Hydrangeas In Rustic Urn- Tutorial

Thanksgiving Centerpiece Tutorial:Taking natural elements and turning them into a centerpiece.

I see things all around me that inspire and delight me. Beautiful things! And many of the blogs I visit are like big picture books filled with creative ideas and helpful instructions.

I recently saw a breathtakingly lovely urn at Artie’s blog, Color Outside The Lines.  Bold, yet delicate, hydrangeas accented with pheasant feathers spilling over a creamy urn . It was magnificant!  I knew right away that I would try to make something similar for my Thanksgiving table. Thanks Artie, you blog and ideas are truely inspirational!

I hope this tutorial inspires you too!

Thanksgiving Urn Centerpiece:

Aquire urn. I bought mine, but you could use an old flowerpot, basket, bowl on a pedestal or even a big painted jar. This was an investment piece for me.  I am putting the arrangement in my daughter’s and son-in-laws guest room when it is done on the table. I did not spend anything on the natural elements. Just got them from my yard.

Gather supplies:
Dustbuster (great tool, to keep from having a disaster of a mess, clean up as you go)
Turntable (to put urn on, so you can easily turn it when decorating, see urn picure above)
Dried hydrangeas
Styrofoam block to fit urn
Florist’s tape
Florist’s picks

I got some of my hydrangeas from the bushes around my home, and got some from friends bushes (thanks friends!)

Remove all leaves from hydrangeas. This is where my dustbuster comes in so very handy!  I get discouraged doing a project that leaves an atomic-bomb-of-a-mess and takes longer to clean up than to actually do the project!  And this tends to be a messy project.  Take a couple of seconds, to dustbust your mess, and go on.

Collect long willowy twigs. I used Weeping Cherry branches.

Strip the branches of leaves. Again, use your dustbuster! Not only on your work surface, but on the foor. You will be glad you did!
To anchor the arrangement in the urn I cut a piece of styrofoam block to fit inside the urn and used sticky, shiny florist tape to anchor the strofoam.  I have had many a sloppy and floppy arrangement because I did not do this step! Live and learn.
It is important to know how high, wide and deep you can make your centerpiece. I was going to put the urn in the middle of the table. The bottom of my chandelier is 32 inches from my table, so I decided that my centerpiece could be no more than 29″ high. (See info about arrangement height at bottom of tutorial)
The width did not matter for this centerpiece, and the depth should be no more than 22″ to accommodate
the place settings on the table.
I began by placing the twigs in the urn to give me perameters to work in.  I measured and cut a twig to fit in the center of the urn that was 29″ high.
Now it is time to add the twigs to give a limit to your width and depth.

After all the twigs have been stuck in the urn, and have been checked to make sure of spacing and length, begin adding hydrangeas.  This is where you have to play a bit. I begin by placing the hydrangeas to form almost an outline of the fullness I want and then fill it in.  Continue to turn the urn and remember to sweep up the mess with your dustbuster!

Keep working until the arrangement has the fullness and look you want from all sides. It is worth the extra work and attention to detail here.
After arranging the hydrangeas, add feathers. I put them on picks so they would be easily go into the styrofoam.
Turn the arrangement as you place in the feathers so they are evenly distrubuted.
To add an extra sparkle and shine I wanted to use glass acorn ornaments.  They were grouped in three by putting them on a wire pick.
Place them here and there, in the arrangement.  Try to place some high, medium and low.  Even distribution is the goal.
This technique would work wonderfully with greens for Christmas too.  If I were not using  this arrangement in another room after Thanksgiving, I would also add greens on picks, and use glittery Christmas ornaments instead of the acorns.
I might try this technique using holly and greens with loops of ribbon on picks and ornaments.I have a Christmas bowl that would work nicely for this type of arrangement.  I would put it on a pedestal.
The important thing is that you have done something yourself and learned something new! That you have taken what you have and with just a few additions made something very special!
An extra note: I was, until recently, very worried about the height of my arrangements- I felt that it was important that my guest could see eachother so they could enjoy everyone’s company. I said “the comfort of my guest before beauty”. But, I also know that nothing give a punch to a table like a high arrangement. 
Susan, our lovely host, wrote me a little note and told me that it is perfectly fine to have an arrangement as tall as you like, just remove it during dinner.  This sounds wonderful.  I will replace this big urn, with a low
arrangement filled with hydrangeas, and put the large one on my sideboard. Thanks, Susan.

I am joing Susan for Metamorphsis Monday, at Between Naps On The Porch. Thanks Susan
I am joining Jules @ Persimmon Perch for Made It Monday, Thanks Jules!

I am joining The DYI Show-Off

The DIY Show Off


  1. says

    It is so beautiful. Of course hydrangeas are one of my favorites. You are so much more precise than I am when making an arrangement. I am one of those “just eyeball it” people. I don’t have much of a plan. I do gather my items, group my colors and then I just start adding things. I really love the way yours turned out.


  2. says

    Beautiful and I love the way the hydrangeas are such soft colors as they dry. Where did you get the acorn ornaments? They are really the crowing touch to me. Thanks for sharing and I might even get brave enough to try this sometime.

  3. says

    Your tutorial is fabulous and your arrangement is stunning. I love all the beautiful earthy tones and the feathers are the perfect finishing touch. I made a similar arrangement for my last TT post. I love how it looks on the table. Your placesetting and accessory pieces are all so beautifully put together. Such a beautiful table. Hugs, Marty

  4. says

    I love it – such a beautiful work of art. I love the idea of making large arrangements but always hesitate because I hate to have to move it for dinner. But the idea you shared to make a smaller one for dinner works for me. More fun for me making two versions :) Happy Thanksgiving!!

  5. says

    Thank you so very much for walking us through the creation of this awesome arrangement, Yvonne! It is truly beautiful & you did a great job of explaining how you created it.
    I hope to try one for Christmas soon! Most appreciate your tutorial. 😀


  6. says

    Hi Yvonne, I’m a bit late to the party to see your lovely hydrangea centerpiece but so glad I came by. If only my Annabelles would give me anything likes these. Yours and the friends are terrific looking and it takes an eye to combine those in the stone planter you chose. Great inspiration. And thanks for calling on us.

  7. Anonymous says

    WOW, HOW GORGEOUS!!! I have found your blog and am loving every little bit of it! You are so creative and I look forward to making this in my own home! I LOVE hydrangeas and I think they look good year round! Thanks for the inspiration! Ana

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