Natural Fall Centerpiece | A Step-by-Step Guide

A step-by-step guide for making a natural fall centerpiece that is perfect for the autumn months.

I’ve had a few requests to break down my process for putting together centerpieces and flower arrangements. I’m saving the flower arrangement process for the new year, but with the holidays coming up, I decided to share my centerpiece process. This natural fall centerpiece is easy and can be put together in just a few minutes…once you gather your elements. Let’s go!

natural fall centerpiece in dining room board and batten 2020

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Natural Fall Centerpiece: A Step-by-Step Guide

1.  Begin with a tray. You’ve seen this tray many times before and it measures 22 inches x 15 inches. It’s from Pottery Barn and is a few years old. The Water Hyacinth Tray that’s available now measures 20 inches x 14 inches.

A step-by-step guide for making a natural fall centerpiece that is perfect for the autumn months. Easy Thanksgiving centerpiece idea.

2. Place a greenery garland around the perimeter of the tray. I am using the DIY Eucalyptus Garland I made in the early fall. If you don’t have a natural garland, a faux garland will work perfectly. There are some very realistic options available at craft stores and online. 

A step-by-step guide for making a natural fall centerpiece that is perfect for the autumn months. Easy Thanksgiving centerpiece idea.

3. Next it’s time to add a few candles to our natural fall centerpiece. I am using the birch candles I showed you in my fall home tour. Now…clearly I won’t be able to light these candles because of the dried eucalyptus. A good solution for that would be LED battery operated candles. Another option is to use tall candles that safely rise above the dried eucalyptus. 

A step-by-step guide for making a natural fall centerpiece that is perfect for the autumn months. Easy Thanksgiving centerpiece idea.

4. Now it’s time to add some height. I used a tall, clear footed vase on one end of the tray and filled it with mini white pumpkins. You’ll be able to see this better when we get to the photos of the finished tray.

A step-by-step guide for making a natural fall centerpiece that is perfect for the autumn months. Easy Thanksgiving centerpiece idea.

5. To go along with the natural, neutral theme, I next added some bigger pumpkins. Again, I chose white so everything blends softly together. I sat one pumpkin upright, but tilted the other two on their sides for a bit of added interest. 

A step-by-step guide for making a natural fall centerpiece that is perfect for the autumn months. Easy Thanksgiving centerpiece idea.

6. The last steps are filling in the middle with dried hydrangeas and adding a tiny bit of color with fresh bittersweet. That’s it! Make sure to take a step back and tweak anything that looks a little off. I had trouble keeping my vase level because the tray doesn’t have a flat surface. After I moved it around a bit, it settled and if not completely straight, at least it was better!

Natural Fall Centerpiece Tip

If you need to prop or level an element in a centerpiece, here are a few things that make the job easier:

  • small pads of paper
  • book or box of matches
  • folded cardboard
  • small bowl or plate turned upside down

A step-by-step guide for making a natural fall centerpiece that is perfect for the autumn months. Easy Thanksgiving centerpiece idea.

If you’re just buying pumpkins, don’t forget to give them a bath before using them in your decor. If you do, all your pumpkins and gourds should last until Thanksgiving. The pumpkins used in this natural fall centerpiece were all purchased more than a month ago. They are still mold-free and firm. If I’m lucky, they will last until Thanksgiving!

natural fall centerpiece with white pumpkins 2020

natural fall centerpiece on dining table 2020

dining room with natural fall centerpiece 2020

This natural fall centerpiece is the first step in putting together my Thanksgiving tablescape for our Styled & Set event that’s happening next week. My table will be simple with just a touch of farmhouse charm. I hope you’ll join me for that. 

If you have never attempted a custom centerpiece, here is your chance! Just remember to make it your own and make substitutions so you can use what you already have.

  • If you don’t have a tray, use a wood cutting board or even a cookie sheet. You can disguise the surface with the elements of the centerpiece. 
  • If you don’t have a garland, clip branches from your yard and lay them around the outside of the tray.
  • If you don’t have a tall vase, use any sort of vessel…and it doesn’t have to be clear. An ironstone bowl filled with pumpkins would be lovely. Another way to get height is to stack the pumpkins. 
  • If you don’t like (or can’t find) white pumpkins, use orange. 
  • If you don’t have dried hydrangeas, pick up a bag of gourds at the grocery and layer them around the pumpkins. 

