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DIY Fall Decor Ideas

Learn how to make your own fall decor, including this reversible wooden scarecrow/snowman!

Learn how to make your own fall decor, including this reversible wooden scarecrow/snowman!

DIY Fall Décor

I absolutely love fall décor! Since autumn is my favorite time of the year, that’s not surprising. The cooler, drier weather is a welcome change from the hot, humid southern summers, and there are lots of fun activities to enjoy in the fall: fairs, festivals, Halloween, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, football games, and Thanksgiving. What’s not to love? If you want to celebrate the season, add some do-it-yourself fall decorations to your home, your yard, your porch, and your deck. Just about anything related to the fall months can be incorporated, including pumpkins, gourds, fall flowers, Indian corn, wreaths, garlands, scarecrows, apples, jack-o’-lanterns, pinecones, colorful leaves, cornucopias, sprays of berries, dried twigs, seed pods, and bales of hay. Heck, around these parts, people even use branches of cotton plants. If you’re crafty, you might want to create some wood décor of your own. Below are some tips and ideas for do-it-yourself fall crafts with a primitive/rustic theme.

I love primitive decor for fall decorating!

I love primitive decor for fall decorating!

Primitive Décor – Rustic Décor

I love primitive décor and rustic décor for fall. To me, they just seem to go together. Whenever I think of fall, images like fields, woods, old barns, rustic farmhouses, and such come to mind, so rustic décor is certainly fitting. Rustic décor and primitive décor are a lot easier to create, too. You don’t have to be so careful about getting every detail perfect, and, in fact, some “mistakes” actually add to the charm. That’s something you might want to think about as you’re making your DIY fall décor – provided you’re embracing a rustic or primitive theme.

I use lots of fall decor indoors!

I use lots of fall decor indoors!

Fall Décor – Indoors

I use fall décor in more than just my dining room. I enjoy placing autumn décor items in my kitchen, breakfast room, and living room. I even use some in my guest bathroom. In there, I use hand towels with an autumn motif, silk chrysanthemums, and candles in fall colors. In other rooms, I use lots of pumpkins. I love pumpkins! I also use chrysanthemums, colorful gourds, autumn leaves, berries, garlands, scarecrows, and apples. And for my table setting, I like to use plates and napkins in fall colors, including sage green, rust, yellow, burgundy, and orange.

Square Primitive Pumpkins

Square Primitive Pumpkins

More Primitive Pumpkins

More Primitive Pumpkins

Square Primitive Pumpkins

I’ve sold lots of these primitive pumpkins! To make them, you’ll need a 4 x 4, a wooden dowel, some green burlap, green wire, E-600 glue or hot glue, orange paint, and green paint. I use rustic 4 x 4s for mine because I get them free from my son-in-law. If you don’t access to such freebies, you can buy 4 x 4s at practically any hardware or building supplies store.

First, cut the square post into different lengths, depending on how tall you want your pumpkins to be. Next, you might want to remove each top corner, just to give them a little more rounded shape. Paint the pumpkins orange, deep yellow, or pale green. When the paint has dried, drill a hole in the top of each pumpkin – the size of the dowel you’re going to use. I vary the length of my dowel-stems. Paint the dowel green and allow to dry.

Place drop of glue on the bottom portion of the dowel and push it firmly into the hole you drilled. Cut out two leaf shapes from the green burlap and glue them to the dowel-stem.

Cut a length of green wire and wrap the ends around a pencil to curl them. Wrap the wire around the dowel for tendrils.

You’re all done! Of course, you might want to make your pumpkins say something, or you might want to give them a pattern or design. I use paint pens to freehand letters on some of my primitive pumpkins, and I sometimes use stencils and acrylic paint to create patterns.

On this Thanksgiving sign, I used foam letters.

On this Thanksgiving sign, I used foam letters.

