Decorating, Halloween, Holidays, Link Party

My Favorite Budget-Friendly Fall DIY Ideas

So I have relied on three places to get my fall stuff: Goodwill, the craft store, and Dollar Tree. Not necessarily in that order.

Thank God for the above because otherwise, I would have a crepe paper pumpkin and, like, one candle.


I just like to decorate for the cozy holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Valentine’s Day isn’t considered cozy in my world because by February, I am ready for summer.

Chances are you have a bucket list of things you want your little family to do this fall.

Chances are you’ll forget to do 90% of them.

BUT, if you had say, a list written somewhere that could also double as decor, I bet you’d remember over 10% of said list.


Nod in agreement. 

Enter the fall to-do list on a piece of 90s artwork!

All you need is an old picture frame (Goodwill has TONS of these just waiting for projects like this), chalk (sidewalk chalk works), chalkboard spray paint (five dollars or fewer at your local home improvement store), and a list of things you want to do. Head here for the tutorial, which is fairly self-explanatory, but it helps my SEO, so click away.

Dollar Tree has been a lifesaver in the decorating department.

For fall alone, I have created over ten projects that I still use to this day.

Lately, Dollar Tree is kind of disappointing me with lack of things to work with but that’s okay because we can read about ye olden days when my local dollar spot had lots of fun stuff.


I wrote a post about this little FALL sign many years ago, but then I deleted it when I moved to Word press before I realized that it’s stupid to delete old posts.

Here is how to create the above:

Here’s an even simpler idea for a cute little fall frame:

That boo sign has been around the block a few times.

All I did was take a dollar tree frame and printed the words boo on a piece of paper, then cut to fit.

Each year I look at my sad little boo, and think I should use a better font and redo it, but alas, here it sits.

This is one damn dollar, so don’t tell me you can’t afford Halloween decorations.

The framed print behind it was also made with a Dollar Tree frame for Anna’s graduation party.

That 31 sign has been in our home since 2011.

All I did was take an old picture frame, add in some scrapbook paper, some wall stickers available at Dollar Tree, and numbers I found in my garage.

Head here for the really simple tutorial.

Fall and caramel apples totally go together.

So I will tell you this, I am not a fan of apple picking.

It’s overpriced, overly busy, and bees.

So save your money (and Benadryl) by buying your apples the old-fashioned way: at the Aldi.

And use my recipe to save money too; four ingredients and it takes literally ten minutes to make!

Got lots of candy after trick or treat?

I got a place to put it.

Tired of seeing all of those fancy mantels all over websites, blogs, and magazines? Tired of thinking you can’t create them yourself because you don’t have the money to?

I have a solution for you.

Styling a mantel is easier than you think and you don’t need a lot of money to do it.

In fact, I bet you have most of the stuff you need inside your home.

Start with an empty mantel (and dust it because the good Lord knows when the last time that thing saw a dust cloth):

I always like to start with a focal piece, in this case, my Halloween sign from the flea market (20 bucks).

Set it in the middle like so.

Then, add height to the ends of the mantel to bring the eye outward (I just made that up, but it sounds legit, right?). My Goodwill candlestick holders from 2011 (two dollars each, thank you very much).

Now, let’s add some color and symmetry to the middle of the mantel by adding two Wal-Mart pumpkins I got after Halloween on clearance three years ago.

At this point, I have spent NOTHING in MANY YEARS on this mantel that looks like I spent a little something-something.

I added four votives I had from Anna’s graduation party with flameless tea light candles (perfect for mantels so we don’t burn the house down when we forget to blow them out). I then added some fullness, a leaf garland I have had since the beginning of time.

Then comes the fillers. I have had these white and gray pumpkins for over five years now. I have picked them up over the years, adding a little at a time so that they don’t all look the same and so I save money as well. I think I got most of my picks at the craft store 60% on sale, which ends up to be less than a dollar for each one.

I just want to geek out over that glass jar I found at Goodwill this year for 99 cents. I couldn’t have made it for that price and you KNOW someone originally paid a lot more than that for it.

I then added a mirror I had in the basement behind the Halloween sign for extra height because I wasn’t feeling the mantel as is.

The FALL garland I got at the Target dollar spot a couple of years ago for three dollars; the burlap wreath was made for me by my friend Rebecca.

Add it all together and you have a Goodwill/Hand-me-down/Garage Sale/ Wal-Mart/Clearance mantel!

A goohangarawamaclear mantel!

This entire room is brought to you by yard sales, Facebook Marketplace, hand-me-downs, Wal-Mart, and Goodwill and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy Fall-ing!

18 thoughts on “My Favorite Budget-Friendly Fall DIY Ideas”

  1. These are awesome ideas! You really don’t have to have a lot of money to make cute things to decorate for the holidays. I always donate my stuff to Goodwill and my mom always says “you give away GOOD stuff!” That happens when you’re in a shoebox. Like tomorrow is a craft show and who knows what I’ll come home with and then have to purge.

    ROFL…you asked if I have lots of candy leftover after trick or treat!!! Honey, I’m lucky the kids (that NEVER show up) have anything for us to give them with that well intentioned bag I buy too early! I try to buy stuff that wouldn’t tempt me but there isn’t much that doesn’t tempt me! (Except Mounds or something like that. I even love “old people candy” like the peanut butter kisses in the black and orange wax paper, Mary Jane’s, etc but I draw the line at Circus Marshmallow Peanuts. BLECK!) That wreath is dang cute!


    1. I can’t buy until the week OF trick or treat or it’s gone. GONE. GONNNNNNEEEE.
      If I lived closer to you, I’d ask you to pass out apple cider slushies and cookie butter muddy buddies.
      I would be such an annoying neighbor.


  2. Kari, that is such a pretty Halloween sign, it makes me want to make one too. I too love the dollar store, and appreciate it all the more since moving here. In Greece everything was wrong, there was no fall at all just summer stuff and then we’d jump to Christmas.


    1. Thank you! I do like fall but now when I go into stores, I am so sick of it because it’s been up since July, LOL.

      That is so interesting that they had no fall stuff but since the weather probably isn’t fall-like, maybe that’s why??


  3. Stop the presses! No apple picking?!?! I saw zero bees at the orchard today. Does your apple picking location have hard cider and apple vodka tasting? Fritters? If not, come see the light!

    Fall decor does rule for sure-luckily my mom tend to pick up a little something for me each yer that adds some pizazz to all of the ancient stuff in my collection! You have got it going on there Mantel Momma!


  4. Turned out fantastic! I always get my seasonal stuff on clearance after the holidays are over, then store them till the next holiday rolls around. Love that Poison jar you got from the Goodwill.


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