How To: Fruit Centerpieces

Metallic spray paint makes anything fancy!

Gilded Fruit Centerpiece | A Practical WeddingGilded Fruit Centerpiece | A Practical WeddingGilded Fruit Centerpiece | A Practical WeddingGilded Fruit Centerpiece | A Practical WeddingGilded Fruit Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

Before we get started, if you’re wondering, “Did a lot of the projects you do for your non-floral wedding centerpieces shoot involve spray paint?” The answer is an unabashed YES. Because you know what? Spray paint looks awesome, and is the ultimate in lazy-girl crafting. It’s basically: shake, spray, let dry, go back and look if it needs a second coat. And the best part is, metallic spray paint is my favorite, and almost never needs a second coat. Thanks universe!

When I suggested to Michelle Edgemont (APW’s own favorite Brooklyn wedding designer) that we come up with fruit centerpieces, she looked dubious. Because if you Google “fruit centerpieces,” things get a little… rough. But we persevered, because fruit is cheap (and can be eaten on the way home), and was made pretty.

For this centerpiece, we used a more fall-feeling arrangement of fruit. Since apples and pears are available year round, you can replicate it any old time. But if you decide you want to vary up the fruit, your test run is as simple as, “Buy a lot of limes, spray paint a few, decide if you like it, make margaritas.” You’re welcome. You should probably do that test run, just in case. (I’m sure I don’t need to say this, but no margarita’s with the spray painted limes, kthanxbye.)

We spray painted a selection of the fruit with metallic paint. Now, Maddie suggested that spray painting real fruit was wasteful, and we should get plastic fruit, and that might feel right to you. I ended up deciding that A) I was too lazy to buy plastic fruit, B) Plastic seemed like a bigger environmental hazard than wasting a handful of apples, C) I waste this many apples every month by forgetting about them in our kitchen bowl, so I’m just not that responsible a fruit buyer anyway. Alas.

The trick, and expense of this centerpiece is selecting the type, and quantity of your fruit holding vessels. We went with this awesome modern cake stand from West Elm. At $34, it may well not be practical if you have lots of tables to fill. (But you should probably buy it for your personal use, because it’s the prettiest cake stand I’ve ever seen, and now gets regular use in our household.) More practical options include these more affordable cake stands, or pretty bowls (either of these sizable silver bowls might work nicely on a big table), or baskets, depending on your taste.

The next thing to consider is how much you’ll need to fill a table. We shot this on a smaller table than you’re liable to be using for your wedding. So for round tables, you might want to consider groupings of three, though this would be lovely on longer tables, using cake stands or bowls, or even longer trays. (Hot tip: spray painted fruits also make awesome plate dressings, if you feel like skipping centerpieces all together for long family style tables.)

Beyond that, this centerpiece is so beautiful, simple and affordable, that no instructions are needed. Just… enjoy.


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  • MirandaVanZ

    How far in advance can you spray paint the fruit? I imagine doing them 2 weeks ahead of time would leave them looking nasty by the time the wedding rolls around, or not, I’ve never spray painted any food before.

    • Meg Keene

      I’d suggest doing your own test run. BUT. After we did these I kept the fruit around for quite awhile to test it out. Let’s put it this way: the spray painted fruit seemed to last as long or longer as the non-spray painted fruit. I’d say doing it the weekend before (and spray painting some extras, in case a few get gross) is probably super safe.

      Pro-tip: The spray painted pumpkins lasted FOREVER. We did them in early October, and I threw them out (in perfectly fine shape) a week after Thanksgiving. It might make them super human.

      • Caroline

        It’s just the pumpkins themselves which are superhuman. We usually buy a bunch of decorative pumpkins in the fall and throw them out sometime between may and August when they start to get a little squishy.

        • Alison O

          Yes, have a pumpkin chilling in our kitchen bought sometime in October. Never got around to carving it. It does not appear to have deteriorated whatsoever. It probably helps that our house has no insulation with the polar vortex and whatnot.

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Neighbor kids painted one side of their tiny pumpkins with acrylic paint in early October here in the Bay Area. They look fine today each time I step around them to get to the building’s washer and dryer. I think the painted sides will go before the plain sides, actually, ’cause of the water-based paint.

  • BreckW

    Loooove this!! Someone please do gold pineapples!

    • Stella

      Love this idea!

    • Meg Keene


    • Gretchen

      or artichokes?! Yay spiky things!

    • EF

      I am definitely willing to take that on. We were planning fruit centerpieces anyway! And this is brilliant!

      • BreckW

        Please come back with photos of this!

  • Kayjayoh

    There is also edible metallic spray paint.

