Style Solutions

How To: Elevate Your Holiday Centerpiece

Thanksgiving is just a few days awaycan you believe it? You’ve got the menu planned, and the seating assignments set. Now for the tabletop. For a gorgeous, seasonally appropriate, and unique centerpiece, we’ve got this fabulous “how-to” from Amy Howard, our favorite DIY expert. Read on for all the instruction you’ll need for a festive table all season long.

Gilded Thanksgiving Pumpkins

Home décor takes on extra-special meaning this time of year. Who doesn’t love to add a little sparkle and shine to their seasonal decorations? It’s not only appropriate; it’s necessary. Finding ways to elevate a holiday centerpiece can be a challenge. This year I wanted to make a Thanksgiving centerpiece from pumpkins that make a real statement.

I think these painted pumpkins with gold gilded stems welcome us into fall and lead right into Christmas. Painting the pumpkins white enhances their beautiful organic shape, while the gold leaf adds a sense of luxuriousness to your table. What a gorgeous design statement! And it is so incredibly easy to do. I hope you love it as much as I do!

For This Holiday Décor Project, You Will Need:

  • Pumpkins
  • Amy Howard at Home© Gold Leaf™
  • Amy Howard at Home© Gilding Size™
  • Amy Howard at Home© Clean Slate™
  • Amy Howard at Home© One Step Paint™
  • Clean lint-free rag
  • Nylon bristle brush
  • Round tapered nylon bristle brush
  • Natural bristle brush
  • Wooden crate
  • Greenery

Step 1:

Using your Amy Howard at Home© Clean Slate™ and clean lint-free rag, wipe down your pumpkin and make sure to remove all dirt and grime. Let the pumpkin dry before painting. Cleaning your pumpkin first will prevent the paint and gold leaf from peeling off, a look you do not want in this particular project.

Step 2:

After your pumpkin is completely dry, it’s time to paint your holiday décor! Here I am using Amy Howard at Home© One Step Paint™ in Ballet White. Make sure you stir your paint first before applying. Using your nylon brush, apply as many coats as you desire, making sure to let each layer dry between coats. I achieved beautiful color and coverage with two coats of paint. Don’t forget to paint the stem!

Step 3:

Let your pumpkin completely dry. To speed up this process, you may use a blow dryer. Keep the blow dryer at least ten inches away from your pumpkin. Too much heat will cause the paint to shrink and crack.

Step 4:

Now it’s time to gild the stem! Using your round tapered nylon brush, apply a layer of Amy Howard at Home© Gilding Size™ to the stem of your pumpkin. Make sure your coverage is even and consistent. Let the gilding size dry until tacky. Clear and transparent gilding size is what we’re looking for. The drying time is usually 15-25 minutes.

Step 5:

Finally, my favorite part! Take your Amy Howard at Home© Gold Leaf™ booklet and apply it to your pumpkin stem. Be sure not to touch the gold leaf until after application. Oils from your fingers may transfer onto the gold leaf resulting in a poor application. Make sure there is a piece of tissue paper between your hand and the gold leaf at all times during application.

Wrap the gold leaf around the stem pressing firmly until the gold leaf has transferred fully. Because the gold element is what really makes this holiday centerpiece special, go back in with another sheet of gold leaf for full coverage of the stem if needed. You may now use your fingers to press down any lingering pieces of gold leaf.

Step 6:

With your natural bristle brush, gently dust off all excess gold leaves left behind. I just love the way the gold leaf catches the light!

Step 7:

Now we are ready to piece our holiday centerpiece together. Here I am using a wooden crate to put my greenery and pumpkins in. It is now ready to be the star of your table! Fill your crate with plants or flowers of your choice and place the pumpkins in whatever fashion you desire.

Now it is your turn to enjoy the bragging rights!

For looks that are as unforgettable as your centerpiece, go to

Amy Howard

Amy wore our Effortless Cotton Shirt and Destructed Jeggings. The jewelry is her own (isn’t it gorgeous?).

To get more great ideas for restoring antiques and elevating your home, go to Amy’s site here

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