colorful fall foliage

Looking for some fun and decorative craft projects that use found fall foliage? Read on for ideas to help you find creative uses for fallen leaves, nuts, and branches other than simply tossing them on the compost pile.

1. Pinecone Wreath

Pinecone and twig wreath
Photo: Taryn Whiteaker/Design, Dining + Diapers

This fall wreath from design blogger Taryn Whiteaker uses found twigs and pinecones for a seasonal decoration that doesn’t require a trip to the crafts store. In addition to this general design — which can easily span both fall and winter — Taryn provides two additional variations on her twig wreath so it can be used for fall, winter, and the holiday season.

Check out Taryn’s pinecone and twig wreath tutorial and make your own.

2. Painted Acorn Garland

Painted acorn garland
Photo: Caitlin/The Merrythought

This pretty painted acorn garland from Caitlin of The Merrythought takes mere minutes to make and is sure to spice up any home for the season.

As a bonus, you can even compost this garland at the end of its useful life. Just be sure to use natural twines and nontoxic, washable paints if you plan to compost later. If you use your compost for an organic garden, you may prefer to simply dig a small hole and bury your garland in the yard — allowing it to naturally decompose without tainting your organic compost.

Get step-by-step instructions on how to make a painted acorn garland at The Merrythought.

3. Mini Sparkling Caramel Apples

Mini sparkling sugar caramel apples
Photo: Kellie Van/Le Zoe Musings

Planning some festivities this fall? Spice up the snack table with these adorable mini sparkling caramel apples from blogger Kellie Van of Le Zoe Musings. Made from fallen twigs with tiny budding leaves, these cute caramel apple embellishments are sure to be a hit with both kids and adults. You can even compost the leftovers after your soiree to keep the project zero waste.

Learn how to make your own mini sparkling caramel apples at Le Zoe Musings.

4. Found Twig Earrings

Twig earrings
Photo: Alisa Burke/Alisa Burke blog

This is one of those projects that made us look twice. Handcrafted earrings made from found twigs? Count us in! Dreamed up by blogger Alisa Burke, these earrings require a wood-burning tool to create custom designs.

“After clearing branches and brush from our backyard, I was suddenly inspired,” Burke wrote of the project on her blog.

You can create at least five pairs from a single branch, meaning you’ll have plenty of extras to give away as gifts to friends and family members as a low-impact alternative to diamond jewelry.

Get step-by-step instructions on how to make these unique earrings at Alisa Burke’s blog.

5. Salt Dough Leaf Prints

Salt dough leaf prints
Photo: Gail Bartel/That Artist Woman

The kids will have a blast making these salt dough leaf prints, and you can use them as festive decorations for many autumns to come. Gail Bartel of That Artist Woman used silk leaves to complete her project, but you can also opt for found leaves from the yard to keep your project waste-free.

Get step-by-step instructions at That Artist Woman for making salt dough leaf prints of your own.

6. Ombre Twig Wall Hanging

Twig hanging
Photo: Elise Engh/Grow Creative

Get in on the ombre trend without spending a dime or leaving a footprint on our planet with this inventive twig wall hanging from Grow Creative blogger Elise Engh.

“Decorating with nature is one of my favorite things,” Engh wrote of the project on her blog. “It’s incredibly inexpensive, and it challenges me creatively.”

Make your own ombre twig wall hanging by following Engh’s instructions at Grow Creative.

7. Leaf Luminaries

leaf luminary
Photo: Christina Friedrichsen/Intimate Weddings

Made from wax paper and dried leaves, these lovely luminaries from Intimate Weddings blogger Cristina Friedrichsen are sure to create a warming atmosphere this fall. Use your luminaries as table numbers for an autumn wedding or party, or omit the number for everyday home décor.

Find instructions for making leaf luminaries at Intimate Weddings.

8. Autumn Table Setting

Autumn table setting
Photo: Claudia Casal/A Place for Twiggs

Helena of the bilingual blog Craft and Creativity dreamed up a lovely autumn table setting that you just have to see. In addition to a wine bottle decorated with fall leaves and wire, Helena’s table features other low-impact ideas like leaf garlands, fruit bowls, and wood-stump candle holders.

Head on over to Craft and Creativity to check out more photos of her stunning autumn table setting.

Feature image by cocoparisienne on Pixabay. Originally published on November 5, 2013, this article was updated in November 2020.

By Mary Mazzoni

Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.