20 Boredom-Busting DIY Projects You Can Do at Home This Fall

Take a break from your screen for an afternoon to make holiday gifts and autumnal decor.

By Andréana Lefton | Published Oct 22, 2020 09:31 PM

Home Is Where Your Tools Are

DIY project ideas for fall

When technology fatigue strikes, it’s time to pull out your toolbox. Even if you haven’t been welded to your phone or laptop over the past few months, autumn is the perfect season for tackling home improvement projects, crafting seasonal decorations, and creating homemade holiday gifts. We’ve rounded up a host of awesome projects from DIYers around the country, with links to step-by-step instructions. Whether you have 30 minutes or an entire day to spare, scroll down for a little crafting inspiration and get those creative juices flowing.

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Warm Welcome

DIY paper lanterns

Luminarias are popular in Mexico and the southwestern United States, especially during the winter months. These lanterns are meant to welcome visitors, and they’re often placed on the ground along pathways, driveways, patios, and other outdoor areas. Make your own papercut luminarias with this tutorial from Lia Griffith. Although they’re perfect for birthday parties or Halloween decorations, these twinkling lights make warm and festive Thanksgiving centerpieces too.

Related: A Beginner-Friendly Build for a Rustic Wooden Lantern


Home Office Bedmate

DIY laptop table

While breakfast in bed sounds luxurious, these days you’re more likely to be working from bed. Transform your work mornings with this practical and luxe laptop desk. Jen Woodhouse’s design is portable, and she splurged on black walnut for a look and feel that is nothing less than high class. But at only $40 for the lumber, this desk is still an affordable luxury.


S’mores Anyone?

DIY tabletop firepit

Even if you live in an apartment, you can still bask in the glow of your own mini fire pit. Follow our simple instructions, and in less than an hour you’ll be ready to toast s’mores or relax in the flickering light. You’ll need a heat fuel can, plus a few other basic materials and tools. Once you’re done, place your tabletop fire pit in a safe, elevated spot, away from winds and little ones’ curious hands.

Related: 15 Ways to Warm Up to Outdoor Living in Fall

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Mixed Media

DIY wood wall art

What would weekends be without a home project to tackle? Make your relaxation time count by re-creating Anika’s unique wood-and-wire artworks. Borrowing from crafts she loved in childhood, Anika demonstrates how your home can reflect your personality through your own handiwork. The key is to have a vision and to mix different media, such as wood, embroidery, and pearl beads, to fashion wall art that is exquisitely out of the ordinary.


Levitation Skills

DIY bedside table

Reimagine your bedside storage with one of these levitating lovelies. A floating nightstand is ideal for smaller bedrooms with limited floor space, and building one is a great way to while away a fall afternoon. When you’re finished, personalize it with pretty touches like a vase filled with dried lavender, for extra-sweet dreams.

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Woven Wall Art

DIY woven wall art

Unwind after a busy week by learning how to weave with this project idea from A Beautiful Mess. A simple lap loom and a few types of yarn are all you’ll need to turn out a wall hanging with lush textures and a distinctive design. Just remember that in weaving lingo “warp” refers to the stationary, vertical strands. The horizontal strands you manipulate are the “weft.” These lap-loomed tapestries make wonderful gifts and cozy home decor.


Come On In

DIY wood doormat

Store-bought doormats are surprisingly expensive, and with recent stock shortages, you may find yourself in need of a mat but with no appealing options in sight. If so, do what Caitlin and Manda of The Merrythought did in a similar situation: They made their own. With their helpful tutorial, you can craft this sturdy cedar wood mat that will weather many seasons, keep your foyer clean, and boost curb appeal to boot.


Seasonal Scents

DIY fall candle

Toss out artificial fragrances and get a whiff of these soy-based candles instead. They’re made of all-natural ingredients and scented with a delicious mix of cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom, and cloves. When the scent of these pretty candles wafts through your home, your guests may ask you what you’ve been baking. Tell them that candle-making is healthier and just as satisfying.


Stylish Fireplace

DIY birch fireplace cover

Kristi has taken a common dilemma—the unsightliness of an unused fireplace—and turned it into a source of DIY inspiration. Using birch log slices glued to a simple plywood screen, she created a visually stunning fireplace insert that makes the most of an empty hearth. Visit Chatfield Court for the full tutorial.

Related: The 21 Most Stunning Fireplaces on the Internet


Make a Stand

DIY Plant Stand

Take a stand—or make a stand. This simple, minimalist plant stand is just what you need to spruce up that empty corner. Indoor plants have all sorts of benefits, from freshening the air to boosting your mood, and when they’re displayed on a handcrafted plant stand, you won’t have to worry about water damage to your floors. Even better, constructing the stand will give you a chance to exercise your mind and your woodworking skills too.

