Make a fall fashion statement with recyclables


Decorating your home for fall sets a festive atmosphere, but the needed materials aren’t always earth-friendly or affordable. With a little ingenuity and a few recycled materials, however, you can beautify your home in less than a day.

Below are the directions for some flirty fall enhancements that won’t cost a penny. Just remember to substitute whatever recyclables you have at home, rather than going out and purchasing the listed materials.

Recycled Book Pumpkin

An old book that is falling apart or otherwise would be thrown away

Writing utensil

Box cutter or craft knife

Leftover paint (look around for watercolors, stamp pads, and other paint possibilities)

A few small sticks from the yard

Leaves and twisted wire (optional)

Tear off the book’s cover. Open the book to about halfway, and lay it flat. Draw a roughly symmetrical pumpkin shape on the book, half on the pages open to your left and half on the pages open to your right. Make the shape’s bottom flat, instead of round, so that the pumpkin-shaped book will stand upright when you’re done. Now use the cutter or knife to cut away the excess paper around the edges of the pumpkin shape, working through the book by cutting several pages at a time.

Next, add color to the pages. Tint just the edges, or paint all the way to the binding. If your paint is thick, thin it with water before applying it so that the pages do not stick together once the paint has dried.

After the pages are dry, you can add curly spirals or leaves. Hot glue small sticks to the backs of leaves. Wrap thin wire around a pen or pencil and then slide it off to create the curly spirals. Open the book, spine facing toward you. Hot glue a stick (to be the pumpkin’s stem), along with leaves and curly vines, into the top of the book’s spine. Zigzag glue all the way down the spine, form the spine into a tube, and close the book. Finally, fluff out the book so the pages spread out.

Wreath of Sticks

Wreath base (explained below)

Sticks of various lengths (straight sticks are easier to work with)

Hot glue gun

Ribbon or twine

Leaves, flowers, vines, etc. (optional)

Fashion a recycled wreath base (cut a ring out of cardboard, twist old grape vines into a wreath, or cut a ring into two layers of a large brown paper bag and glue or staple them together while stuffing plastic grocery bags inside for bulk). Hot glue the sticks onto the wreath base, one after another, until the design resembles a sunburst. You can also glue fall-colored leaves or flowers onto the sticks. Finally, cut a long piece of ribbon or twine and attach it to the wreath as a hanger.

Recycled Jar Luminaries

Recycled jars

Granulated substance (such as sugar, salt, or sand)

Tea light or votive candle

Clean and dry recycled jars. Put salt, sugar, or sand in the bottom of the jar. (Brown sugar gives a nice, brownish fall color and smells nice, too.) Next, make a slight indention in the middle of the granulated substance and set a candle into each well. Finally, light the candles and enjoy the lovely, warm glow. If you make more than one luminary, you can stagger them on a fall-colored plate for a nice touch.

By April Jones
Photos by Carol Hutchison

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