toothpicks to keep it all together.
Pick apples with vibrant colors for a centerpiece from the EAB Designs blog. Create a base by filling circular peat pots from a gardening or home supply store with real or fake moss and tying fallen leaves around the sides. Use a melon baller and a small paring knife to carve out a tealight-size opening at the top of each apple. (If doing this in advance, rub the apples with lemon juice to make them last longer and store in the refrigerator.) Drop the candles in and light them when it's time to greet guests.
Country Living suggests wrapping an ornamental doily around a clean, smudge-free glass vase, trimming away the excess fabric and stitching the doily together in just enough spots to create a tight fit. At a glance, it might look as if the doily is standing on its own.
This centerpiece on the blog StoneGable is little more than a collection of seasonal staples such as leaves, decorative gourds, colorful Indian corn, and pinecones arranged on a burlap runner. Afford yourself some creativity in emulating the original design, which features a wooden bowl at the center. A few small candles complete the arrangement.
BOTTLES AND BERRIES
Pair green, gold, and clear vintage-style bottles with the branches of the bittersweet berries common during autumn to create a centerpiece from Midwest Living. Place these bottles bursting with seasonal reds and golds on a dining table or sunny windowsills.
For a simple seasonal centerpiece, buy at least three heirloom pumpkins of varying size and color and stack them atop one another. Cut the stems from every pumpkin except the top one and use hot glue or heavy-duty adhesive to add stability. The blog Holidappy has some ideas for fancier treatments.
For an elegant tribute to the earth tones of the harvest season, look no further than a classic wheat bundle centerpiece from the blog Uncommon Designs. Find one or two bunches of golden wheat (available at craft stores and other places where dried plants are sold) and use wired burlap ribbon to tie them together near the center of the stalks, creating an hourglass shape. Fan or thin the stalks as desired atop a piece of wood to create the finished piece.
TREE BARK VASES
The blog Hostess with the Mostess has a tutorial for an advanced project that requires the paper-like bark from a melaleuca tree (also commonly called a honey myrtle, tea tree, or, for obvious reasons, paperbark tree). Put soaked floral foam from a garden supply shop in recycled plastic food containers and wrap the bark around them, securing it with brown twine. Fill the containers with flowers or bunches of edible leafy greens to match the mild color of the bark.