12 Ideas for Cheap, Festive, Fall Decor

This time of year gets the best of me when it comes to my inner nesting goddess. Whereas during the summer I'd rather cool off than decorate our spaces, fall brings me indoors and into full-on festive-mode. If you've been to the store to check out how much little knickknacks cost, your eyes might bug out of your head (which might help with a Halloween costume — but still!). (See also: 15 Easy Fall Pizzas)

Try these 12 inexpensive projects using items you can find in your backyard or otherwise on the cheap.

1. Cozy Candle

This autumnal candle project costs just $6 for two, and most all of the supplies can be purchased at dollar discount stores. Fill a glass candle jar with some un-popped popcorn, stick a candle inside, and tie some raffia ribbon in a bow around it. I suggest embellishing your finished piece with colorful leaves you find outdoors for free.

2. Thankful Tree

Celebrate Thanksgiving early this year by making a DIY Thankful Tree. Fill a Ball jar with assorted nuts (or wine corks), then poke in a few sticks from outside. The rest is flexible, as the author uses wooden chalkboard tags to write down her thoughts. You can also use inexpensive paper tags. Tie a ribbon or some burlap around the jar and place on your mantel.

3. Fall Potpourri

Don't just make your place look like fall, let the scents mingle and linger as well. This fall potpourri is made using ingredients you likely have on hand, including orange peel, apple, cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla and almond extracts, and plain water. Fill a stock pot and let simmer all day long to wrap yourself in the warm aroma.

4. Junkin' Pumpkins

Skip the patch this year and recycle your old aluminum cans to make these cute Junkin' Pumpkins. Find some empty tin cans of assorted sizes and paint them orange using craft paint. Use branches and wire to make convincing stems, and then decorate with ribbon or whatever else you think will make them pop. Bonus: They won't rot, so you can keep them for next year's decor!

5. Gold Leaf

If you have an old frame begging for a photo, consider trekking outside and finding a leaf for this sophisticated art project. Clean off any dirt or debris on the leaf with plain water, let dry, and then paint with metallic paint and let set. Place a clean sheet of paper or card stock behind the leaf and then frame for display.

6. Festive Garland

While you're looking for leaves, pick up some pine cones, too. You can make a beautiful garland by tethering the cones with twine or hot glueing other items you find — like flowers and leaves — to the string. Feel free to paint cones for a brighter look. Then hang over a door or fireplace mantel.

7. Pumpkin Planters

Maybe you'd rather hollow out your pumpkin and plant some mums inside. You'll need to drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage, but the rest of the project is super easy. Pack in some dirt, plop in your plant, and water as usual. For the best prices on pumpkins and mums, head to a local farm.

8. Carve-Less Pumpkins

I hate carving pumpkins. I usually cut myself or make a huge mess. You can paint pumpkins using acrylics for a gorgeous addition to your indoor or outdoor decorations. One blogger even snagged puffy paint for an impressive 3-D impact. Or let your pumpkin double as a message board or table decor using chalkboard paint and chalk.

9. Wrapped Wreath

Use those yarn remnants to make a colorful wreath you'll use for years to come. You'll need a wreath form, that you can find at most craft stores, and — of course — yarn. Wrap the yarn over the form until you get the look you want. Then decorate using buttons, fabric flowers, or anything else you like.

10. Nature Wreath

Not as crafty? It's okay! Check your local fabric or craft store for a wood or wicker wreath and then use hot glue to decorate it to your best ability. There's no right or wrong way. You can make simple felt rosettes or use items you find outdoors — acorns, leaves, etc. — for a punch of color.

11. Sensational Centerpiece

If you're hosting any gatherings, you'll likely want to jazz up your dining table. Don't over-think or over-spend. Instead, glue together a few boards (you can ask your store to cut them for you) and make a base to fill with whatever you choose. You can also use a container you already have on hand. Head to the farmers' market to stock up on small squashes, gourds, and pumpkins that will double as decor and food at a later date. Round out the look by placing a few candles in Ball jars.

12. Apple Candles

Or skip all that and try these genius DIY Apple Votives. Cut into the top of your apples with a paring knife to make enough space for your votive. You'll want to sprinkle a little lemon juice to keep the exposed fruit from turning brown. Oh, and you can skip the expensive steel tub and arrange these candles on your dining table atop a plate or other fire-safe surface.

How do you decorate for fall? Please share in comments!

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