Fall’s rich colors and abundance of natural materials make for the perfect DIY craft season, especially as Thanksgiving draws near. Whether you’re hosting a massive feast for the extended family or just looking to add some fall flair to your Albany, NY apartment, the following ideas for DIY décor will get you off and running for a Thanksgiving that looks as great as it tastes.
Corn Husk Wreath
To make a lovely seasonal wall-hanging, wrap corn husks around an 18-inch diameter straw wreath, securing the edges with a hot-glue gun. (You’ll need roughly 35 husks to cover the wreath entirely.) Next, use a foam brush to paint the tips of the husks with gold acrylic paint. Let the paint dry for about 15 minutes. Finally, use the hot glue to attach three concentric rings of 16 corn husks per ring, starting with the outer edge. (The second ring is glued to the middle of the wreath, and the third ring is attached to the inner edge.) On the second and third rings, position the tip of each husk between two husks from the prior ring, to create an alternating pattern.
Chalkboard/Tray Door Sign
Another attractive DIY idea for Thanksgiving wall/door décor is to craft a greeting sign from an old serving tray. Just coat the inside of the tray with chalkboard paint, then decorate its perimeter with autumn branches, berries and other floral touches. Write your welcoming message on the tray using chalk.
Box Grater Lamps
For a warm, shabby-chic lighting display, arrange multiple vintage metal box graters on a tray. Use flameless flickering LED votives for the light source, which will prevent the metal graters from becoming hot to the touch. Use acorns and extra candles to fill in gaps in the display, then place it on your buffet or sideboard.
A super-easy seasonal candlestick solution is to turn fall gourds into the perfect table setting. Simply hollow out the middle of miniature gourds and pumpkins, and then insert a tapered candlestick. You can stack multiple gourds and run one candle through each stack, depending on your size requirements.
Fall Candle Centerpiece
An even easier, yet equally attractive project is to make a fall candle centerpiece from some basic household pantry items. First, find a large, clear glass candleholder. Next, layer the candleholder with an inch or two of uncooked green lentils, dried red beans and unpopped popcorn kernels. Sit a wide candle in the holder and the centerpiece is ready to display.
Yet another beautiful door-hanger can be crafted from pinecones, which when clustered together create an evocative and elegant welcome. All you need is eight four- to six-inch pinecones and eight two-foot-long pieces of silk ribbon; use hot glue to fasten the last two inches of each piece of ribbon to the base of each pinecone. Once dry, gather the ribbons together and stagger them, so that the pinecones fall at various lengths. Finally, tie the bare ends of the ribbons together, trim the tips of the ribbons so they are all uniform, and hang the hanger from the knot, using a nail.
Fall Leaf Banner
You can create a stunning fall-themed banner for your mantel or wall using the ever-abundant fall leaves right outside your door. To start, roll out whatever length of twine you desire, then wrap the twine around the heads of a series of antique clothespins. Next, clip the leaves to the clothespins, adding a small piece of card stock between the pin and leaf on the back side, to create more width for the clothespin to grip. Cut out some leaf shapes from the pages of an old page, and then clip the paper leaves to the front of every other of the real leaves, to add more color and contrast. Drape the banner across your fireplace mantel or wall, as desired.
With a few basic supplies, you can turn those plentiful fall leaves into a stunning decorative bowl. First, head outside and collect the leaves. (If you have kids, get them involved!) If there are branches still attached, be sure to remove them before using the leaves. Next, blow up a balloon. Mix equal parts glue and water (or Mod Podge) in a bowl, then apply the solution to the balloon using a sponge paint brush. Start applying the leaves to the balloon, liberally coating the tops of the leaves with more of the glue. Continue applying the leaves around the bottom of the balloon until you have the entire bottom covered (this will be the base of the bowl). The top of the balloon should be uncovered; this is the bowl’s opening. Finally, let the glue dry for 24 to 48 hours. Afterward, just pop the balloon and the bowl is complete.
Gold Corn Placeholders
This quick and easy craft is a guaranteed Thanksgiving tabletop eye-popper. Start out with one dried miniature Indian corn for each place setting. With the husk peeled completely back, spray the kernels/cob with gold spray paint, being careful not to paint the husk. Allow the paint to dry completely. Then, using a gold paint marker, write the names of dinner guests on the husks of each corn. Place the finished placeholders at each setting before the meal.
Faux Pumpkin Vase
Even though for this project you’ll be using a faux pumpkin (the kind you’ll find in many craft supply stores), you’ll still get to cut the pumpkin open, but won’t have to deal with those messy seeds and pulp! To start, cut out the stem part of the faux pumpkin’s top (as if you were carving a pumpkin for Halloween). Shape/trim a Styrofoam block to fit inside the pumpkin, then use hot glue to fasten the block in place. Using a selection of fall foliage stems, build an arrangement in the vase, inserting the bottom of each stem into the Styrofoam for support. Finish the design with a burlap bow wrapped around the pumpkin or a bottom layer of burlap faux leaves.