Top 5 Fave Fall Decor Ideas

Top 5 Favorite Fall Decor Ideas

Finally, after a long and sticky summer, autumn weather is upon us, which means it’s time to blow the dust off the fall decoration boxes and start assessing what you have and what you need to add to your collection! If you’re anything like me, you’ll agree it can be painful to pay retail prices for seasonal decor. To help you add some classy and unique pieces to your autumnal display without spending a whole lot, I’ve compiled some simple and stunning DIY fall decor ideas for you!

  1. RUSTIC TWIG TABLE RUNNER

Lay this runner over a table cloth to give your Thanksgiving dinner table a rustic look.

HGTV DIY Twig Table RunnerThe best part about this project? You can customize the length and width of it while giving your kids a fun mission in the backyard to collect as many straight slim twigs as they can! Get the full tutorial from HGTV.

2. POTTERY BARN INSPIRED CENTERPIECES

Fill glass vases or mason jars with acorns from the yard, mini pine cones, or moss filler from your local craft store to create a natural focal point on your tablescape.

Pottery Barn-inspired fall centerpiecesThere’s no home decor store I love more than Pottery Barn…but I can’t bear to pay their prices! Here’s a tutorial from Live Laugh Rowe to make your own Pottery Barn-esque fall centerpiece for about $10.

3. FREE FALL-THEMED PRINTABLES

Don’t just decorate your tables and shelves with gourds and cornucopias – freshen up your walls and mantels with free DIY fall-themed artwork!

Free Fall Themed PrintablesHead over to Lolly Jane for 25+ Free Fall Printables that you can download and print yourself! Print these cute autumn graphics and sayings onto cardstock and mount them in a dollar store frame, or follow my tutorial and print them onto wax paper and transfer them onto a wooden board or canvas for a more unique look.

4. MAKE A WREATH OUT OF WHEAT

I love the bright colors of fall as much as the next person, but the subdued beauty of an autumn field and dried corn stalks shouldn’t be overlooked. This super easy wheat and burlap wreath is the perfect way to give your front door a facelift for fall without breaking the bank or detracting from the vibrancy of pumpkins and all the red and orange leaves.

DIY Wheat Wreath - quick and easyWith only 3 “ingredients,” 10 minutes, and about $10 Daisy May Belle guides you through the quick process of making your own wheat wreath!

5. EASY DISTRESSED PAINTED PUMPKINS

When I decorate in my house for Halloween and Thanksgiving, it can be a challenge to create the warm fall feeling without introducing a lot of bright warm colors that would clash with my regular decor. I love the idea of painting pumpkins with white chalk paint because with a little sandpaper, you can still get a hint of that pumpkin orange color without overwhelming your interior aesthetic!

Chalk Paint Distressed PumpkinInstead of buying white pumpkins, which are more expensive than regular pumpkins, stock up on some white chalk paint and pumpkin-pie pumpkins, and follow Centsational Girl’s tutorial on painting and distressing pumpkins to get this chic cottage look for fall!

how to transfer an image from wax paper to wood

Wax Paper Image Transferring and Making Free Artwork

Today I thought I would create some artwork for my baby boy’s nursery. I wanted to use materials I already had to avoid spending a dime on this project – I mean if I’m going to spend money on art, I might as well buy it!

First I’ll tell you how to make your “canvas” out of wood, then we’ll talk about how to transfer an image to the wood using an ink jet printer and wax paper from the kitchen.

After rooting around in my basement for a few minutes, I found some scrap 1″x3″ and 1″x4″ wood and some MDF board left over from a previous project. I used my miter saw to cut the wood boards to equal lengths (I went with 13 7/8″ length because that’s how long my shortest scrap piece was). Then I arranged the boards so that there was a 1″x4″ in the center and a 1″x3″ on each side, and I cut two 1″ pieces off of the scrap MDF board. These will serve to hold the woods boards together and create a floating effect when the piece is finally hung on the wall.

I measured 1″ from the top and bottom of the wood board trio and used wood glue to affix the MDF pieces to the back of the wood. Don’t worry about clamping these while the glue dries… we’ll use a few 1″ finish nails to secure the MDF to the wood.

I like the farmhouse style and a little more rustic look so I nudged the wood boards so that there’s about 1/16″ space in between the boards.  When the glue is dried, drive three 1″ finish nails through each strip of the MDF into the wood to secure it. Then sand away!

Orbit and hand sanders

I used my Black & Decker orbital sander with 120 grit paper then hand sanded with 220 grit for a smoother finish. After wiping away the sawdust, I applied white chalk paint.

Americana Decor Chalk Paint
I used American Decor, a brand that Home Depot carries. It’s very thick and not my favorite. I suggest only using this brand if you plan to distress the final product with sand paper. Without sanding, the paint dries lumpy.

Two coats of paint later and some more sanding with 220 grit paper, here is my finished “canvas”:

Distressed wood boards with chalk paint

Close-up image of distressed wood and chalk paint

I distressed the edges a little to show the wood through because the mirror I bought for the nursery also has this look.

Now it’s time to transfer the image onto wax paper, which can be very tricky.

