Cheap & easy ways to upcycle your Summer cast-offs into Autumn outdoor decor in just minutes!
Being frugal runs in my blood. It isn’t surprising to those who know me that I am inspired to use things like spray paint and duct tape to upcycle and recycle anything I already have on hand or can pick up for nothing into beautiful seasonal decorations. I don’t like investing our monthly family budget money into holiday flourishes that will just be put away in a box in my attic in two months or less so I have become quite thrifty. I’m always on a mission to find budget-friendly outdoor and indoor decorations for year-round. Oh, and also very talented using a can of spray paint and roll of duct tape by now. Really, it may be all you need to make your front porch go from Summer to Fall in one afternoon – a quick and easy solution on a tight budget!
FALL DECOR UPCYCLING TIPS:
1) Recycle your own stuff from last season or be on the lookout for someone else’s cast-offs.
If you can (politely) rummage through a neighbor’s curbside trash to score some summertime cast-offs like these flower pots, do it!
I feel like these pots were an answer to a small desire of my heart. Crazy, huh?! Well, here’s the story: I had been longing for some pots to replant mums that I scored for cheap at the local Wal-mart, but frugal me didn’t feel inclined to pay twice or more for new pots in comparison to the very little that I had paid for the gorgeous red hardy mums.
I had been pondering a solution of my own for a few days when my daughter and I went for a neighborhood walk the evening before our little area’s trash pick up. While strolling along chattering away, behold, there in front of us were cast-off summer pots piled up like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow in someone’s trash bin. At first I breezed right past, but then I took a few steps back and stopped to ask permission to take them. The neighbors were happy to oblige and the pots found a new home where they were given a bath and new “clothes” with a can of spray paint.
Not only did this save me a few bucks keeping our family budget intact for the month, but it also showed me that God knows and understand the importance of even our littlest desires. He knows our hearts because he made them, physically and spiritually. Those light tan cast-off summer pots ended up a yummy dark red after I hit them with a couple of coats of spray paint that I already had in the garage. And, it just happened to be the perfect deep red color to compliment the mums. I am truly grateful for the little things that add a bit of joy to my day.
2) Use utilitarian items like duct tape to upcycle old seasonal decor in minutes.
You can’t get much more utilitarian than duct tape. Well, nowadays you can find it for cheap at your local dollar store in all kinds of neat seasonal patterns for Autumn or Halloween.
About a month ago, I was picking up some little household necessities at the dollar store and saw a display of all sorts of fun colored and patterned duct tape for just a buck a roll. Can’t beat it for quick and easy Fall decorating! I grabbed a few rolls (okay, okay, so I grabbed many rolls and then relented and put most of them back…my way of shopping frugally requires much discipline at times).
I had some summer hanging baskets with flowers that were still blooming nicely and very pretty. I could not bring myself to throw them out or hide them on my back porch so a little duct tape dressed them up for Fall. Just one strip around the top of the pot plus a couple of Fall planter signs left over from last year and a few minutes later, I’m done – simple, but fun upcycled decorations for just a buck.
3) When in doubt, pick one great seasonal color and spray paint it, whatever it is.
When I worked as a craft editor and had to crank out literally hundreds of crafts a year across a few different brands and multiple publications, spray paint and I became quite good friends. And yes, when it comes to spray paint, brand does matter. I have pretty much tried everything and then some. I highly recommend using Rust-oleum’s 2X Ultra Cover spray paint for plastics in particular. If you have a fairly clean surface, it will stick to almost anything and give you an even coat without much effort – works like a charm! I usually don’t use a primer with it and only need 2-3 coats. (Just so you know…I have no affiliation with Rust-oleum, just a lot of hours spent making craft after craft after craft in the past 20 years, and lots of mess ups and trials along the way to learn what saves me time and money.)
I have sturdy plastic pots that had been used in my yard for many years, even over a few moves across states. They had faded very badly over time and, although still in good shape to use, were getting to be shabby looking. I hosed them down using a bit of dish soap to scrub them clean and let them dry thoroughly before spray painting them with the color Gloss Sun Yellow. I put on three coats total just to be sure of even coverage and used about 1 1/2 cans of spray paint. Then I planted some clearance sale yellow mums in them which I got for less than $2 each. Total cost of the project including those three upcycled pots, cheap potting soil, discounted mums and two spray paint cans was about $18. Even penny-pinching me thought that was a pretty good deal to be the focal point of my porch and Fall outdoor decorations.
And, if you are digging that cute felt and fabric owl themed banner across my railing, you can find the free printable PDF pattern at The Funky Felter, my personal fiber and felt craft blog. Head on over there to get the pattern download to make a banner of your very own or use that adorable owl as an applique for pillows, a table runner or other fun Fall and Autumn indoor or outdoor decor. Remember to upcycle and recycle for the best budget-friendly decorations this season!
What have you upcycled or recycled lately into something brand new to decorate for the Fall season or an upcoming holiday? Are you as much of a fan of spray paint and duct tape as I am for decorating? Let us know your own tips and share your projects in the comments.
Until next time,
Managing Editor at Indoor Outdoor Space