I think you get the point. Oh and remember…enjoy yourself. It doesn’t have to be perfect!

Sources:

Faux eucalyptus garland 1 | Faux eucalyptus garland 2 | Tall vase | Blue striped table runner (similar) | Birch CandlesWater Hyacinth Tray

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33 Comments

  1. Finally someone talks about getting objects to sit on trays with not quite flat bottoms. I have found that my stoneware coasters work well
    Love making vignettes on trays for each season and love your ideas. Simple but beautiful. Thankyou..

  2. Thank you for this post! I am always struggling with how to organize trays.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful centerpiece!

  4. Love your centerpiece, love the list of other items you can use.

  5. Janet - shabbyfufu says:

    Such a lovely tray Ann and a great tutorial. Happy weekend my friend!

  6. Love the arrangement, the colors, and the use of organics! Lovely design!!

  7. Ann,
    Your tray is so pretty and designed so well. All of the color and shades of your items could go into any room pallet.
    Elaine

  8. Fantástico ¡ me ha encantado!
    Mauela

  9. Ann, that centerpiece is so pretty! Thanks for all of the suggestions that can be used in case someone doesn’t have “exactly” the same things that are in your centerpiece. I’m already looking forward to your Thanksgiving table. I know it will be lovely.

  10. This is beautiful Ann and the tutorial is super helpful! I loved the ideas for substituting the tray with a cutting board – a large wide bowl might work as well… thanks!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Yes a bowl would work great!

  11. Jean Windham says:

    Love the natural tablescape. Using the tray makes it easier to move if necessary for seating guest for dinner. Love the ideas. Jean

  12. So love the bittersweet! And love the subtleness of the eeucalyptus. Nice!!

  13. I always love seeing your beautiful posts and creative ideas. Also, wondering what color is on your walls in the dinning room? Thank you!

  14. So pretty. It looks so pretty in your new dining room.

    Have a great day 😊
    Much love,
    Rose

  15. Love this!!!!!! I have all the materials just need to assemble. Hopefully mine comes out just as nice.

  16. Lucy Amelia says:

    Thanks Ann for another wonderful inspiring creation. I love it. I looked at that tray, and thought what a beautiful way to design a tray for the Christmas season as well!

  17. I love the centerpiece! I live in Alabama and have magnolia trees in my yard. They have beautiful pods on them. Could I use the branches? There are cotton fields close by. I can get some of the cotton that’s left after the harvesting.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh my gosh…magnolia and cotton bolls would be AMAZING. I’m jealous…you have to do that!

  18. Kristine Puzel says:

    So pretty… very fall without being over the top! Thank you for the setp-by-step, it’s always helpful to understand the sequence. And of including bittersweet, which I just love!

  19. Norma Rolader says:

    Oh my my you are the bomb!! This tray is beautiful and thank you for sharing the diy God bless

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you for making me smile…you are the bomb too!

  20. Love the overhead view of the centerpiece in the tutorial. Makes it so easy to see exactly what and where you added the components! Have a great day!

  21. Looks like a project I can do!

  22. Love it Ann! I’m having the high school tennis team over for a team dinner and I was missing a centerpiece ( not that they would notice). I even have the same tray… this will be fun! As always thanks for the inspiration😊

  23. Lorri Rauscher says:

    Oh what a great way of doing a vingette. You can adapt this for every season. Thanks Ann for simplying decorating. 😆

  24. Searching for a printable calendar led me to your blog in the first place; everything else is just a bonus! Can’t wait until Sunday!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Colleen and welcome! So glad you are here…

  25. Nani Hunter says:

    It’s beautiful. I may try this but with a smaller version since my table isn’t as big as yours.
    Thank you for the directions.
    Sincerely,
    Nani

  26. Wonderful guide, Ann! Very helpful, and a beautiful centerpiece. Thank you :-)

  27. Elizabeth@pineconesandacorns says:

    I love this! It is beautiful! I have a similar centerpiece made with both real and faux pieces.