Posts in Category: HOME HACKS

10 Tips for Growing Your Own Delicious Cranberries


Want to start growing your own cranberries? You just have to follow some simple tips.

Collage photos featuring cranberry growing tips from the article.Growing cranberries can be a lot of fun in your garden. Although these fruits are normally grown in bogs, there are many modern cultivars that make it possible for any gardener to try his hand.

The fresh fruit can last a long time and will taste amazing when they are stored properly. Many beginners worry that growing cranberries will be too difficult for them and take too much time, but with a bit of hard work and knowing which tips to follow, you can easily grow as many cranberries as you would like in your own garden.

While you’re thinking about fruit to grow for your own enjoyment then why not have a look through these 30 low-maintenance fruits and veggies?

Some of the best tips to follow to start growing cranberries yourself are as follows.

1. Choose the Variety You Want to Grow

fresh ripe cranberries hanging from a tree in the garden

There are actually a few different varieties of cranberries that you can plant from home. The variety that you choose can often depend on what you specifically want to use the cranberries for when they are done. Some options to consider include:

  • Howes cranberries: These are a small and red berry found in Massachusetts most of the time. They are really easy to grow for beginners and can stay fresh for a long time after you harvest them as long as they are stored properly.
  • Stevens cranberries: This is a hybrid that has been designed to be resistant to disease and is really productive. You can recognize these for their bright red color.
  • Ben Lear and Early Black: These are a deeper red color and are more difficult to grow compared to some of the other options. First-time growers may want to go with one of the other options.

2. Pick the Right Time to Plant

sprout of cranberry growing in a container, cranberry seedling

Cranberries like to be grown in some cooler climates so take a look at the plant hardiness zone map available from the USDA. Cranberries need to be grown somewhere between the second and fifth zone to get the most out of the harvest. There are a few different times when the gardener should grow their cranberries and these include:

The seedlings and cuttings can be planted through the whole autumn, usually sometime between October to early November. If you miss the fall, you can also plant them from April to the end of May. The three year old rooted plants that still grow actively, can sometimes be planted during the summer. You need to have these purchased in pots though to make it work.

I recommend checking out, The Complete Guide to Growing Your Own Fruit and Berries, book as a nice tutorial on timing and locations that are best for different varieties of fruits and berries. 

3. Prepare the Soil

digging the soil in the garden bed to prepare the soil for planting

Now we need to focus a little bit more on the soil and how to get that ready. Cranberry plants will have some unique requirements to work with. They must have a soil with a lower pH level and a higher level of organic matter compared to other plants. You may need to alter the current soil in the garden to get them to make it work.

The average plot size for your cranberries will be about four feet by eight feet. If you only want to do one plant though, two foot by two foot will be plenty.

You can prepare the soil by digging out the existing soil in the necessary area to a depth of six inches to eight inches. Add some peat moss to the plot along with half a pound of bone meal and one pound of blood meal.

If you would like, adding a cup of Epsom salt and a pound of rock phosphate may work well for this. Before you plant the cranberries though, you need to make sure the soil is thoroughly wet. Mist the plot with your garden hose to get this done.

4. Plant the Cuttings

cranberry cuttings and fresh harvested cranberry lying in wood in the garden

Most cranberry plants are not going to be grown straight from the seed. Rather, they are cut from either a cutting or a seedling that is several years old. Most cranberry plants will not start to give any fruit until their third or fourth year. Do not be surprised if you do a cutting and it takes a few years before you see fruit.

If you choose to plant one of the cranberry cuttings, which are often a year old, make sure to plant them directly into the prepared wet soil. If there is more than one plant in the plot, make sure that there is about a foot of space between each one so they do not overcrowd. The root ball of these plants needs to also get buried around two inches below the surface of the soil.

However, if you want to plant three-year-old seedlings, then you must make sure there are three feet of space between the plants.

5. Consider Growing in a Container

cranberries in a pot with picked cranberries around

Another option that some people may prefer is to grow their cranberries in a container. Keep in mind that the cranberries will often do the best in a garden plot so they have lots of extra room to spread out the runners.

However, if you have a large enough pot, you may be able to add a cranberry plant inside. A good rule of thumb is to go with a pot that is no less than twice the size of the root ball of the plant.

When trying this method, you can fill the pot with some peat moss and then add the three-year-old seedling inside. Allow the plant to develop some runners inside the pot so it can grow, but you should trim off any that tend to go beyond that point. Fertilize the soil so the plant does better with a low-nitrogen fertilizer. This will keep the plant strong but limits how many runners are allowed to grow.

If you like growing in containers, then make sure you check out this huge list of vegetables that thrive in containers for your garden!

6. Keep Up On the Weeds

holding a pulled weed from the garden

Now that the plants are all in the soil and ready to go, it is time to take care of those cranberry plants. Cranberry plants do need a little bit of extra love and care compared to some of the other plants available. But when the care is done well, you will get some tasty plants you are sure to enjoy.

Cranberry plants are not going to do well when there are a ton of weeds all around them. The weeds will often win that race so it is best if you are able to get rid of the weeds as often as possible. This is even more important during that first year. The peat moss that we discussed earlier will help inhibit the growth of most garden weeds. But check in on this often to ensure the cranberry bushes are not overwhelmed.

Here are some tips from experts on how to have a weed-free garden – and you don’t want to miss this list of weeds you can actually eat!

 

7. Water Them

wet cranberries after rainfall hanging from ta tree in the garden

During the first year, your new plants are going to need a lot of water to make sure the soil is kept moist. If the roots get dry at all, the plant will die out. It is a myth that the cranberry plant has to be submerged in water or saturated during growing.

You do want the soil around it to be at least damp all the time, it doesn’t need to be soaking in water to be healthy. Just like with any other type of plant, too much water can really make the root growth slow down and may make it impossible for the roots to get to the right depth that they need.

Here are some great ideas for creating a self-watering garden that may apply to growing berries!

8. Fertilize the Soil

flowers of cranberry plant, flowering cranberry plant

It will not take long before this plant is able to put out some runners, which are able to grow along the ground. The runners will grow until they will fill and cover the bed. If this does not happen, then it is a good idea to bring in a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen.
Only try this if you notice that the runners are struggling to grow. If you do this too much or too early, then there may be too much growth in the garden.

During the first year, you should fertilize the soil three times. Do this at the beginning of the growth, once you see flowers, and once the berries form.

To control where the runners go, consider adding a little edging around the garden.

After the first year, you will need to cut the nitrogen away from the runners. This will stop the spreading so that they start to take run and form uprights instead. You can then rely on a non-nitrogen fertilizer for that second year.

Here is a great post on how to make bone meal fertilizer.  Plus, you might want to check out this list of great organic fertilizer options that might work in your berry garden. 

9. Control Diseases and Pests

cranberries with crawling spider in the garden

No matter what type of plant you are working with, there will be some issues with diseases and pests. Cranberry plants are going to be the same as all the others. There are a few steps that you can take to keep these under control and to ensure the plants will not get eaten up before you can enjoy them.

Cranberry fruit-worm is a fairly common problem with your cranberries. This is where grey moths will try to lay their eggs inside the berries and let them grow. If you start to see some grey moths near the plants, it is time to use an insecticide to kill the moths and their eggs off.

If you do not find these fruit worms in time, the eggs can potentially hatch and they will start to eat through the cranberries, when this happens, the berries will start to turn red before they ripen. Simply pick off those berries and any of the nearby fruit and then throw them out.

Some other diseases that are common with cranberries include red spot, which is when bright right spots start to show up on the leaves of the plant, and berry fruit rot. The treatment for this is to spray the plant with an organic, copper-based fungicide between June and August.

Here are some insecticides for keeping your garden bug-free that are easy to make on your own at home!

10. Prune the Runners

red and green leaves of cranberry plant in the garden

The final thing that you should consider doing when growing your cranberry plants is to prune the runners from the third year of growth. You should repeat this every year that you plan to have the cranberries. This is going to make sure that you can control the runners while also encouraging more of the uprights to happen.

