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Vintage Botanical Scientific Thanksgiving Table

Vintage Botanical Scientific Thanksgiving Table Ideas: scientific glass, old books, a microscope, and lots of botanical specimens create a beautiful table.

Vintage Botanical Scientific Thanksgiving Table: scientific glass, old books, a microscope, and lots of botanical specimens create a beautiful table.

Visual Story Telling

This Vintage Botanical Scientific look has long been a favourite of mine.  And I thought it was perfect to inspire some Thanksgiving table ideas for your celebration this year.

It was only fueled by a recent visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I was delighted by the scenery, and the extraordinary details -things like large mystical animal skeletons in Hogwarts main hall, books, and scientific instruments and in the darker area of Diagon Alley all the potion ingredients.  It was very inspiring.  It made me excited about the art of visual story telling -and how to do it on a table.  

The story I’m telling with my tablescape today is of a Victorian woman who is a hobby botantist.  She collects leaves, and flowers, and elements of nature, and brings them home to study them and classify them.  I imagine her working, until it’s requested that she clear the table for dinner, and in response she pushes everything to the centre and sets the table around her work.

Thrift Store Finds

I told the story using lots of vintage and thrift store pieces.  I’m excited to be working with Stouffville Care and Share, a part of MCC Thrift.  One woman’s trash is truly another woman’s treasure.  Along with keeping unwanted items out of landfill, and finding treasures at great prices, MCC thrift stores use the money they raise to do so much good with locally, nationally, and internationally in social justice, domestic abuse, towards ending poverty, and working for peace -just to name a few.

The look of the table is full of thrifted treasures.  It is full and rich. It’s the opposite of minimalist, it’s maximalist.  I’ve corralled all my items down the centre of the table on a dark runner. The main colour in the table is green, so where I could I used green elements.  

Vintage Botanical Scientific Pieces

I created the scientific feel with the use of lots of scientific glass filled with flowers, leaves, and grasses to be studied, as well as dry seeds.  

There’s also a mix of thrifted bottles holding more specimens.  I also added an old microscope, look for these in the office section of the thrift store.  I also included several plants and some glass cloches.  

To make the table feel like fall, I used pumpkins, pressed leaves and seeds all of which could be collected this time of year.

There’s a few special elements on the table -a vintage magnifying glass for further inspection, our botanist’s spectacles left on the table, antique ruler for measuring specimens, and a compass so she doesn’t get lost in the woods.  

There is a special section of Stouffville Care and Share Thrift Store where antique finds are available through silent auction.  Be sure to check it out for extra special finds. 

The vintage books used on the table are also thrift store finds.  I looked for ones with green covers to fit our colour scheme -be sure to peek under the covers.  

Place Settings

At each place setting I’ve used thrifted vintage silverware. I love the look of the mismatched sets, and add so much character to any table.  

I also used some thrifted vintage green goblets -one of my favourite finds of late.  To make each place setting extra special, I’ve added a little pumpkin and a favour.  

To make the favours I used some new test tubes -beware of using old scientific glass for food as it might have been used for chemicals or inedible substances.  I filled each test tube with chocolate covered peanuts and added a vintage looking Botanical label to use as a place card. 

You can download the Botanical label for free if you’re a subscriber to Life is a Party.  Subscribe below and download the free printable in our Free Printable Library.


This table was so much fun to put together.  I hope it inspires you to do some visual story telling in your table settings and start shopping at the thrift store.  Be sure to check out our Facebook Live and IGTV all about the table too.

With a Vintage Botanical Scientific Thanksgiving Table Ideas, life is really a party.

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