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23 DIY Fall Décor Ideas Made From Upcycled Materials

Get ready for fall with these DIY fall décor ideas featuring upcycled materials found in and around your home.

Written by
Samantha Bailon

Summer is (finally) cooling down, which means the time has come to get festive for fall! Between the changing leaves, growing gourds, and the cozy autumnal scents, adorning your space to match the spirit of the season is always a fun undertaking—but it doesn't necessarily require a trip to your local craft store. This year, why not try your hand at DIY fall décor?

Americans produce 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve than they do any other time of the year. Instead of shopping for plastic decorations and contributing the waste, look around your space! Upcycling—aka reusing—the materials around you is the quickest route to a consciously curated home. 

Tin cans make for lovely planters, leaves can easily become wreaths, and pumpkins and pinecones provide instant autumnal charm. Here are 23 DIY fall décor ideas to help you celebrate the season.

23 DIY Fall Décor Ideas Made from Upcycled Materials

Use those leftover Mason jar lids to create a forever pumpkin! Simply paint your lids (or wrap them in fabric) before binding them in twine to create a spherical shape. Collect some twigs from your backyard or use cinnamon sticks to create a stem.

Dried flowers make for an eye-catching (and eco-friendly) decoration at any time of year, and blooms are a pretty way to elevate your DIY fall décor. Rather than tossing your harvest season bouquets, opt to air dry: simply hang upside down in a dark room for about three weeks.

 3. Preserve Fallen Leaves

Instead of trekking to your nearest craft store, go outside and handpick your favorite fallen leaves to preserve and use around your home. A quick glaze of Mod Podge is all you need to keep the autumnal foliage looking fresh forever.

The textures and variety of shapes and sizes of leaves make for a great stamp. Lightly coat the underside of any leaf with the paint of your choice and use it to decorate tea towels, pillowcases, placemats, and more. (This is a great activity for kids!)

Upcycle used tin cans to create new homes for herbs or smaller house plants! Opt for seasonal paint colors to further your fall feel.  

A slightly more laborious craft, but the results are worth the effort. This tutorial teaches you how to dye fabrics using plants and flowers to create truly unique textiles. You can also use food scraps to make natural dye using this guide.

7. Pumpkins!

Good old-fashioned pumpkins offer an easy means of decorating for the season. Head to your local pumpkin patch or farm and collect different shapes and colors for an instant air of autumn—or for use in some delicious fall recipes.

Cozy up your space with a Mason jar lantern. All you need is a jar, some twine, and a candle, but there's plenty of room to get creative. Finish the outside of your jar with twigs, leaves, dried flowers, and more. Hang or place anywhere that needs some extra light!

Create a portable autumn environment with a customizable fall snow globe! Head to your backyard and select a stick before adding water, biodegradable leaf confetti, and glycerin. The beauty of falling leaves, frozen.

Head to the thrift store and stock up on some weathered titles to make your own book wreath. The hues of the older pages will pair nicely with other fall tones, and this is a great way to upcycle old books. 

Rather than converting your tin cans into planters, flip them upside down and paint them like sweet and silly monsters.

Upcycle old or motheaten sweaters into comfy and decorative pillows. Vintage cable knits take on a new life when transformed into cushions—get creative with size, shape, and more.

13. Pinecones!

Pinecones are an ideal element of your DIY fall décor game. Rummage outside, then fill a bucket with two parts water and one part white vinegar to clean your pinecones and repel insects. Once dry, add to vases or a garland or wreath.

It's corn! It's got the juice. Well, actually, the vegetables used in this garland must be dried first. Hang, or place on a rack in direct sunlight for 2-4 weeks before threading onto twine.

Welcome fall with a seasonally-inspired (and long-lasting) wreath. Prettify your favorite leaves with metallic paint or drawn-on patterns before coating with Mod Podge and securing them to a wooden embroidery hoop.

16. Make a Quilt

A quilt can be a big project to take on, but it's a great way to use old textiles and clothing—and to slow down and welcome the second half of the year. Once it's finished, you can cozy up with your quilt for years to come, or drape it as décor.

Another great way to add flowers to your space without eventual waste. After pressing your flowers, add to a floating frame to create some elegant wall art. 

Add texture to your door décor. Use old flannels or thrifted tea towels to make a rag wreath that you can bring out every autumn.

19. Repurpose an Old Picture Frame

Repurpose an old frame with twine and small screw eyes. Remove the glass and back of the frame and string along the twine through the backside. You can hand photos and preserved leaves or create a thankful board for everyone to write a sweet message to carry with you all through the holidays. 

Fall is all about cabincore. Use twine and wrap cinnamon sticks around your favorite candles, creating a woodsy (and deliciously scented) atmosphere.

Pressing isn't just for flowers! Press leaves for use in picture frames, garlands, wreaths, cards... the possibilities are endless.

For an easy paint project, coat your Mason jars in fall hues. This tutorial features negative space left from leaves applied and peeled away.

Instead of tossing them, use your wine corks to make mini pumpkins. Corks are easily secured into new shapes using a hot glue gun. Add some felt or preserved leaves to finish and place them around your home.