This is a simple process to do. You can start by combing the cranberry plot using a landscape rake if you have it. The goal is to get all of the runners to go in the same direction. This can make it easier to find the runners that are the longest so you can cut them back a bit. You should not try to prune the uprights that are already in place or it can ruin the plant.

As time goes on, the plants may try to go beyond the bounds that you set up for the original plot. If this is something that happens and you want to keep them in the plot, you just need to prune each of the plants back a bit in the spring so there are only about two inches of the growth above the soil line.

The plant will not produce any fruit during that year if you do that, but the production will come back in the following year and you can regain some control over the area.

Growing Cranberry Plants

Many beginner gardeners assume that it is too hard to grow the cranberry plants and they walk away before even giving it a try. While these plants do take a few years before you get any kind of berry to enjoy, they do not require a ton of extra work compared to some of the other plants that you may favor.

If you want to start growing cranberries in your backyard, just take a look at the simple steps above and you are set to go! follow some of the 10 tips for growing cranberries above. You’ll have a sauce-worthy harvest in no time! And you can find out how to store your produce with our tips here.

If you’ve caught the fruit-growing bug, why not think about what other jams and jellies you can make from your own home-grown fruit?



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DIY Rustic Pinecone Bear Kids Nature Craft


It’s that time of year when pinecones are everywhere around Michigan.  That means that they come into the craft closet as the perfect fun craft.  This little rustic pinecone bear is an ideal nature craft for kids.  Help them gather supplies and create their own little bear characters for pretend play and fun outdoors at the same time! 

woman in sweater holding pinecone bear

Pinecone Bear

Gather up the pinecones that have fallen in your backyard and have fun making them a fun new craft!  These little pinecone bears are just precious.  Not only are they easy to make, but they are practically free.  You just need a few items you already have on hand in your craft kit. 

In the past, I have used pinecones for a number of projects.  Recently these little pinecone hedgehogs were a hit with the kids.  Last year, I used them on a plastic bottle to make a different little hedgehog decoration.  Of course, they have also been known to be perfect for Christmas with some great pinecone crafts and even pinecone ornaments on my crafts list over the last few years. 

pinecone animal on wood table by fake leaves

Do I Need to Clean the Pinecones Before Using? 

If you are gathering pinecones from the outdoors, it is a good decision to clean them before using them.  It’s not about sanitation as it is about making sure there is no excess dirt or even little creatures or insects on the pinecones.  

  1. Shake off any dirt or debris outside before bringing them indoors. 
  2. Fill a 1 gallon bucket with water and 1/2 cup vinegar.  
  3. Place the pinecones into the bucket of water and vinegar making sure to submerge them as best you can.  Let them soak for 30-minutes before draining and rinsing the pinecones with clean water.  
  4. Next, place them on paper towels to dry out before using in crafts.  

If you are buying pinecones at a craft store, there is no need to clean them as they have been processed through a facility that takes care of them for you.  When buying from other people on sites like Etsy or eBay, you will want to clean them, just in case for safety. 

pinecone bear sitting on clover with mini toadstools

What Can I Use for the Feet of My Pinecone Bear? 

For this version, I used acorn caps.  They are always on the ground around our house and yet another free and easy-to-find craft supply.  Since I wanted this to stand up and be sturdy, it has a base from a bottle cap so it can stand without falling over.   

The arms on the sides are made from a split almond or pecan shell.  You can use any long and flat surface nut shell for this if you prefer.  Of course, it doesn’t have to be that.  You can also use any of the items listed below if you prefer something not a natural item for the feet or arms on your bear. 

  • Painted bottle caps.
  • Brown pom poms. 
  • Pipe cleaners/chenille stems. 
  • Buttons or snaps. 
  • Marker caps from old dried-out markers or pens. 
  • Pecan, almond, macadamia nut, pistachio, hazelnut, or Brazil nut shells. 
  • Painted cotton balls or pillow stuffing. 

bear made of pine cone and nuts on top of fake leaves

Can This Be Used for a Kids Classroom Activity? 

If you are a teacher or happen to homeschool your children, then this is an ideal option for a fun kids classroom activity.  Not only does it include things like nature walks where you can have kids look for specific items on the ground, but it is great for their motor skills. 

This can also be used alongside books as a unit study, or even just for pretend play with your own kids while you read something like the classic, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, book.  It could even be part of a lesson about bears and the different types and their regular homes or way of life. 

Of course, it can also just be fun to sit on a shelf or include it alongside some decor in a kid’s room! There are so many possibilities with this cute little pinecone bear idea!

pinecone bear on green base sitting on white table

What Glue Can I Use That is Safe for Kids? 

If this project is for making alongside the kids, you’ll want to be safe.  That means you won’t be using hot glue guns for this unless working with teens and adults.  So, you need a good glue that will stick to the pinecone but be safe if little ones get it on their hands. 

I prefer Aleene’s Tacky Glue for projects like this.  It’s affordable and easy to find, as well as being non-toxic.  While you could use a basic Elmer’s school glue or similar, you will find that the pieces are more likely to fall off easily as it won’t be as good a hold.  

mini mushroom toys by pinecone bear on grass

Supplies Needed

pine cone green paper bottle cap and acorn caps on white table

How to Make a Pinecone Bear

Cut an 8″x3″ strip of tissue paper and crumble it into a ball.  

Glue the tissue paper inside a medium bottle cap. 

hands pushing green paper into lid

Glue the flat end of the pinecone on top of the tissue paper. 

pinecone standing up on green base

Attach two acorn caps to the bottom front of the pinecone with glue. 

hand gluing acorn cap on bottom of pinecone

Also, add two acorn caps on the very top of the pinecone sides, to look like ears. 

hands holding acorn caps on top of pinecones

Glue a single acorn cap about 1″ down from the top.

hands gluing acorn caps onto pinecone

Add googly eyes just above and on either side of the acorn cap on the pine cone. 

hands holding googly eyes on top of pinecone for eyes

Glue a black bead to the front of the acorn cap to create a nose.

hand holding bead on pinecone bear nose

Cut an acorn in half, discard the nut.

hand holding knife and cutting pinecone shell on blue paper

Using just the shell, attach with glue on either side of the bear, halfway down the body as arms. 

hands holding pecan shells on sides of pinecone

Now you have a cute little bear made of natural elements!

woman holding animal made from pine cone

More Fun Kids Crafts

If you are looking for more ideas to keep the kids busy and happy creating, don’t worry – we have plenty!  Along with some of the other pinecone crafts we listed above, I have tons of fun ideas to share that are perfect for making with your kids.  Below are a few of my favorites for you to pin, print, or bookmark to make soon! 

Yield: 1

pinecone bear on wood table by fake leaves

Make an adorable little pinecone bear with just a few supplies! An excellent kids nature craft for fall and winter!

Active Time
15 minutes

Total Time
15 minutes

Difficulty
Easy

Estimated Cost
$1

Notes

Can replace googly eyes with beads or buttons for a more unique look.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Finished Project Gallery

blue cloudy background behind pinecone bear

Use these in kids’ dioramas to learn about bears and other woodland creatures. 

monster paper beneath pinecone bear

Add a scarf or hat to make them look even cuter. 

Yellow table with fake leaves and a pinecone bear

A pink bow on top or a blue bow tie can be used if you want!

hand holding pinecone bear



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12 Vegetables to Plant in the Late Fall for a Full Table


Summer gets all the attention, doesn’t it?

From the fun of a 4th of July barbeque to the glory of a sunny summer’s day, there’s very little that gets missed when it comes to the beauty and bounty of summer.

Collage of vegetables to plant in the late fall

However, summer shouldn’t have all the fun – especially when it comes to your vegetable garden. Believe it or not, there are plenty of plants and vegetables you can plant in the late fall for a winter or spring harvest the following year.

