Fall is here, friends. How do we know? Well, because the leaves are turning gorgeous colors and Pinterest is bursting with fall crafts aplenty. But there’s no need to wade through that particular sea of pumpkin-spice everything, because we’ve picked the coolest and cutest DIY tutorials — that you haven’t already done a million times.
These picks are easy to do with kids, but involved (and pretty) enough that they’ll scratch your crafting itch too. Whether you’re looking to cook up creative treats, craft something spooky for Halloween, get into a general fall-foliage theme or DIY your Thanksgiving table decor, you’ve come to the right place.
So, fire up the glue gun and get crafting! And don’t forget to stock up on Mason jars. (What good would a "Pinterest crafts" list be without at least one Mason jar?)
A great Halloween party favor, lollipop spiders are easy to make — and kids love them (for good reason). One Little Project details the construction how-to: Wrap two black pipe cleaners (cut in half) around a Tootsie Pop or lollipop of your choice; bend the legs and then hot-glue some googly eyes on there. Voila, creepy treat.
Fall bucket list
This craft from Our Messy Table for Craftaholics Anonymous will ensure you get your whole fun fall to-do list done. Have everyone in the family write (or dictate) what they want to do most this season on a painted craft stick. Apple-picking, pumpkin patch, watch a Halloween movie, whatever. Then simply drop them in a decorated bucket. When you need a family activity, draw out a craft stick until you’ve gone through them all. Bucket list success.
Candy corn pom-pom garland
Pom-poms are the best, and they’re actually pretty easy to make. Grab some yarn in classic candy-corn colors — yellow, white and orange — and follow along with Live Laugh Rowe. Then use a pom-pom maker or the fork method (detailed here on Mimi Codd — Makes). Put all three colors together, trim your pom-poms, and string them together. Halloween barn wedding, anyone?
Spiced apple play dough
Kitchen Floor Crafts features a fun fall play-dough scent: spiced apple. The blog combines a classic cooked play-dough recipe with a Jell-O mix, plus spices like cinnamon and cloves. This dough smells delicious, and it will keep in a plastic bag for a few weeks. The only tough part is convincing kids not to eat it.
Autumn leaf shortbread
Check out the mesmerizing how-to video from Tastemade, and you’ll want to start baking up these pretty cookies stat. Make a simple shortbread mix; then dye sections green, red, orange and yellow. Swirl the colors together, chill, roll and cut out the dough with leaf cookie cutters. Refrigerate again, bake at 325 degrees F for 15 minutes, let cool and enjoy. These are sure to be a hit at any Halloween or Thanksgiving party.
Autumn cotton swab tree
The Pinterested Parent has an easy tutorial for painting a fun fall tree using cotton swabs. Paint a simple, bare tree onto a canvas or piece of paper, and start adding fall leaves by dipping cotton swabs into orange, red and brown acrylic paint. Adults and older kids can dab single cotton swabs, but it’s easier for younger kids to bundle them using a rubber band.
Looking for a super-creative, kid-friendly pumpkin idea? Look no further than Color Made Happy. Start by gluing unwrapped crayons onto your pumpkin (this blog recommends about 16). Once dry, blow-dry the crayons on low, directing the flow of the wax. That’s it! Now you’ve got a beautiful, no-carve pumpkin ready to display.
Leaf sensory bags
Enjoy mess-free fun with a sensory bag tutorial courtesy of Kids Craft Room. Babies, toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy this educational autumn activity. Little ones can help collect leaves — (that’s an activity in and of itself) before you put the leaves in a sealable (leak-free) bag along with cooking oil, liquid water colors, glitter, water, sequins and any other materials you find interesting. Seal up the bag and you’ve got a soothing seasonal sensory toy.
Mason jar leaf lantern
The Mason jar is the craft supply that will never die. Just when I think I’ll quit the Mason jar, I see something like this craft from Gingerbread Snowflakes. It’s simple: Take some dried leaves (or artificial ones) and Mod Podge them onto a jar. When dry, apply a second coat. After those layers have dried, use a finishing spray. Then pop a tea light into your leaf jar and enjoy a nice fall evening glow.
A version of this article was originally published in October 2017.
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