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Fall Flower Basket

DIY Fall Door Hanging

Tired of hanging seasonal wreaths on your front door? For a change, why not try a hanging basket, brimming with autumn goodness. Best of all, you can take on this project even if you have only half an hour to spare. Yvonne Pratt, who blogs at StoneGable, chose the word “brambly” to describe her basket door decor. She says it’s “code for messy,” but we humbly disagree. These baskets are floral cornucopias—full of the bounties of the season.


Knot Your Ordinary Tablecloth

DIY Macrame Table Runner

Macramé is the art of knotting, and this simple runner is undeniably a work of art. It’s also surprisingly easy to make, especially with the instructions and photographs provided courtesy of Rachel at A Beautiful Mess. Use your handcrafted runner to add bohemian flair to a kitchen table or dining room sideboard, or even to dress up an entryway table or nightstand.


Gift-Worthy Tray

DIY Serving Tray

Serve hors d’oeuvres or breakfast in bed on this handsome handcrafted tray. Its hexagonal shape provides a steady, solid grip, and the inner slats fit together like multihued puzzle pieces. This project is also well suited to older kids and teens (with adult supervision, of course). Work together to create a beautiful gift and wonderful memories. When you’re done, just add a bow—and a homemade meal.

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Chic Napkin Rings

DIY Napkin Rings

It’s hard to believe these stylish gold napkin rings cost just $3 in materials to make. All you need is some jewelry wire and pliers—plus these helpful directions by Ursula, who designed these table decorations for Home Made by Carmona. You can easily craft eight rings in a few minutes before your next dinner party. These elegant accessories are highly recommended for Thanksgiving and fall birthdays too.

Related: Set the Thanksgiving Table with 20 Budget Buys


Pretty Terrific Trivet

DIY Wood Bead Trivet

A trivet protects your tabletop, preventing your hot pots from damaging wood, counters, and other sensitive surfaces. Trivets can be made of many materials, including metal, ceramic, or wood. Ashley, who blogs at This House Might Be Bigger Than the Three of Us, even made this pretty, easy-peasy trivet out of wooden beads. These trivets would make great DIY holiday presents, and she notes that even kids can manage this safe beading activity. You’ll be able to keep the kids occupied for an hour or two and cross off a few gifts from the list—sounds like a true win-win.


A Tree for All Seasons

DIY Coffee Mug Rack

Goodness knows our kitchens can always use some extra storage. Fee up prime real estate on shelves and in cupboards by moving your mugs to a new home: a countertop mug tree. Made of wooden dowels and incorporating a few tricks of the trade, this tree has a modern vibe and would make a great gift for Dad. (“World’s Best Dad” mug not included.)

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Honeycomb Soap

DIY honeycomb soap

With sustainability the name of the game, homemade soap can be a utility player, a welcome addition to an eco-friendly fall but appreciated any time of year. Start by purchasing soap molds—for instance, these gorgeous silicone honeycombs (available from Etsy). Then use a lye-free, toxin-free recipe of your choice to make enough batches for friends and family to enjoy all year long.

etsy.com via ElvaMold

Label Your Table

DIY chalkboard serving tray

Restaurateurs use chalkboards to let diners know what’s on the menu. With a chalkboard tray, you’ll be able to provide the same service for your guests. It allows you to serve up—and label—your hors d’oeuvres and other goodies. You can use the chalkboard to playfully highlight your specialties, or you can give your guests practical info about what they’re eating—for instance, which antipasti are vegan or gluten-free. Visit Just a Girl for instructions on how to make your own tray.


Hang Up Your Boots

DIY boot rack

Turn your frown upside down—or your boots, at least. With this functional and attractive rack, winter boots and wellies will no longer end up in a jumbled pile, dripping all over your floors. This handmade floor-saver takes little more than a few wooden dowels and scrap lumber. Paint it any color you like, using an indoor/outdoor semi-gloss or satin top coat for the best weatherproofing effect.

Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Circle Solutions

DIY wood shelves

Luisa of the blog Why Don’t You Make Me? originally saw these sweet circular shelves at a store. Instead of buying them, she decided to make them, saving money and adding her own spin in the process. Follow her DIY lead—and her instructions—then hang up your creations, add a plant or a few knickknacks, and fall in love with your handmade perches.

Related: 50 Fall Decor Updates for $5, $15, $30


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