Surprisingly, many winter vegetables are completely cold-hardy and will do well with winter weather. Although these plants may not be options in all growing zones (some crops are susceptible to a hard frost), many are good choices as long as you throw some covers over them to protect them from frost (you might want to check out our ideas for garden cloches to help).

Don’t believe us? Keep reading to learn more about some of the best options.

When to Plant Fall Crops

Timing a fall planting can be tricky, as you’ll want to consider the weather and climate patterns in your individual growing zone. For many people, the challenge in growing crops over the winter months isn’t necessarily the cold – it’s the lack of light.

Deciding when to plant will depend on your weather as well as what crops you are growing. If you’re hoping for a spring harvest, you’ll need a relatively mild winter for most vegetables (although some, like garlic, are hardy even in the coldest growing zones). Generally, you can plant a fall garden as late as November for a spring harvest.

While most winter crops can be planted directly in the ground and will withstand winter weather, it’s important to have a few resources on hand. For example, you may want to mulch around the roots of plants to prevent them from freezing hard. This can also help with moisture retention. You can find our one-stop guide to mulching here. 

You might also want to have some floating row covers or greenhouse plastic on hand. This will keep your plants warm and protect them from both drying winds and extreme temperatures.

12 Plants and Vegetables You Should Plant in the Late Fall

1. Kale

kale seedlings transplanted in the garden

No winter garden is complete without kale. Plant a few varieties, and you’ll find that, as the temperature drops, the flavor of your kale actually improves. You can grow it as a baby green for winter salads or allow it to mature for a heartier harvest in the spring.

2. Onions

growing row of onions in the garden

Plant a few onion sets in the fall, and you won’t have to do much to care for them all winter. Generally, most varieties of onions have a longer time to harvest, so you won’t be able to pull them until July or August as it is (but if you want, you can harvest them earlier in the spring as shallots, perfect for stews and salads).

Just plan ahead, as your onions will take up space in your garden that you may have planned on using for spring plantings. Some good options for fall planting include ‘Electric,’ ‘Echalote Grise,’ and ‘First Early.’

3. Leeks

leeks ready to be transplanted in the garden bed

Leeks are also quite cold-hardy and can be planted in the fall for a spring crop. You may find that they do best with a bit of protection on the coldest days of winter (a row cover will work wonders). Otherwise, your leeks will be ready to go once the weather warms.

4. Spring Onions

growing spring onions in the garden

Spring onions – as long as you choose winter-hardy varieties – are perfect for winter salads. Not only do they grow quickly, but planting these vegetables in the fall will yield onions that are ready for harvest in the spring. One good winter hardy cultivar to consider is ‘White Lisbon.

5. Broad Beans

broad beans seedlings in a pot for transplanting in the vegetable garden

Sow broad beans in the fall, rel=”nofollow” and you’ll be able to harvest beans a month earlier in the spring than you would if you had waited until spring to sow. One good option to plant is ‘Aquadulce Claudia,’ which establishes quickly and grows even more rapidly.

6. Garlic

freshly harvested garlic from the garden

Garlic not only can be planted in the late fall – but it should be planted in the late fall. This crop is meant to be grown over the winter months for a late summer harvest. There are several varieties you can choose from, including both hardneck and softneck cultivars. Some good options include ‘Chesnok Red’ and ‘Wight Cristo.’

7. Perpetual Spinach

fresh green perpetual spinach growing in the garden

If you want bountiful leafy greens even during the coldest months of the year, you may want to grow some perpetual spinach. It’s a great crop that can be cut multiple times to give you huge yields.

Sow in the fall, and you’ll be supplied with greens all winter long. It can produce a crop long into the winter months, in fact, in some places. Just make sure you clip the flowers to prevent it from going to seed.

8. Peas

holding peas with hands wearing black gloves in the garden

Even peas can be planted in the fall. You’ll want to choose rounded varieties like ‘Kelvedon Wonder’ and ‘Meteor,’ which are known for being hardier varieties. You’ll be the first one to harvest peas in this spring, as fall-planted peas are ready for harvest about three to four weeks before those planted in the late winter or early spring months.

9. Salad Greens

fresh growing salad greens in the garden bed

You can even grow salad greens during the winter – although it’s important to note that, for best results, you’ll want to grow in a greenhouse. Some good options include mustard greens, lamb’s lettuce, and land cress. You’ll be able to cut and come again all winter long – and even long into next summer before your spring-planted greens are ready to go.

If you haven’t planted lettuce before, you can check out this post all about making a lettuce globe as a great starting point!

10. Asparagus

planting asparagus in the vegetable garden bed

Asparagus is a classic perennial vegetable that will provide you with a crop for decades after its original planting. Asparagus crowns can be planted either in the spring or fall, but if you plant in the fall, it will give you a jumpstart on the growing season next year.

An asparagus bed will most likely need to be permanent, but you’ll get up to 25 spears per year for 25 years of harvest. It takes two years to produce a crop, but tender asparagus is worth the wait. Some good options include ‘Mondeo’ and ‘Pacific Purple.’

11. Carrots

row of carrots growing in the garden bed

As long as you can grow them in a cold frame, carrots can easily be planted in the fall for a spring or summer harvest. Plant carrot seeds in November and you’ll be able to harvest them in July. Just make sure the ground doesn’t freeze around the tubers.

12. Pak Choi/Bok Choi

bok choi sapling in the garden

Both Pak Choi and Bok Choy can be grown over the winter. You can harvest tender leafy greens throughout the winter to be used in salads, or you can allow the heads to mature and harvest the stems for stir-fries. Pak Choi, in particular, matures quickly and will be ready to go first thing the following summer.

Why You Should Plant a Late Fall Garden

Planting a garden in the late fall will not only allow you to extend your workable time in the garden but there are quite a few vegetables that can thrive all winter long. That way, you’ll have an earlier crop than if you planted in the spring.

You’ll need to be organized and get your beds ready in order to get a fall garden in the round on time. However, if you start planning now, you should be able to grow enough crops for a bountiful harvest – even after winter has settled in for good. We’ve even got a guide to help you get the rest of your garden ready for winter. 

Consider planting these twelve plants and vegetables this fall – you won’t regret it.



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Rustic Pinecone and Pecan Mouse Kids Craft


You may have noticed that I am loving these natural elements this year with crafting.  This cute little pinecone and pecan mouse is a perfect idea for kids to make and really could be entirely free to make if you use items you already have on hand.  This makes a great little addition to a fall diorama, or can just be fun for kids to play with alongside action figures!

lady in pink sweater holding pinecone mouse in hands

Pinecone and Pecan Mouse

Grabbing a few pinecones from outside can become not just a fun way to keep kids busy on a nature walk, but also the base of some amazing crafts.  This little pinecone and pecan mouse is one of my favorite creations so far. I can imagine using this while teaching kids about rodents, or as a fun prop while reading a book like Stuart Little

If you like the natural element crafts, then make sure you check out these fun little pinecone hedgehogs.  You might also like this adorable little walnut mouse or even something from this huge list of pinecone crafts ideas. 

fake mouse on grass by mini red topped toadstools

What Other Nuts Can I Use for the Mouse Face? 

The idea for this is to use all-natural elements.  So, a pecan is ideal for the face as it is nice and rounded, and flat on the outside.  It sticks to the pinecone easily and is all you need for a cute little creature. But, if you don’t have pecans lying around or don’t want to buy any, there are other ideas below that can easily work to create your little mouse face on this rustic craft. 

  • Chestnut, hazelnut, or macadamia nut have rounded surfaces and while smaller could still work for the face. 
  • Buttons, beads, bottle caps, or similar small round plastic items you may already have on hand. 
  • Foam paper, felt, fabric, cardstock, or construction paper cut into a face shape and attached with glue. 

yellow paper with fake leaves saying hello autumn by fake pinecone mouse

Do I Need to Clean Pinecones I Gather From the Yard? 

Yes.  It is really smart to take the time to clean your pinecones before using them in your crafting projects.  While you can buy them online on Amazon or Etsy, and sometimes inside your local craft store, if you gather them yourself they may bring bugs inside with them.  I think it’s a smart decision to clean them well before you begin using them.  Below is one great and safe method to clean them that kids can help you with. 

