When flowers are not the preferred choice for a centerpiece, a carousel can be a beautiful alternative. It is perfect for a variety of occasions, including birthdays, baby showers, anniversaries and wedding showers. Best of all, a carousel centerpiece can be kept for décor, given away as a door prize or used in a child’s room.
Make necessary decisions about the carousel, including its color scheme, size and amount of detail. For a traditional look, choose colors of the rainbow. For an event like a baby or wedding shower, opt for the colors used for the event. The carousel’s size should be between 12 inches and 15 inches in diameter and it should have five to seven carousel animals. Decide if you want the carousel to rotate.
Purchase the supplies needed to put the carousel together. Almost everything can be purchased at an arts and crafts store like Hobby Lobby.
Prepare the carousel bottom. If you have chosen to use a microwave turntable that rotates, you should not cover it with fabric. Instead, paint the top of it a color that coordinates with the color scheme. You can opt to paint a plain wooden circle or you can cover it with fabric that is glued to the underneath side of the carousel base. Add trim, such as lace or braid. to the base if desired to give it a fancier decorative look.
Prepare the carousel top. Secure the umbrella chosen into the “up” position and glue it permanently into place. Decide if its color will work. If not, spray-paint it another color or cover it. This is easily done by cutting a circle of the same size out of the chosen fabric. Then glue it over the top of the umbrella fabric. Use trim such as lace, braid, rope, or beads to cover any rough edges. Tie various colors of ribbon around the tip of the umbrella pole to give it a festive, carnival look.
Secure the carousel bottom and the umbrella top together using the umbrella pole. Glue it directly to the carousel bottom if it is large enough to hold. Otherwise, use a small wooden circle through which the pole fits. Then glue the circle directly to the center of the carousel. Make sure that both the bottom and top are sturdy and can withstand moving. This is particularly important with a rotating carousel that might be in constant movement.
Choose which, and how many, carousel animals to use. Consider using either all horses or a combination of jungle animals. You can often purchase these either totally or partially unpainted. Using craft paint, finish coloring them in as desired. Spray each completed animal with a coat of clear acrylic. Finish them off by adding trim, like doll hair, chain, beading, jewels or other trim.
Mount each animal into a 2-inch to 2 ½-inch (diameter) wooden circle that has been painted a corresponding color. Place the animal’s dowel pole down into the center and glue it into place with hot glue. Mount the animal and its base onto the carousel at intervals predetermined by the size of the carousel bottom and the number of animals being used. If necessary, cover excess glue with trim that matches that which was used on the corresponding animal.
Tie 1/8-inch wide ribbon in a corresponding color to the top of each animal's dowel pole, making it long enough to secure the ribbon at the top inside part of the carousel umbrella. Glue it into place, making sure the animal remains intact and secure.
Add a music box, with typical carousel music, to the carousel if desired. Choose a push-button model that can be glued to the tip of the carousel or anywhere on its bottom. Choose a wind-up version if it can easily be mounted to the carousel bottom.