    I have no idea whether it is tasty or healthy, but it exists.

  • C R

    Also, cool cakestands are really easy to make yourself for way cheap. Just shop at thrift stores and pick up plates/bowls/cups that fit your style. I did about 30 of them for maybe $75? It took some time, because I was looking for vintage-type china, but it was fun! And, you can always just buy a whole set of dishes to cut down on the search time (even the nice china sets are usually <$50 around here). You'll always be able to find little glass dessert bowls at Goodwill for the bottom of the stand, too…very plentiful and they work great. Just flip it upside down, glue it to the underside of the plate with epoxy, and you're set. Cheap, easy, customized, and pretty.
    Bonus: I'm selling any I couldn't give away for way more than I paid to make them (and then ditching the rest back to Goodwill).

    • ART

      I just invisibly (because I’m at work) smacked myself on the head because your comment solved one of those “DUH” problems I was having with my lot of thrift-store silver platters and worrying that they were going to be too flat in my centerpiece arrangements (I’m doing long tables end-to-end, with various thrifted silver pieces down the center). DUH. GLUE SOMETHING TO THE BOTTOM. Thank you!

      • C R

        Great!!! I’d say try a few different things to see what works — my whole theme was mix’n’match, so I used a variety of bowls, teacups, dessert bowls, and even a smaller plate that curved up (for our cheesecake wedding cake — didn’t want it too high and unstable since it was heavy). I tried hotglue but it was super humid here and mostly they fell apart, so I’d stick with epoxy to attach them. Have fun!!

    • Meg Keene

      What do you glue to the bottom? #dense

      • Hannah B

        I’m guessing she turned the bowl over and glued the bottom of the bowl to the bottom of the tray, so as to re-purpose the bowl from holder of things to supporter of things

        • Hannah B

          I was looking for one pic to share and instead found an entire pinterest board devoted to this topic!!
          CR are any of these yours? :-)

          • C R

            Haha, no, none are mine, but aren’t they all so pretty? :) Here’s a photo I dug up of a couple of mine, pre-assembly. Just flip the dessert cups upside down and glue! I had the same trouble with candlesticks being unstable (we loaded ours up on each table with whoopee pies as our dessert choice, instead of doing a big cake), so teacups and the dessert bowls were far more stable and also looked great. I’d be happy to post/send more photos if you’d like, though I’m sure the Pinterest inspiration has better photography skills :) I was going for a vintage mix’n’match theme, so all of them were different — I was very happy with how they turned out. They also travel well, if you wait to glue them at your venue — I couldn’t fit 30 of these fully assembled in the car for a two hour drive!

    • tashamoes

      Yes! I made 5 of different sizes a few years ago and they’ve been lent out for at least 10 events now, and they’re still holding up. I used glass candlesticks/taper holders for the bottoms of some of mine which looks amazing but isn’t steady once you put something heavy on the cake stand. I think we used aquarium silicone to join them since it is meant to hold glass together. Worked perfectly.

  • ART

    Just gathered about 40 pine cones for my redwoods-themed table (it’s a big table…) and I’m totally going to spray paint some of them silver…can’t wait! bonus – they are dried out so I can do them pretty far in advance.

  • BreckW

    Also, just wanted to put in a plug that a lot of the new Target home decor (specifically the Smith & Hawken stuff) would look great for some of these centerpiece ideas. I love this wood bowl and this copper tray. Looks like a lot of it is on sale right now, too!

  • KC

    Any after-notes on the maximum/minimum longevity of the spray-painted fruits involved? (Just based on how-long-they-live-in-my-refrigerator-before-they-go-sad, I’d expect pomegranates to last a reaaally long time, then citrus fruits, then apples, then pears not long? But I’ve never spray-painted fruits, so I don’t really know how ahead-of-time you could do the spray-paint part.)

    (I admit I’m probably not ever ever ever going to do this, unless you could actually peel the fruit afterwards, because I have some sort of visceral anti-plastic-fruit feeling and also would feel really weird making edible foods non-edible for decorative purposes, but it seems like some very approximate date ranges might be useful info for anyone actually doing this project?)

    • KC

      (Sorry, missed the “seems to last about as long as normal fruit” comment info above!)

  • Elena

    I gotta say: my take-away from this post is that I should be using a cake stand as a fruit bowl in my kitchen. Because: oooooh pretty!

  • Ladybee

    So… Where does the hot glue come into it? A how-to without including details of how to use one component?

  • hmmm so I’m thinking of doing basically this but with wine bottles and opaque paper so that I don’t have to try to remove all the labels – voila! vases! and I got to drink the wine! haha!

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