  1. Tap the pinecones outside to remove any lingering dust/dirt/or debris first.
  2. Fill a large bucket with 1 gallon of water and 1/2 cup white vinegar. 
  3. Place all of your pinecones into the bucket with vinegar solution and make sure they are all submerged under the water.  They will float to the top some, so you may need to regularly go back and push them under the water, add a lid on top of the water to hold them down, or even stir them with a long spoon. 
  4. Let them sit in the water solution for 30-minutes before you rinse them well.  
  5. Set them aside onto towels or paper towels to dry for a few hours to overnight before you use them for your crafting project. 

pinecone mouse on fake green leaves with blue background

Can I Paint My Mouse? 

Of course, you can paint them if you want.  I like the raw rustic look of just the pinecone and nuts, but you can definitely get creative and paint them.  You could paint them any color you want, or even just add a bit of glitter spray to make them sparkle!

If you choose to paint your mouse, I would recommend doing so before you start decorating.  Just spray paint them outside and set them aside to dry for 15 to 30 minutes before you finish adding the face and tail.  

You can paint with a brush and acrylic paints, but the individual seeds and all of the nooks and crannies of the pinecone could make that time-consuming and difficult.  So, I really recommend just using spray paint for the best and fastest option.  Just make sure to do so in a ventilated area and away from children or animals. 

hello autumn written in white letters on fall paper underneath fake mouse

Supplies Needed

scissors brown paper markers pecan and pinecone on white table

How to Make a Pinecone and Pecan Mouse

Remove a few pieces of the top of the pine cone to create a hollowed space. 

scissors trimming petals off pinecone

Glue the pecan into the hollowed space. 

Using two of the “petals” of the pinecone, glue them to the top back of the pecan to create ears. 

attaching pecan to end of pinecone

Glue a black bead onto the end of the pecan. 

gluing bead on the end of pecan on pinecone mouse

Use a black marker to draw dots for eyes above the nose and before the ears. 

drawing eyes with marker onto pecan

Use a pen to twist the wire or pipe cleaner into a spring shape and glue it onto the back of the pinecone for the tail. 

hands gluing tail to mouse

Draw four tiny feet shapes onto the foam paper and cut them out. 

hand cutting ears out of brown paper

Glue these to the bottom of the pinecone, two per side in the front and back. 

Hand gluing felt ears to top of pinecone

Now you have a rustic mouse!

pinecone mouse held by woman

More Fun Kids Crafts

If you are looking for a few more fun ideas for the kids to make, we have you covered.  There are tons of fun projects that kids can help you create for fall, winter, or any time of year.  Below are some of my favorites that include natural elements and that can be used as fun decor or just for them to sit on a shelf and be proud of making.  Make sure you bookmark, pin, or print the tutorials to make them soon! 

Yield: 1

pinecone mouse on fake green leaves

Grab the kids for a nature walk and make this adorable little rustic pinecone and pecan mouse! A fun fall craft for kids.

Active Time
15 minutes

Total Time
15 minutes

Difficulty
Easy

Estimated Cost
$0

Notes

Decorate your fall mantle with these pinecone and pecan mice and fall leaves for a natural look!

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Finished Project Gallery

pinecone mouse laying on top of pumpkin paper

Pair this with one of our other pinecone animals to share on your fall mantle. 

fake mouse made of pinecones on autumn paper

Add a pink nose for a more realistic look. 

pinecone mouse on yellow paper with fake leaves

Paint the pinecone gray or light brown to look more like a real mouse.

miniature pinecone and pecan mouse on white table



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Upcycled Shampoo Bottle Monster Pencil Holders


Monsters are everywhere around Halloween but they don’t need to be scary.  Make your monsters not just cute but fun!  This easy upcycled bottle craft makes the most adorable little monster pencil holders for kids’ desks.  There is just something fun about having something on their desk for the Halloween season, and this is both cute and functional.  Make your own in a variety of styles and use it for all kinds of things around the house!

Monster pencil holders on white surface

Monster Pencil Holders

I hate throwing anything away that could potentially be used for something new.  My family used to call me a hoarder until they realized how handy my little projects could be for everyone.  This idea was inspired by seeing an empty shampoo bottle on a counter and trying to figure out how to make it used for something new and fun.  A pencil holder that looks like a monster sounded great.  Kids would love it, and it would be a fun way to put that bottle to use.

I’ve made an effort to turn monsters into fun instead of scary things lately.  From the funny upcycled old book monster to the cute little pom pom monsters, I knew I could add some cute things to my decorations around Halloween that wouldn’t be so scary.  Clothespin monsters are another fun idea that the kids enjoyed, and of course, I loved adding little egg carton monster treat boxes to my kid’s goody bags.  So many great ideas to add to your Halloween!

Pencil holders on desk

What Bottles are Best for These Containers?

Frankly, nothing works better than a shampoo bottle.  The flat bottom and rounded bottle make it ideal for holding pencils or pens.  Plus, the plastic is thin enough to easily cut but also not so sharp around the edges that you worry about it cutting you.  Lotion bottles, conditioner bottles, and body wash bottles are also great for this project.  I just stay away from any of the super hard plastic since it can be really brittle and harder to cut.

Woman holding monster pencil cans

What is a Safe Way for Kids to Cut the Bottles?

When working with kids, it is probably best for you to cut these yourself and let the kids do all of the decorating.  Some bottles will cut with kids scissors, but usually you will find the need for a craft knife for the initial cuts on the plastic.  Most scissors won’t work well for that but you can usually get away with a craft knife or a kitchen knife doing it for you. 

Instead of having the kids cut the bottles, have them prepared ahead of time and just let the kids do the decorating with tape, paper, and other additions.  Lay them out on a table with the bottles ready at each place setting and stacks of supplies in the center of the table.  This makes it super easy for the kids to reach and grab what they want while keeping things mostly organized.

Pencil holders on green table

How Can I Customize My Monster?

I created a pretty simple monster for this example, but you can add so many amazing additions to your monster!  These little pencil holders are great for tons of different uses, so customize each one to make it look even more unique and fun. Below are some of my favorite ideas for making your monster look even cooler!

  • Paint the bottle with stripes or polka dots.
  • Use different colors of washi tape to add stripes or even clothing to the bottle.
  • Glue on buttons or beads for eyes instead of foam paper.
  • Add a few pieces of yarn around the top to give your monster crazy hair.
  • Glue on sequins to create a dress or shirt.
  • Spray with glitter spray to add a fun sparkly monster look.

Pencil holders on green table

Where Can I Use These Monster Containers?

I initially made these just for holding pencils on the kids desks.  That doesn’t mean they can’t be used for tons of other cool ideas around the house.  Add them to your dining table to hold rolled napkins or utensils for a Halloween party.  Perhaps, you might put them on your bathroom counter to hold things like makeup brushes or even your toothbrush and toothpaste.  They are super cute and also handy.  You don’t have to hesitate at all to make dozens and tuck them around your house to hold things or even just as part of your Halloween decor.

Pencil holders on grass

Supplies Needed

Supplies for monster pencil holders

How to Make a Monster Pencil Holder with Upcycled Bottles

Clean an empty lotion or shampoo bottle and remove the label from the outside.

Draw a jagged line around the bottle, about 3/4 of the way up the bottle.

Drawing on bottle

Use a craft knife or scissors to cut the top off and discard it.

Wrap colored washi tape around the top of one bottle.

Adding washi tape to bottle

On craft paper, draw hand and arm shapes, then cut those out.

Drawing on white paper

Glue the arms on either side of the washi tape on the bottle.

Gluing arms on monster bottle

Cut a small circle from the foam paper.

Stick the foam paper circle onto the center of the washi tape.

Cut out a small white circle and glue to the middle of the glitter foam circle.

Gluing eye onto monster

Draw a mouth shape on the back of the red paper and cut it out.

