DIY Fall Decor for Broke Witches

Fall is finally here (!!), which means the Virginia humidity is on it’s way out, PSL’s are readily available, and it’s appropriate to wear a beanie to cover a bad hair day. Oh, and my Pinterest feed is full of fall-themed crafts.

I live by the motto “Don’t Cry, Craft”, so I spend quite a bit of time with a hot glue gun to fight off that pesky midterm stress. However, a big problem I usually run into whilst crafting is the cost of materials. I don’t know where my fellow crafters are getting the funding to do half the things they do, but if anyone knows please clue me in. 

So, I tried to make Pinterest-level crafts with the least amount of money possible. I already had Modge Podge glue, white paint, string, and a paintbrush, but I purchased the remaining supplies and shared the cost of each craft below!

Here are the results: 

1. Personalized Pumpkin


Courtesy of Author


You’ll Need: One small pumpkin ($1.50 at Giant), permanent markers 

Total Cost: $1.50 

Full disclosure: this is my roommate’s craft that she surprised me with (thanks, Shay!). But, it’s also a fun, cheap craft that’ll bring some autumn energy into your space. This pumpkin was $1.50 at Giant, and most area grocery stores are selling little pumpkins like this now so they’re easy to find if you don’t have time to hit up your local pumpkin patch. 

Dig some sharpies out of your bookbag or junk drawer and start coloring! 

2. Napkin Decoupage

Courtesy of Author

You’ll need: paper napkins ($8.46 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond), Modge Podge glue ($1.99 at Michaels), a brush, candle holder ($1.00 at Dollar Tree), scissors. 

Total Cost: approx. $12 

Decoupage is my new favorite thing. I found this tutorial but decided to try in on glass instead of a plastic pumpkin to make a cute candle holder. The Dollar Tree is your friend, crafty collegiettes! I found this plain glass container, along with a two-pack of fake flickering candles (since you can’t have real candles in my residence hall) to get started with my fall candle dreams. 

For whatever reason, fall-themed napkins were hard to track down. I finally found some at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and they ended up being the most expensive things I bought. However, I know for a fact my mom hoards paper napkins so she’s able to throw a themed party at the drop of a hat, so you might be able to find some at home, too. 

The actual process is super simple. Just cut out whatever pattern you want, brush on a little Modge Podge, stick your design down, and cover the whole thing with a couple more layers of Modge Podge to get it nice and shiny. The only trick is to separate the two layers of the paper napkins to prevent wrinkling and peeling, but that’s it!

3. Leaf and Branch Wall Hanging 


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You’ll Need: Twine/string (example: $1.29 at Michaels), fake leaves ($1 at Dollar Tree), a stick 

Total Cost: approx. $2.50 

In classic Pinterest fashion, the original tutorial for this craft was extra AF. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have an embossing machine laying around in my dorm room to whip up my own fake leaves real quick. Instead, I turned to the G.O.A.T of cheap fake plants — Dollar Tree. 

I found these leaves on a garland, cut them apart, and used some twine I already had from a past project to tie them to a branch I picked up on the sidewalk by the Mason Pond. It was literally the easiest thing ever, and it brings a rustic fall look anywhere you hang it!

4. Plastic Pumpkin Makeover 

Courtesy of Author

You’ll Need: white paint (example: $0.99 at Target), plastic pumpkin ($1 at Dollar Tree) 

Total Cost: approx. $2 

This one was a little bit of a failure. I picked up this pumpkin at Dollar Tree because I thought the sunflower detail was cute, but the original orange color was uneven and a weird shade. I planned to paint it white and decoupage on some leaves and maybe throw in some glitter. 

Sometimes, you get what you pay for. Especially when it’s $1. The orange paint started mixing with the white color I was trying to paint over it with. It took me about three layers of white paint to cover the gross orange, and you can still kind of see it. Because I had to use so many layers of paint, the styrofoam is now really flimsy and squishy, so I figured the Modge Podge and glitter might be too much. 

It’s not terrible from far away, but this one was mostly a bust. Lesson learned – make sure the fake pumpkin is plastic if you want to paint over it! 

5. Bonus: Aldi, Lidl, Target 

If you don’t have time to devote an afternoon to being messy, have no fear. There are lots of cheap options if you still want to get witchy! Most Target stores have seasonal sections in the front of the store that come in handy because let’s be real, we’re all at Target all the time anyway. 

Other great options are Aldi and Lidl. They’re both mostly known as grocery stores, but both of them carry seasonal decor and household items on the cheap. Aldi also has (in my humble opinion) the best chocolate options of any local grocery stores, so go ahead and stock up while you’re there! 

Happy Crafting, collegiettes! Be sure to share any crafts you try out and tag us!