If the traditional cornucopia just isn’t your thing, this wooden floral box makes a beautiful modern Thanksgiving centerpiece. And if you put it together now using potted plants and floral foam, this centerpiece will add seasonal flair to your table all autumn long.


  • Wooden box (old or new — I used an old wooden drawer for mine)
  • Sandpaper (100-grit)
  • Red paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Wood stain
  • Clean cloth
  • Floral foam
  • Heavy-duty plastic liner
  • Terra cotta pieces, pebbles, or stones
  • Potting soil (use a light, quick-drying kind)
  • Selection of fall flowers and foliage (potted and/or freshly cut) 
  • Fruit such as persimmons or apples and/or a lotus seedpod (optional)



Step 1: Sand your box, then apply a layer of red paint (or the color of your choice). The color will be very faint, so if you don’t like it, you can just apply an extra coat of stain later.

Step 2: Once your paint is dry, use another sheet of sandpaper to sand the box again. Sanding more heavily in certain areas will make the stain darker in those spots. You can see what my box looked like after I sanded it in the photo above.

Step 3: Stain your box. A cherry or mahogany stain goes beautifully with red paint, but the stain color is up to you. Once you’ve applied your stain and wiped off any excess with a clean cloth, set aside to dry.


Step 4: Soak your floral foam. Follow the specific instructions for the type of foam you have, as some brands will take just a couple of minutes to soak, whereas others will need to be soaked overnight.

Step 5: If you’re using potted plants like I did in addition to cut flowers, add a plastic liner and some terra cotta pieces or stones to the bottom of your box for drainage.

Step 6: Pick out your flowers and/or plants for your box. I chose the sage-colored silver mound foliage as well as an array of gold, orange, and red flowers.

Step 7: Once your floral foam is ready, position it in your box and add soil around the foam for the potted plants. Add potted plants to your soil, then cut fresh flowers at an angle and insert them into the foam at a diagonal.

Step 8: If you like, add a lotus seedpod and fruit. Insert a skewer into fruit and then sink the other end deep into the floral foam. Now make any final adjustments and set the centerpiece on your table. Once your cut flowers start to droop, you can just water the foam and insert new ones, allowing you to keep the beautiful box on your table all season long.



For more autumn-appropriate table decor, check out our DIY pumpkin centerpieces.

Alana Jones-MannAfter six years of planning large-scale events at a leading PR & marketing agency in NYC, Alana Jones-Mann decided to channel her energy into her intense passion for crafting, designing, styling, and entertaining full-time. The self-taught baker collaborates with personal and corporate clients to inspire, create, and design unique celebration elements for their events.