Drawing on white paper

Glue the mouth toward the bottom of the bottle, below the eye.

Cut out white triangles and attach them to the mouth as teeth.

Adding teeth to monster

Cut a smooth line across the top of a second bottle. 

Cutting a shampoo bottle

Use part of the discarded top of the bottle to cut out two arms.

Attach the arms to the sides of the bottle.

Attaching arms to monster

Use the bottle lid to trace two circles on foam or craft paper.

Cutting circles from paper

Cut out the eyes and then add two smaller circles to the center to create eyes. 

Glue the eyes onto the top half of the bottle.

Gluing eyes on green monster

Cut out a black mouth shape and glue onto the bottle.

Gluing mouth on green bottle

Fill with pens, pencils, or markers and add to desks or Halloween tables.

Monster pencil holders on white surface

More Fun Halloween Craft Ideas

Halloween is one of my favorite things to decorate and create fun ideas for adding to my home.  That means there are tons of great ideas here already for you to check out.  I absolutely love upcycling and making things from scratch.  The list below are just a few more of my favorite ideas that are sure to be great for adding to your Halloween collection.

Crafting Tip

I stock my craft closet with tons of supplies I pick up from Dollar Tree online. You can pick out great supplies and have them shipped directly to your door in bulk.  This saves both time and money!

Yield: 2

Monster pencil holders on white surface

Turn those empty shampoo bottles into these great upcycled bottle monster pencil holders in just a few minutes. A super cute Halloween kids craft that is also useful!

Active Time
10 minutes

Total Time
10 minutes

Difficulty
Easy

Estimated Cost
$0

Instructions

  1. Clean an empty lotion or shampoo bottle and remove the label from the outside.
  2. Draw a jagged line around the bottle, about 3/4 of the way up the bottle.
  3. Use a craft knife or scissors to cut the top off and discard it.
  4. Wrap colored washi tape around the top of one bottle.
  5. On craft paper, draw hand and arm shapes, then cut those out.
  6. Glue the arms on either side of the washi tape on the bottle.
  7. Cut a small circle from the foam paper.
  8. Stick the foam paper circle onto the center of the washi tape.
  9. Cut out a small white circle and glue to the middle of the glitter foam circle.
  10. Draw a mouth shape on the back of red paper and cut it out.
  11. Glue the mouth toward the bottom of the bottle, below the eye.
  12. Cut out white triangles and attach to the mouth as teeth.
  13. On the second bottle, use part of the discarded top of the bottle to cut out two arms.
  14. Attach the arms to the sides of the bottle.
  15. Use the bottle lid to trace two circles on foam or craft paper.
  16. Cut out the eyes and then add two smaller circles to the center to create eyes. 
  17. Glue the eyes onto the top half of the bottle.
  18. Cut out a black mouth shape and glue onto the bottle.
  19. Fill with pens, pencils, or markers and add to desks or Halloween tables.

Notes

Use bottles of all sizes to create different sized containers for use around the home.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Finished Project Gallery

Add glitter or sparkles to yours to make them look a bit different. 

Pencil holders on desk

Tuck these into a basket with toys, treats, and markers for an extra special Halloween gift. 

Pencil holders on grass

There are tons of different styles of monsters you can create with one eye, multiple eyes, or wild hair. 

Woman holding monster pencil cans

Add arms and legs or even hair to yours to create a unique look for your monster. 

Woman holding monster pencil cans



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Cute Framed Acorn Cap Squirrel Wall Hanging Decoration


Sometimes, the simplest of items can be the most beautiful.  This fun framed acorn cap squirrel creates a unique wall hanging that is cheap, fun to make, and kid-friendly.  Since you only need a frame, paper, acorns, and glue to make this, you can do this with a large group of kids on a budget.  That makes this a perfect kids’ school craft project!  

Acorn cap squirrel framed and sitting on table with string of bulb lights

Framed Acorn Cap Squirrel

My kids always loved nature walks and exploring when they were kids.  Things like fallen leaves and acorn caps always ended up in their pockets or gathered to create a treasure with once we got home.  Now, you can use those same fun little items they gathered and turn them into art!  This 3D squirrel image can be left plain, customized with paints, or just a bit of glitter to create a fun rustic addition to your home decor. 

We have used acorns before for these cute glitter acorns, but until this year,  hadn’t really added them to crafting. I am discovering how much I love rustic items like this rustic fall wreath, so knew this had to be explored more with this project. 

Framed squirrel art on white table by lantern

Where Can I Find Acorn Caps? 

The best place is to just go outside and start gathering from your front or back yard.  However, not all areas have oak trees.  If you don’t have a way to grab some outside naturally, you can find acorns in craft stores, on Etsy, and on Amazon.  I like the bulk bags from Amazon because I know they are clean and won’t include any bugs or hidden items like some you gather from outside can. 

Wooden frame around acorn cap squirrel

What Ways Can I Make My Squirrel Unique? 

If you want to make yours a bit different and not so basic, there are some great ways to turn this project into a bigger craft.  Whether you add just a little something extra, or you turn this into a larger special wall hanging, just have fun and remember there is nothing exact or perfect about this.  It’s meant to be fun to make. 

  •  Spray paint the acorn caps before gluing them onto the template. 
  • Add glitter spray to the acorn caps before gluing them onto the template. 
  • Use glitter or unique background instead of just the white paper.  Brown, gold, or red glitter foam paper would look great. 
  • Use fall-themed scrapbook paper instead of plain white paper. 
  • Add natural elements around the picture frame like twigs, more acorn caps, pinecones, or similar. 
  • Add a bead or sequin for the squirrel’s eye to make it a bit more “alive”. 

Framed squirrel art on table by red wrapped gift

Can I Put This Into a Shadowbox? 

Absolutely!  That would be an excellent choice for keeping this as a decor piece year after year.  It would also allow you to place a few natural items like more acorns, nuts, twigs, or pinecones around the squirrel inside the shadowbox.  This look would be great for sitting on the mantle around the fall and Thanksgiving seasons. 

Rustic squirrel picture held by woman in front of Christmas tree

Could I Do This With Different Nuts?

Yes, you could do this with different nuts.  Just remember that acorn caps are great because they are a separate part of the nut that easily comes off and won’t crack or break easily when removed.  To use the shells of pecan, walnut, or similar, you would find yourself with larger pieces and the need to remove the seed from inside.  While it’s possible, acorns are just much easier to find and use for this particular project. 

Acorn cap squirrel frame on white table under red and white lights

Supplies Needed

Picture frame, acorn caps, scissors, and template for squirrel on white table

How to Make a Framed Acorn Cap Squirrel

Print out the squirrel template and the measure against the back of your frame.  Trim the edges to fit inside your frame. 

Hand using blue scissor to cut paper with black squirrel printed on it

Place the squirrel template into the frame, but do not attach or leave the glass on the frame.  Discard it safely. 

Hands placing paper into picture frame

Glue acorn caps over the template, using various sizes to fill in gaps but leaving a bit of the black shape showing.

Finger holding an acorn cap onto black squirrel in frame

Just outline the squirrel shape and fill it in so it has a similar shape.

Hands adding acorn caps to printed template in frame

Trim off any of the longer stems from the acorns. 

Scissors trimming excess stem from acorns

Carefully add small amounts of glue onto any of the black spaces shown, and between the acorns. 

Working quickly, sprinkle glitter all over the picture and between the acorn so that it sticks to the glue. 

Hands sprinkling gold glitter onto picture in frame

Once all of the areas have glittered, tip the frame over and shake off any excess glitter onto a clean piece of paper.  Use that paper as a funnel to put the excess glitter back into the jar to use later. 

Framed acorn cap squirrel on white table

Let everything dry completely then hang it from the wall or display it on a shelf or mantle.

Acorn cap squirrel in frame on wood table with holiday garland

More Fun Fall Craft Ideas

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year to craft.  It means I can make everything with warm colors and of course, items that last for a few months instead of just as short a time.  Below are some of my favorite fall craft ideas that can be used as decor or for just an added fun element around the house.  Make sure that you pin, print, or bookmark these projects to make soon!