Fall Signs

Making fall welcome signs and signs with other sayings is a lot easier than you might think. You can stencil on the letters, of course, but there’s another way: Use foam letters from Walmart! The foam letters are 3-D, so they’ll really stand out. Glue them onto a painted or stained board once the letters have been painted.

Once you’ve decided on what you want your sign to say, space the letters while the paper is still on the backs of the letters. Don’t depend on the glue that comes on the letters to be enough to hold them in place. I always give them a couple of drops of extra glue to make sure they’re secure.

Fall signs are easy to make!

Fall signs are easy to make!

Dryer Vent Pumpkins

Have you seen the little pumpkins made from dryer venting? They’re adorable! They’re also super easy to make, so they’d be a great fall craft for kids. They make quick and easy crafts!

You can find dryer venting at just about any hardware store. You’ll also need some spray paint, some hot glue, and some paint. Spray paint works best. For the stems, you can use cinnamon sticks or short sections of natural twigs. If you want to add green leaves, use burlap or felt. If you prefer using fall leaves on your dryer vent pumpkins, use fake leaves from the dollar store.

The following video will show you exactly how to make dryer vent pumpkins!

Scroll to Continue

How to Make a Dryer Vent Pumpkin:

Painted Pumpkins

If you enjoy browsing home and decorating magazines, chances are you’ve seen some painted pumpkins on the colorful pages. They’ve been popular for several years now. You’ve probably seen gold pumpkins, copper pumpkins, and silver pumpkins, along with pumpkins that have been stenciled with designs or patterns.

For this fall decorating project, you can use real pumpkins or plastic pumpkins. For the metallic type, use metallic spray paint. Use very light, thin coats, but use several coats of paint. Once your pumpkins are completely dry, you might want to add acrylic stones, silk flowers, beads, or sequins. E-6000 works well for this purpose.

If you want to add a design or pattern to a real pumpkin or to a fake pumpkin, use a plastic stencil and thick acrylic paint. Artist paint works best, in my opinion. Secure the stencil onto the pumpkin with painter’s tape. Touch a large round brush into the paint and blot it onto paper towels. Use a firm, even motion to apply the paint. Once it’s dry, apply another coat.

Outdoor Fall Décor

If you’re like me, you enjoy decorating your yard and porch for fall. I enjoy seeing the outdoor decorations, and the grandkids love them! I usually put out my outdoor fall decorations at the end of September and leave them up through Thanksgiving. That’s three entire months, so I get a lot of “bang” for my bucks and for my efforts.

Before deciding on your outdoor décor for fall, make sure your items are waterproof. Obviously, plastic pumpkins are a good choice because the rains won’t ruin them. If you want to use wooden décor items, just make sure they’re sealed well so they’ll hold up to moisture. We’ve found that a great outdoor sealer for wood is spar urethane. It’s the stuff they use on boats, by the way.

I use a lot of Indian corn for outdoor fall decor.

I use a lot of Indian corn for outdoor fall decor.

Large Wooden Scarecrow

These guys have been super popular! In fact, I’m having trouble keeping up with orders. You don’t have to be an artist to make these, either. You do, however, need a saw and a nail gun. Don’t have a nail gun? A hammer and nails will work, too.

We use four 1 x 4s that have been cut to 36 inches. We use a cross piece at the bottom (as a collar or scarf) and another cross piece up higher (as the brim of the hat). Obviously, these cross pieces are what hold the planks together. Before nailing, we also use wood glue for an extra-secure hold.

We stain the entire scarecrow with Minwax stain. When that’s dry, I paint the face golden yellow, the hat brown, and the collar a contrasting color. I use a black paint pen to make the mouth and eyebrows and to outline the eyes and nose. I then fill in the eyes and nose with acrylic paint.

When everything is dry, I distress the scarecrow by sanding. Then we seal the wood with spar so it can stand up to being outdoors. The final step is to add silk flowers, leaves, ribbon, etc.

In some cases, a customer requests painted-on flowers. Of course, that has to be done before sealing.

Most of our wooden scarecrows are reversible, with the other side being a snowman.

