In Greek myth, the original cornucopia provided food for Zeus when he was young. The legend goes that his foster mother Amalthea (who may or may not have been a goat) broke one of her horns off, and it magically created a continuous supply of nourishment for the godly baby. This story has persisted for thousands of years now, making the cornucopia an enduring symbol of abundance, prosperity, and wealth.
As a centerpiece for Thanksgiving and other harvest celebrations, the horn of plenty is a visual expression of gratitude for good fortune.
Creating a Horn of Plenty Centerpiece
Making a cornucopia is a fun, simple project. The supplies you need depend on the size of the horn you pick and your vision for the final product. The list of materials provided features some of the standard items, but you can add as many as you like, focus on just one or two items, or make a smorgasbord with a little bit of everything.
Whether you use fresh or artificial items depends on the length of time you plan to have the cornucopia on display. Miniature gourds can last for several weeks while some varieties of miniature pumpkins can last for several months.
Use artificial fruit and vegetables inside the horn of plenty if you plan to store the cornucopia for use in future holiday displays. Use fresh fruit and vegetables outside the horn as additional short-term decor, which is not secured to the horn and can be thrown away once the holidays are over.
Lay out all of your supplies on a spacious table or countertop where you have access to an electrical outlet.
Plug in the hot glue gun and insert a clear glue stick. (Place the glue gun out of reach of children and away from other supplies.)
Open any bags or boxes containing supplies so you have easy access to each item.
Be creative and don't be afraid to experiment with colors and/or other decorative items other than those mentioned.
Begin by placing a layer of moss inside the cornucopia from front to back pressing it down so it is secure within the horn. You can add a dollop of hot glue beneath the moss at each corner for added security. The moss works as a colorful filler as well as a platform to glue items, if you choose, such as acorns, nuts, and leaves.
Starting at the back of the cornucopia, begin placing assorted items such as miniature gourds, pumpkins, and squash. You'll want these to be secure and not wobbling around or rolling out of the horn. Use hot glue to secure each piece in place to the bottom or sides of the horn and/or to neighboring items.
Continue to build out the base of the horn adding items to the back and to the very end (tip) of the horn. Be sure all items are securely glued in place. Also, keep the horn evenly weighted to prevent it from tipping forward.
Next, begin adding some of the smaller items such as nuts, acorns, and pinecones to the front area of the horn. These are decorative as well as filler items. Use hot glue to secure each.
Once you have the base items in place, begin strategically adding a second layer of items. This step is where you will begin visualizing how every item is working together, which items may need to be moved around a bit, and areas that need filler items. The goal is to have the cornucopia completely filled.
Place the assorted leaves in and around the gourds and pumpkins like a frame. The leaves serve as an aesthetic complement, highlighting the colors of the gourds and pumpkins. Be sure to disperse the leaves so all colors are being displayed evenly.
Step back from the piece to get an overall look at the horn, so you can see, and fix, any gaps that can be filled in with additional pinecones, nuts, acorns, etc.
The last item to be placed will be the grapes. Secure these close to the end (tip) of the horn. When you place the cornucopia on the table, you'll want some of the grapes to be outside of the horn, so they are lying on the table.
When you place the Thanksgiving table on the table, you can then add several real or artificial pumpkins, gourds, squash, and other decorative items outside the horn, along with the grapes, to create the illusion that the horn of plenty is overflowing with goodness. This is the point where you use actual fruit and vegetables to display if you choose.
When doing this project, whether you are doing it individually, with your family, or with a group of friends, the most important step to remember is that there is no right or wrong way for the end result to look because it is based on your vision and imagination.