First step is to choose an image and save it in reverse. This is particularly important if you choose an image with lettering. I used Photoshop to rotate the image horizontally, which makes a mirror image of the original. This way when you transfer it to the wood, it comes out facing the right direction. The left side is the original and the right side is the mirror.

peter rabbit with mirror image

Cut a piece of wax paper to the size of a sheet of paper (8.5″x11″) and put it in your printer tray. When you cue up the image to print, you will have to hand-guide the wax paper into the printer or it won’t read any paper in the tray because wax paper is so much thinner than regular paper. I set the printer to high quality print and selected the type of paper as “tee shirt transfer paper.” This ensures that the wax paper is fed through slowly, which helps avoid issues with ink running or the paper wrinkling.

It took me two tries to get the image out on the wax paper without it running, and then I carefully laid the paper, ink-side down, onto the wood.

I used a Lodge cast-iron pan scraper from my kitchen to smooth the image onto the wood. You can also use a credit card.

How to smooth a wax paper image onto wood

Once the image is smoothed on, slowly peel the wax paper off the wood.

Give the ink a few minutes to dry and then apply a finish to the piece. This will help keep the image from smudging or fading when touched. Holding the spray can about 15-18″ away from the wood, I applied a single, thin coat of Rustoleum clear semi-gloss top coat. If you brush on a finishing wax or gel without first applying a coat of spray varnish, the brush will cause the image to run.

Lastly, I flipped the piece over and drove two upholstery tacks into the top piece of MDF board and wrapped picture hanging wire from one tack to the other.

How to hang a picture with nails and wire

Now you’re ready to hang your artwork (which we just made completely for free.

Wax paper image transfer on woodStand back and admire your handywork!


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DIY Bottle Table Lamp

Inspired by the Ryan Glass Table Lamp for $139 at Birch Lane and the need for a nursery lamp for story time with my impending baby, I crafted this cute light out of an empty Pitchfork Brewing Company growler, a Target lamp shade, some jute, silver spray paint and a bottle lamp making kit from Amazon! I already had the spray paint and the jute cord so the total cost of this project was only $30!

Make a table lamp from a glass bottle growlerThe first thing I did after my husband finished the last drop of beer from the growler was to wash it thoroughly in the dish washer. Then I spray painted it with a couple of coats of the silver paint and topped it off with a clear lacquer spray paint to keep it from chipping so easily.

When it was dry, I set about wrapping it in the jute cord, which you can get at any craft store or hardware shop. To do this, I started by running a thick line of glue from the glue stick around the bottle where I wanted the jute to start. Inch by inch, I alternated between adding glue and wrapping the cord around the bottle. As I went, I adhered little strips of painter’s tape over the cord (3-4 pieces per every inch of wrapped cord or so) to keep it in place while it dried.

Once the jute was dried and complete, I installed the lamp kit, shade and bulb and voila! It was done!

Note: The lamp kit comes assembled so you just drop it into the bottle opening to “install” it.

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How to Make Cut Hydrangeas Last for Days

Hydrangeas are in full-bloom right now and who doesn’t want to fill their home with arrangements of these lovely flowers? Many times, however, hydrangeas wilt within an hour or so of cutting. Frustrated by this, I did some research and came across the “hot water method.” After testing it out, I can vouch that the following steps will keep your blossoms fresh for days after being cut!

hydrangea collage without text

  1. When you go out to your yard to cut your hydrangeas, take a container of water with you. The water should be tepid, not cold. Place the cut hydrangeas directly into the water and then bring them back into your kitchen.
  2. Bring water to a boil in a sauce pan or in the microwave. Let it cool for a minute then dip the hydrangea stems into the boiled water for 30 seconds. This removes a sticky, sap-like substance from within the stem that blocks the stem from taking in water. Make sure you’ve cut the stems to the length you want them prior to setting them in the boiled water.
  3. Remove the hydrangea stems from the boiled water and immediately place them in your vase with water at room temperature.

 Now smile and enjoy your hydrangeas both outside and inside your home!


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Make Your Own Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is still so popular because of how easily it can cover any finish on furniture without doing any prep. No sanding or stinky chemicals! That saves you time and brain cells!

The downside is the cost; a pint of this stuff runs anywhere from $12-20 (compared to a quart of latex paint for about $10-12). The other drawback is that they only come in a dozen or so shades compared to the hundreds of shades with latex paint.

So what to do? Make your own chalk paint with your favorite shades of latex paint! Same coverage but more color options and half the cost!

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Bed Frame Fix

Thanks to a very special bullmastiff who loves chewing wood, our $1,200 Pottery Barn Sumatra bed was partially demolished (among other things) when he was left unattended. With a little ingenuity and elbow grease I was able to restore the bed frame using about $6 of lumber and tools I already had. It may not be perfect, but it looks way better than it did before!

Bed Fram Fix Collage

I pried off the existing foot board and used it as the prototype for the replacement board. A 1″x4″x6′ board of lumber stained in walnut was all I needed. I used wood glue and clamps overnight to secure the new board to the rest of the frame.

The next step was to cover the splintered post. I found some 1/4″x3″ balsa wood meant for crafting and model making and stained that with walnut, too. Since it’s a different kind of wood than the bed and the replacement foot board, it took the stain a little more deeply, as you’ll see in the pictures. But that’s okay – it’s close enough! When the balsa trim was dry, I again glued and clamped overnight.

Finally, when the new wood was secure, I went crazy with the wood fill to patch the seams. The new type of Elmer’s wood fill I used is pink when applied and white when dry so you know when it’s ready to sand and stain. So handy! I sanded with 120 grit sandpaper then applied a second skim of wood fill, then sanded again. One coat of stain over the patched areas and the frame is now back to it’s original rustic splendor!

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