One side is a scarecrow...

One side is a scarecrow...

...the other side is a primitive snowman!

...the other side is a primitive snowman!

Plank Pumpkins – Pallet Pumpkin

I don’t make a lot of plank pumpkins, but a friend of mine does. To do this, you’ll need several sections of boards – all cut the same length and the same width. When put together, they should make a square shape. Glue and nail two boards across the back to hold the boards together, then use a band saw to cut out a pumpkin shape.

Use stain or paint on your pumpkin for the look you desire, then seal it with spar. Glue or nail a twig to the back of the pumpkin as the stem. If you choose to stain your pumpkin instead of staining AND painting it, I suggest you use two coats of spar on it.

If you have some pallets lying around, you might want to learn how to make a pallet wood pumpkin. These are super cute! Watch the video below for instructions.

How to Make a Pallet Wood Pumpkin:

Pumpkin Paintings on Wood Planks

This is another item that’s been super popular in my area, and I’ve sold loads of them. My end product looks like it’s been painted on barn wood – but in actuality, that’s an illusion. The planks are just-purchased pine boards from our local building supply store. I create a faux finish that fools the eye.

To create the planks, I cut about a fourteen-inch section of a 1 x 12 board. I sand the edges some. Across the back, we glue and nail strips of 1 x 4 to help reduce the chance of warping. We then stain the entire piece.

Once the stain is dry, I make a glaze using grey chalk paint or craft paint and water. It should be thin. Using a large paintbrush, I apply the glaze to the plank. While the glaze is still wet, I brush in streaks of darker grey and black, using a much smaller brush. I then use the larger brush again, working in more or less straight lines, from one end of the plank to the other. You can do this over and over until you achieve the desired look.

When the glaze is completely dry, I use acrylics to paint a pumpkin on the faux barn wood plank. The orange looks great with the grey! When that paint is dry, we drill two holes at the top of the plank so we can insert a section of rope hanger. We seal the entire piece with spar, making sure to get inside the drilled holes. Once the rope has been attached, it’s ready to hang on your porch or deck.

Painted Pumpkin on Barn Wood Plank

Painted Pumpkin on Barn Wood Plank

Let Your Imagination Run Wild!

The suggestions I’m sharing here are just that – suggestions. You can create all sorts of DIY fall décor with simple, inexpensive materials. Try not to worry too much about “messing up.” Like I said earlier in this article, flaws and imperfections will only add to the intrinsic charm of primitive décor and rustic décor. Don’t be afraid to just go for it! With a little practice and some good ideas, you’ll soon have enough fall décor for your home, your deck, your porch, your yard, and anywhere else you might want to decorate! Also, your autumn décor will be one-of-a-kind, with your own unique details, so you won’t see the exact same items in other homes or in your neighbors’ yards.


MomsTreasureChest on October 08, 2017:

Love your craft ideas and projects, you've inspired me to get busy today and start decorating, Happy Fall!

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on November 01, 2015:

Hi, like this hub and all your fall projects. The fall decor are adorable. My husband looked at them all and likes the dryer vent pumpkin the best. Nice hub, Stella

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 13, 2015:

Awesome round up, thanks for sharing!

Karen Hellier from Georgia on October 05, 2015:


I haven't been hanging around HubPages in awhile, but I am back now. Great hub with creative ideas. Fall is my favorite time of year too. And a nice change from that hot August Georgia summer ( my first).

Angela Joseph from Florida on October 04, 2015:

Great fall decorating ideas, habee. Thanks for sharing these with us.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on October 03, 2015:

Thanks, Holle, for these extra-clever decorating ideas. I especially like the creative dryer hose pumpkins. Who knew? Thanks for the info. May your Halloween be merry. Oh, wait, that's a different holiday.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on October 03, 2015:

Awesome, Habee.

I love fall too and all things having to do with this time of the year.

What a great collection of ideas you have shared...I guess I had better get busy.

Angels are on the way to you this afternoon ps

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