Yield: 1

Squirrel wall art behind white lights against wall

Use natural elements to make this cute framed acorn cap squirrel wall hanging. A perfect decoration for fall!

Active Time
20 minutes

Total Time
20 minutes

Difficulty
Easy

Estimated Cost
$1

Notes

If making with children, use craft glue instead of hot glue for safety.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Finished Project Gallery

Squirrel picture on table with fake snow in front of blue wall

This is a great project to make with younger kids because they will love going out to gather the acorns.  Just use a non-toxic glue instead of hot glue for safety. 

Framed acorn cap squirrel on table by blue sofa

Hang this from August to December to fit right into the fall and winter season!

Squirrel picture in frame in front of Christmas tree



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DIY Rustic Framed Old Book Page Decor with Acorns


What an absolutely adorable idea!  This rustic acorn frame book page leaf decoration is ideal for hanging during the fall season.  A fun combination of upcycled items, natural elements, and a bit of ingenuity creates a gorgeous little framed picture.  Get creative with yours and make it unique or follow this tutorial for a simple but beautiful addition to your home decor. 

Acorn cap picture frame on white shelf

Acorn Frame Decoration

I love bringing natural elements indoors.  This little framed leaf is unique and lovely. An elegant project to add to a mantle, as part of a centerpiece, or even just hung on the wall during the fall season, it is a great “dollar store craft” for those on a budget.  It is easy to make this for just $1 out of pocket using items you have on hand.  An old book, a leaf from outside, a few acorn caps, and glitter and glue you already had on hand are free.  The $1 dollar store frame is all you need to finish this and make it a fun new addition to your autumn seasonal decor.

After you make this frame, if you have leftover acorns you can turn them into cute glitter acorns and put them on this lovely rustic fall wreath with fabric flowers.  A fun way to use the same item in multiple decor projects!

Desk with calendar blocks next to rustic picture frame

What Can I Put In This Frame? 

For this frame, I used a leaf found outside and glued it onto an old book page.  You could use any fall-themed item on the page, and even use a specific fall-themed book.  Below are some ideas that would look great inside this frame. 

  • Pages from a book written about the fall season or a favorite poem of thanksgiving as the background.  
  • Scrapbook paper in fall themes or colors. 
  • Pine cone seeds you glue in a unique shape or pattern. 
  • Fake leaves instead of real leaves. 
  • Pine or cedar clippings.

Rustic framed book page with glitter leaf

What Can I Use Instead of Pages from a Book?

When we use old books for crafts, we often get this question.  First, we do not use books that are in good shape or have a purpose.  Most of the time these are from books missing major portions, torn, water-stained, or similar.  

If you do not want to use a genuine old book, you can print any letter, poem, saying, or even passage from a book onto a yellowed piece of paper.  You can even print on white paper then brush with coffee or tea and let dry to create the yellowed look of an old piece of paper. 

Another option is to use a piece of scrapbook paper, construction paper, or similar fall-themed colored papers if you want to create a different look.  I would even use a piece of glittered foam paper. 

Rustic picture frame on white table with gifts

What Type of Frame is Best for Gluing Acorns To? 

You can use any frame but I prefer a wooden frame because it matches the rustic look of the acorn caps.  If you prefer, you can use a metal, plastic, or even paper frame. 

 have even used pieces of crown molding or trim to make my own little frames by tacking them together with a little nail or some wood glue!  You can cut them in equal sizes or do a traditional rectangle.  Cut the ends at an angle so they fit together evenly, and you have a simple frame.  Of course, if you want the kickstand on the back and a glass front, those can be added as well. 

Rustic framed book page with glitter leaf

Should I Clean the Acorns First? 

If you are gathering the acorns from your own yard, it is wise to soak them in a vinegar and water solution before you use them.  I like to fill a bowl with a gallon of water and 1/4 cup vinegar and then soak the acorns or acorn caps for at least 10 minutes.  This usually brings out any bugs and also helps get rid of dirt and grime.  Then you just rinse them well and layout on a towel to dry before using them for your crafting projects. 

Acorn cap picture frame on white shelf

Supplies Needed

Picture frame, acorn caps, old book pages, leaf, glitter and scissors on white table

How to Make an Acorn Frame Decoration

Using craft glue or a hot glue gun, add a bit of glue around the bottom edge of the acorn cap.  Place it onto the corner of the frame, and continue adding different sized acorns to cover all of the frame possible. 

Hand holding acorn cap and glue gun

Use a variety of sizes filling in gaps with smaller ones and placing some at angles so they cover the edges.   Once the entire frame is covered, you can add glitter, spray with glitter, spray paint different colors, or leave it as is.  Additionally, you may trim off excess stems from the acorn caps if desired. 

Picture frame with acorn caps around edges

Place the leaf onto a piece of paper, then add a line of glue around the leaf, and sprinkle with glitter. 

Holding leaf above pile of glitter on white table

Tap off the excess and set the lid aside. 

Once the glitter has dried in place, trim the book page to fit the frame using the back as a guide. 

Blue scissors trimming book page against frame

Place the glass piece back into the frame, then the leaf on top of it.

Hand holding leaf on picture frame glass

Place the book page over the leaf, then attach the back cardboard to the frame. 

Hand putting book page over back of frame

Turn back over and display!

Acorn cap frame with leaf held in front of holiday tree

More Fun Rustic Crafts

I have always been a fan of the rustic look on home decor.  If you like that style as much as I do, then you will adore some or all of the projects below.  From simple upcycles to intricate folding of old book pages, these are fun projects to add to your home decor.  Make sure that you print, pin, or bookmark these craft ideas to make soon! 

Yield: 1

Acorn cap picture frame on white shelf

Make a simple rustic look acorn frame book page leaf decoration. A great way to use natural elements as part of fall decor.

Active Time
30 minutes

Total Time
30 minutes

Difficulty
Easy

Estimated Cost
$1

Notes

Spray the acorns with glitter paint for a sparkling look to match the glitter on the leaf.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Finished Project Gallery

Rustic picture frame on table by place settings

Display this from August to December fitting with the fall and winter decor themes easily. 

Acorn cap frame with book page and leaf inside

This can be used for any favorite photograph, quote images, or posters and not just to hold the old book page and leaf. 

Woman in pink sweater holding acorn cap frame

Spray the frame with glitter spray before placing the image inside to add sparkle for Christmas decor. 

Rustic frame with old book page and leaf on table with gift in background



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Adorable Hanging Wood Slice Owl Wood Burning Project


If you haven’t jumped onto the wood slice crafting train, now is the time.  They are such a fun little rustic item to work with, and this hanging wood slice owl is a great example of inexpensive and beautiful decor.  This is a wood-burning project, so is not intended for children to create, but is a great starter project if you are new to wood burning. 

Owl ornament leaned against wood background with fake pumpkin

Hanging Wood Slice Owl

If you’ve been looking for a simple wood-burning project as a first option, this one is a great option.  The design is simple and easy to follow.  It shows detail but isn’t so intricate you can’t manage it if you are new to wood burning. 

I’ve made these decorative owls from upcycled wood slices before, and they are adorable, but if you want something a bit fancier, then this wood-burning project is definitely a great one to start.

If you have kids who want to craft with you but you know this isn’t safe, you can set them up with this cute pine cone owl decor idea instead.  It’s a lot easier to make and they can use basic craft glue or even school glue to add the wings and eyes to this project.  

Wood themed paper behind owl ornament

What Can I Use to Make the Eyes on My Owl? 

One of my favorite things about crafting is that I can use so many different objects to make faces on my animal crafts.  This owl is no different, and in fact, is a great choice for using a variety of leftover items in your craft bin.  Below are some fun ideas that would work great for this project to make eyes and/or a face from. 

  • Bottle caps or lids.
  • Buttons.
  • Beads.
  • Play money (I had leftover fake coins from when my kids are little, spray paint and use them).
  • Foam paper felt, or construction paper circles cut and glued in place. 
  • Yarn or ribbon.
  • Stickers.

For the nose, you can use scrap fabric, felt, craft paper, foam paper, construction paper, or cardboard.  Just cut into the classic triangle beak shape and glue just below or between the eyes. 

Wood slice owl on yellow paper mat

What is the Best Way to Hang This Owl? 

Since this is a heavier item, the usual string or twine may not work well for hanging.  You also have to consider how you would attach the hook or item for hanging.  While it is a bit of an extra step, I find it is best to use a picture hanger and screw it into place on the back of the wood slice.  This gives the most secure option. 

Then, you can attach to a wall with a hook, or loop heavier string, twine, rope, or ribbon around it to hang from a  door or even the ceiling.  Just make sure whatever you use for the actual hanging is strong enough to hold the weight of the owl. 

Wood slice owl by mini fake pumpkin and pears on white table

What Glue Works Best with Wood Projects? 

If you are doing this on your own without children involved, then reach for the basic wood glue from the craft department.  It works great and is designed just for this purpose.  Other options include hot glue (as shown), E6000, craft glue, or various heavy-duty adhesives you find in hardware stores.  

The main consideration with this particular project is getting the eyes and nose in place to stay secure.  Hot glue works fine for this, but in time it may fall off as it doesn’t “grip” the wood like other glues might.  For everyday decor, it works dandy and is a good option that is affordable. 

Woman in checked shirt holding wood slice owl

Where Can I Get Wood Slices? 

The easiest and cheapest way to get these is to go outside and cut them yourself from your own trees.  However, that isn’t ideal or easy for everyone, plus you may not want to deal with the potential of bugs or similar in the bark.  So, buying packages of wood slices in your local craft store, on Etsy, or on Amazon are all good ideas.  

Wood owl ornament on top of green pumpkin

Supplies Needed

Note: you do not need an expensive wood-burning kit for this project.  This single Walnut Hollow woodburning kit has just what you need, the burner and tips.  If you want to do more, you can invest in a 72 piece woodburning kit instead.

Scissors, yellow paper, pipe cleaners, wood slice, and wood burning tool on white table

How to Make a Hanging Wood Slice Owl

Cut a small triangle from the yellow foam paper. 

Blue scissors cutting yellow paper

Glue it in place about 1 1/2″ from the top of the wood slice. 

Glue the larger buttons just above the peak. 

Then glue the smaller buttons on top of the larger ones. 

Hands holding buttons down on wood slice creating owl eyes

Using a pencil, sketch the wing shapes onto the wood slice.  Start at the center of each eye, and curve downward and to the sides.  Then sketch individual feather curves inside this field for the wing. 

Hand with pen drawing on wood slice

Using a wood-burning tool, carefully burn the wood, following the sketches you added to the wood slice. 

Wood burning tool on wood slice making owl wings

Cut four, 2″ pieces of pipe cleaner.  Wrap one around the bottom of another and curve to create feet. 

Blue scissors cutting pipe cleaners

Glue these onto the bottom back of the owl. 

Hand holding pipe cleaner feet below wooden owl

Once done, attach a length of twine or a hanger to the back of the wood slice for hanging. 

Hands attaching twine loop to wood slice

What if I Don’t Have a Wood Burner? 

If you do not have or are not comfortable with using a wood burner, that is okay.  You can achieve a similar look simply by using a dark brown marker or paint and covering the sketched wing outline instead of burning the wood.  Just start with the usual pencil sketch that can be erased easily to make it exact.  Then, follow the pencil sketch with your paint, pen, marker, or wood burner. 

Woman holding up wood slice owl ornament

More Fun Owl Crafts

Whether you want to decorate your home with a cute owl theme, need something to keep the kids busy crafting, or even need a baby shower gift, I have some great ideas below for you to consider.  Owls are always adorable, and there are many ways you can make them come to life with crafting tools.  Make sure you bookmark, pin, or print the projects below to create soon!

Yield: 1

Wood slice owl on yellow paper mat

Follow a simple tutorial to create your own beautiful hanging wood slice owl. This easy wood burning project is great for beginner wood crafters!

Active Time
30 minutes

Total Time
30 minutes

Difficulty
Medium

Estimated Cost
$2

Notes

If you don’t want to use a wood-burning tool, a pen, marker, or paint can be used to make the owls feathers.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Finished Project Gallery

Wood slice owl with twine hanger laying on wood with fall leaves

These can be made with any size wood slice, but I love the idea of using a 2″ wood slice to turn these into holiday tree ornaments or gifts!

Wood burned owl decoration on yellow paper



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Precious Upcycled Walnut Shell Mouse Craft


Have you ever seen cute little creatures made out of nuts and shells? This little walnut shell mouse is one of my favorite little projects to make. In literally just a few minutes you can have a fun little character made with natural elements and a bit of glue. While it is a kid-friendly craft, it’s ideal for anyone to make.

Hand holding walnut shell mouse

Walnut Shell Mouse

I have been experimenting with nuts for a while in crafting. My glitter acorns are a great fall craft and decor idea, but that’s not all. I’ve made a lot of cute items from pistachio shells, including this upcycled pistachio shell candle holder. You may usually just toss these into the garbage, but I have made a whole new life for them!

This little walnut shell mouse is a great addition to your fall decor, or for playtime right next to the cute pistachio shell hedgehog I made last year. These are just simple crafts that can be a part of a larger project or just a simple little mouse to tuck into the corner of a shelf for fun!

Walnut shell mouse on bed of clover

Can I Make This with Different Nuts?

Yes. If you want to use something different you have on hand, go for it! Acorns, pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, and more can be trimmed or cracked to use for a little mouse creature. You just need a flat bottom and rounded top to add with your other items to create the look of a mouse.

Walnut mouse on yellow paper next to paper flowers

What Can This Be Used For?

Looking at this, you may think there really isn’t much it can be used for, but you are wrong! It’s such a cool little small craft that can be incorporated into many things in your home. Below are some of my favorite ideas for this little mouse.

  • Add to one of these fairy gardens as the main resident or just an extra creature.
  • Tuck into this fairy house made from a soap bottle.
  • Use in a mantle decoration alongside these farmhouse style fall lettered mason jars or even next to a bouquet of these fall roses made from leaves.
  • Make for your kids to use during pretend to play with their other dolls and action figures.
  • Use as part of a homeschool lesson on small rodents.
  • Read Stuart Little to your kids and use this as a prop to move around and play with while they listen to the story.
  • Put next to this rustic foam hedgehog to create a woodland creature display or diorama.

Hellow autumn written on yellow paper next to walnut mouse

How Can I Customize My Walnut Shell Mouse?

Does your child like to make things their own with unique looks and styles? If so, they may want to do something a bit different when making this little mouse. Below are some great ideas that add an extra look to the mouse for fun.

  • Use googly eyes instead of a marker.
  • Add buttons for the ears.
  • Paint or spray it all with a different color.
  • Add some glitter for sparkle.
  • Use a sparkly or glitter pipe cleaner for the tail.
  • Add sequins all over the shell to make it look like it’s wearing an evening gown.
  • Add a hat for a boy mouse or a pink bow for a girl mouse.

Walnut mouse on green leaves

What Glue Can I Use that is Safe for Kids?

I typically use hot glue for projects because it is convenient, inexpensive, and I know it will stick for a long time. If you are making these with kids, you’ll want to reach for a quality non-toxic craft glue or school glue. These will work but may take longer to dry and are not as strong so you may find a mouse without an ear within a few weeks where hot glue would keep for years.

Hello autumn sign with fake mouse above message

Supplies Needed

Blue felt, scissors, walnut shells, and marker on white table

How to Make a Walnut Shell Mouse

On a light-colored piece of felt, trace and cut out two small ovals (1/4″) to create ears for your mouse. Then cut a 4″ to 6″ length of pipe cleaner.

Scissors cutting blue wire

Glue the two ovals on the “front” of the walnut shell to create the ears.

Hands gluing blue ears onto walnut shell

Twist the pipe cleaner a little to give it a “wave” then glue it on the underside of the walnut shell opposite where you glued the ears.

Hand holding down walnut shell mouse

Use a fine-tipped black marker (Sharpie), to color a dot on the very pointed end of the shell to create a nose.

Then, add two small dots just below the ears for the eyes.

Hand drawing on walnut shell with marker

Display or use alongside

Womans hands holding a walnut shell mouse

More Fall Kids Crafts

I love crafting with the kids. It’s always so much fun to see what they create, and even to watch their pride when they make something beautiful. Below are some more fun ideas to make with kids of all ages. These are themed for the autumn season, but many could be made any time of the year. Bookmark, print, or pin these crafts to make soon!

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Walnut shell mouse on yellow paper with fake leaves and fake flower

Turn a walnut shell into an adorable little mouse using just a few supplies and a bit of glue! A great project for kids to make!

Active Time
5 minutes

Total Time
5 minutes

Difficulty
Easy

Estimated Cost
$0

Materials

  • Walnut shell
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Felt
  • Black marker

Tools

  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue stick

Instructions

  1. On a light-colored piece of felt, trace and cut out two small ovals (1/4″) to create ears for your mouse.
  2. Glue the two ovals on the “front” of the walnut shell to create the ears. 
  3. Twist the pipe cleaner a little to give it a “wave” then glue it on the underside of the walnut shell opposite where you glued the ears. Hand holding down walnut shell mouse
  4. Use a fine-tipped black marker (Sharpie), to color a dot on the very pointed end of the shell to create a nose. 
  5. Then, add two small dots just below the ears for the eyes. 
  6. Display or use alongside your favorite fall diorama. Walnut mouse on fall scrapbook paper

Finished Project Gallery

Walnut shell mouse on top of fall fabric

This is a perfect idea to use with kids for learning about woodland creatures!

Walnut mouse on yellow paper next to paper flowers

Add a bit of glitter to them to make them sparkle!

Walnut shell mouse on fall themed scrapbook paper



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Easy DIY Chestnut Bat Kids Halloween Craft


Looking for an adorable and simple Halloween craft idea? These chestnut bat kids Halloween craft is super easy to make. Using a few basic materials, kids can create these bats to hang around the house as a fun hands-on decoration. Simple to make, inexpensive too, these bats are cute but not spooky Halloween decorations!

Yellow paper with black word Halloween holding bat decoration

Chestnut Bat Kids Halloween Craft

Making this little bat idea is easy and does not take a lot of time or materials. Kids will love being able to create these bats and then display them for everyone to see. With mostly household materials, kids will be able to make a cauldron (large group) of bats.

What is great about these bats is that there is almost nothing to buy. With the exception of the chestnuts, most people have enough of the materials or at least something that they can use, to make the bats already on hand. For many people, even the chestnuts are on hand. If you have to buy a bag, now you have a delicious treat to snack on while crafting with the kids this Halloween.

If you like using nuts or shells to craft with, you will love this rustic fall wreath. It’s beautiful and so easy to make!  You can also make these cute glitter acorns and add them to a bowl of fall potpourri for a sparkle and fun addition to your decor. 

Black bat craft laying on blue paper with fake pumpkins

Can I Use a Different Nut Other than Chestnuts?

You don’t have to use a chestnut to make these bats. It is important to use something that has a smooth surface, like a pecan. The smooth surface allows the body of the bat to look natural as well as makes it easy for the materials to stick to the shell.

Some ideas include hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, acorns, pecans, and of course, you can use things like painted bottle caps and similar if you prefer.  It doesn’t have to be made with a nut for the head if you don’t want to do that.  We’ve even used an upcycled plastic spoon bat as a decoration!  The possibilities are endless. 

Halloween background with chestnut bat in foreground on table

What Other Ways Can I Make the Wings?

If you want to make their wings out of something other than what I used, you can use pretty much anything you can cut into shape. Below are a few ideas that could work for this project.  Many of these items already come in black or could easily be painted black. 

  • Foam paper or craft foam
  • Paper plates
  • Cardboard
  • Posterboard
  • Cardstock
  • Fabric with starch or Mod Podge to stiffen 

Crafted bat on top of blue scrapbook Halloween paper background

What Should I Use to Make the Face on My Bat?

The face is key to the cuteness of this bat kids Halloween craft. So you want to make sure it looks great.  A paint pen is super handy and what I used, but you can grab whatever you have on hand and create your own little smiling or frowning bat face. 

You can use something as simple as googly eyes to make the face. Another option that is a bit messier is to use paint, with a paint brush, or you can use a paint pen as I did.

Depending upon the surface, you can use a permanent marker for this face. In addition to these suggestions, you can also use things that you have laying around like felt, yarn, and buttons. It is fun look around the house and get creative.

Purple halloween background under crafted chestnut bat

How Should I Hang This Bat?

This bat kids Halloween craft is so cute once it is hung and displayed. Hanging them can be super easy with just a few things.  You’ll want to decide if it should be sitting upright (for hanging on a wall or wreath)or with the face looking out or down (for hanging from the ceiling).  Once that is decided, you can attach one of the ideas below to create a way of hanging this from the wall or ceiling. 

  • Fishing line
  • Twine
  • Rope
  • Ribbon
  • Ornament hook
  • Command hook
  • Pushpin or thumbtack

Woman holding chestnut bat in hands

Will the Chestnut Go Bad?

Chestnuts can go bad after they have reached a certain age. While they may last for a considerable amount of time, they can also begin rotting fairly quickly depending upon location, openings in the nut, etc. 

That is the case with these little chestnut bats.  While it is special to keep the crafts that your kids create, since these chestnuts will go bad, you do not want to keep this one. It is best to throw away the chestnut bats after the Halloween decorations are taken down.

Black craft bat on white table

Supplies Needed

Black paper chestnut scissors and pen on white table

How to Make a Bat Out of Chestnuts

On a piece of black craft paper, trace the scalloped-edged batwing shape.  

Hand in yellow shirt drawing on black paper

Cut out one wing, then use it as a template to trace a matching second wing.  Set these aside. 

Cutting bat wings out of black paper using blue scissors

Using the same piece of paper, cut out two small triangles and set them aside. 

Tiny black triangles of paper on white table

On the center of a chestnut, use a white paint pen to draw a smile with two dots for fangs on the bottom and a small dot just above for the nose. 

Hand drawing face on chestnut with white pen

Using hot glue, attach the googly eyes just above the white nose. 

Woman holding chestnut with face painted on it

Fold over the bottom (not pointed) end of the triangles so you have a very small “lip”.  Glue these to the top of the chestnut with hot glue or craft glue. 

Hand gluing ears on top of chestnut to make bat

Fold the two wings in half at the same point to create “movement” of the wings.  Then, on the very edge of the widest part, fold over a small piece to create a “lip” for attaching to the chestnut. 

Hand folding black wing to attach to chestnut

Glue the wings in place on either side of the face. 

Hand holding paper wing against chestnut bat face

If hanging the bat, attach a hook using hot glue. 

Display your bat for your Halloween party!

Chestnut bat in hands

More Easy Halloween Crafts

One of my favorite seasons to decorate for has to be Halloween.  So many adorable little ideas that are fun for kids, and of course, plenty of spooky things for the adults.  Below are some of my favorites for you to make this year!

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Halloween bat decoration on blue table

Grab a few simple supplies to make this adorable and easy DIY chestnut bat. The perfect kids’ Halloween craft!

Active Time
10 minutes

Total Time
10 minutes

Difficulty
Easy

Estimated Cost
$1

Notes

Hang the bat from the ceiling as a fun new Halloween decoration.

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Make a bunch of these and string along the mantle for a fun garland. 

Chestnut bat laying on yellow and black halloween paper

They also make great toppers for gifts around Halloween! 

Bat decoration laying on top of purple scrapbook paper



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