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Fun, Fall Crafts Unsing Recycled Items from Around Your House

At Family Life Publications (FLP), 98% of each of our magazines is printed on non-toxic, sustainable, uncoated paper because we are very strong believers in doing what we can to protect our environment. This month, we decided to take this a step further by challenging ourselves to create a fun fall craft that utilized at least one major item that we could recycle/repurpose from our homes. Here is what we came up with:

Illuminated Autumn Tree
By Julie Senger, FLP Editor

Recycled Materials
Tomato Plant Cage
Tangled White Christmas Lights (100-bulb strand)
3-5 Twisty Ties (from loaf bread)

Other Materials
6 Fall Leaf Garland x2
(12 total)
Burlap Bow
4 Yards of Sparkly Green Tulle (ballerina tutu fabric)
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

-Turn the tomato cage upside down, and bind its legs together near the top with a twisty tie.
-Place your tangled Christmas lights inside the cage and hang what appears to be the middle of the wad by hooking that part of the wire between the point of your newly connected tomato cage legs, so that the tangled lights hang in a mass as they dangle to the bottom of the cage.
-Lay out your green tulle, and carefully place your tomato cage in the middle of the fabric.
-Take each side of the tulle and stretch it to the top of your tree, and tie the ends together at the top. Near the top of the tulle, punch one of the legs at the point through the netting to make sure it stays connected to the top. The fabric is thin, so this is easy to do. You may also use a dot of hot glue to ensure it stays in place.
-Cut off any excess tulle at the top.
-Stretch the tulle around the cage, so its completely covered, and pull the plug for the lights through one of the fabric separation locations at the bottom of the cage (make sure this side faces the wall/outlet).
-The leaf garlands have plastic circles at the end of each strand, so use a twisty tie to connect them together to make a 12 strand.
-Take one of the circles on the end of the newly connected leaf garland, and put it over the top of the point of your tree, then wrap the garland around the tulle-covered tomato cage. Use a twisty tie to connect the other end of the garland to the bottom of the cage (in the back).
-Adhere the burlap bow to the top of your tree.
-Plug in your new autumn tree, and enjoy!

Spooky Cute Halloween Tree (Childrens Craft)
By Janet Ponichtera, FLP Sales and Marketing Director

Recycled Materials
2 Small Tree Branches (about 2 each, try to find ones that look like miniature leafless trees)
Packing Styrofoam
Plant Container (cleaned and dried)
Black or Brown Paper or Cardboard
Pine Straw or Mulch (or other items from your yard to lay under the trees)
Newspaper Pages

Other Materials
Small Pictures of Bats (can be printed off the internet or drawn)
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks (or tape)

*Optional Materials
Tissues or Recycled Gift Bag Tissue Paper
(for ghosts)

-Cover your work surface with newspaper to make clean up easier.
-Cut Styrofoam to fit into the plant container to make a base; use leftover Styrofoam pieces to fill up the container.
-Place branches side by side into the Styrofoam to make two trees.
-Cut out bats, and hot glue or tape them onto the branches. Small children should have adult supervision if using hot glue.
-Use the brown/black paper or cardboard to cover the Styrofoam.
-Sprinkle the pine needles or mulch over the paper to cover it.

*Ghost Instructions (Optional)
-Make a small ball out of scrap paper.
-Place the ball in the center of a piece of tissue paper.
-Twist the paper right under the ball.
-Place the ghosts under the tree.

Aluminum Leaves Initial
By Candice Williams, FLP Art Director

Recycled Materials
17 Aluminum Soda Cans

Other Materials
Paper Mach Initial
(Initial used in this project
was 9 x 16)
Spray Paint (white, brown,
copper and sea green)
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
1 Nail
Black Permanent Marker
Spray Bottle with Water
Leaf Pattern (for tracing, the design for this project was found at

-Spray paint the paper mach initial with white paint. Let it dry according to the directions on the can.
-Print leaf patterns from the internet, and cut them out without the stems.

**Use caution when working with the sharp edges of the aluminum cans for the following steps.

-Using the gloves and scissors, cut the cans into sheets of aluminum by removing the top and bottom and cutting down the cylinder of the can. To uncurl, rub along the edge of a countertop.
-Trace the leaf patterns onto the aluminum using a permanent marker, fitting three leaves per sheet, and cut out.
-Use the nail to etch veins into the leaves.
-Separate the leaves into three groups of 17.
-Paint one group with the brown spray paint, and let dry.
-Paint another group with copper spray paint, and let dry.
-Paint the last group with copper spray paint, and while the paint is still wet, mist with water using the spray bottle. Then, immediately spray the sea green color on top of the water, and let dry. After the leaves have dried completely, spray each leaf with one more shot of the sea green color, and let dry. This will give the copper
a weathered, patina appearance.
-Use the hot glue gun to attach your leaves to the paper mach initial. Make sure to not let any leaves hang over the bottom, so it can stand properly.

Cozy Fall Dog Bed
By Jack Tuszynski, FLP Publisher

Recycled Materials
2, Four-Way-Entry, Close-Boarded, Perimeter Base Pallets
(used 36x24 size for this project)
Old Sofa or Outdoor Furniture Cushion(s)

Other Materials
#2 Wood Screws, sizes 1.25 and 2.25
Measuring Tape
Sand Paper
Paint or Stain of Your Choice (optional)
Seasonal Blankets, Fabric and/or Decorative Pillows

-First, order about 80,000 magazines, and have about 4000 delivered on pallets to your office. If that isnt an option, simply find a free pallet somewhere. Try asking local manufacturing companies, or find them locally online. Fall is a great time to prepare a cozy and comfortable new bed for your dog or cats. This project may be painted, stained or customized to match your interior design, your pets personality, or current seasonal holiday.
-Take your first pallet, and if necessary, trim any excess wood on the ends to make it flush with the 3 center blocks (see photo 1). Remove every other top slat board on the first pallet, and set these boards aside for use as trim later.
-Take your second pallet, and remove the bottom chamfers and center blocks, leaving the stringer boards and top slat boards (see photo 2).
-Cut the remaining portion of your pallet into 3 pieces, making your first cut along the top of the middle stringer board and your second cut halfway between the remaining 2 stringer boards. These pieces will be your back and sides of the pet bed.
-Use your drill and wood screws to attach the back and sides to your first pallet (see photo 3).

Autumn Leaf Mason Jar Coasters
By Laurie Litke, FLP Graphic Artist

Recycled Materials
Wide-Mouth Mason Jar Lids

Other Materials
Thin Sheet(s) of Cork
Acrylic Paints
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
Spray Paint (1 can of the color of your choice, a fall color that compliments the leaves is best)

-Trace the mason jar lid onto the cork, cut out the circle with scissors, and set aside.
-Hot glue the mason jar lid to the metal ring.
-Spray paint the mason jar lid and ring.
-Paint leaves on cork circles, and allow to dry.
-Once your leaves are completely dry, apply 2 coats of polyurethane on the cork circle. Be sure to let the first coat dry completely before applying the second coat.
-When the second coat of polyurethane is thoroughly dry, hot glue the cork circle inside the mason jar lid and ring.

-As needed, trim out the open spaces on the sides and the front by measuring and cutting the slats you removed from first pallet to the appropriate size.
-Sand down your edges and flat surfaces, so you and your pup dont get splinters.
-Paint or stain and allow to dry according to package instructions (optional).
-Add a pillow top and the seasonal bedding of your choice.

Here is a link to a pallet diagram with labeled parts: