Eco-Friendly Autumnal Crafts Using Things From My Garden

You'll be amazed at the natural craft supplies a garden or rural yard can yield.

making a willow basket
A farmer makes a willow basket.

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Autumn is a time of abundance on my property—and not just in terms of food. One thing that I like to do is think about how to use natural materials from my garden for a range of autumnal crafts. Today I would like to share some of the projects I will take on this season, in order to help others see the fun versatility offered by natural resources and how they can enrich lives and homes.

Basketry Using Dried Grasses and Nettle Fibers

Over the summer and in early autumn, I collect dried grasses and nettle fibers. I have written before about how I use nettle fibers to make a rustic garden twine that can be used in a huge range of ways. 

One thing that I plan to do after the main harvesting period of the forest garden is to take a little time to experiment with basketry. I plan on making a basket using the dried grasses and nettle twine. I will soak the dried grass stems and bundle them, then gently twist and coil the bundles, tying the coils together with the nettle twine.

Pruned Wood Rounds and Pyrography

decorating wood circles

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After pruning some of the fruit trees in my forest garden, one craft project that I enjoy is slicing larger pruned branches into circles and decorating these using pyrography. If you are not familiar with pyrography, this means burning designs into the wood. I have made decorations for Halloween and the festive winter season in this way. Larger wood rounds can be used to make coasters, placemats, or other items for your home. 

Whittled Wood Crafting

Pruned branches can be used to make a range of items using traditional whittling techniques. Wooden spoons and spatulas, traditional clothes pegs for hanging out laundry, tent pegs, plant markers, and more can be easily made with a little practice. I am by no means an expert in woodworking, but even if you aren't an expert in a craft, it can be fun and rewarding to give it a go. 

Beeswax-Dipped Autumn Leaves

autumn leaves display

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Another thing that I enjoy doing in autumn is preserving the beautiful colors of autumn foliage by dipping the leaves in beeswax. After dipping the colorful leaves in melted beeswax, I use them to make mobiles or wall-hangings to use as decorations in my home. Once coated, the leaves should last for several months (at least) with full vibrancy. 

Dried Flowers and Seed Heads

At this time of year, I like to collect a range of flowers and seed heads from my garden. These have a range of uses. I use dried rose petals, lavender, and rosemary, for example, in making bath bombs and other bathroom products. I use dried flowers to make seasonal wreaths and other decorative displays for my home. Dried and pressed flowers can be used decoratively and functionally in a range of crafts.

Natural Dyes and Pigments

beet juice for dye

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Autumn is also a good time to collect some materials for natural dyes and pigments. After the harvest of root crops, for example, beets can be used to yield a natural dye. Blackberries are also useful. Onion skins and other food scraps can also be used to yield natural dyes and pigments, as well as traditional dye-making plants.

Decorative Gourds and Squash

Decorating pumpkins does not need to be just for Halloween. I sometimes carve squash from my polytunnel to use as candle lanterns during the autumn and winter months. Geometric or floral carved designs turn these from a decoration for fright night into more general purpose decorations for your home. Obviously, whole squash stored for eating can also be a decorative feature in your home.

The ideas above are just a few to help you see how many crafting opportunities abound in autumn. Using materials from your garden to make useful and/or beautiful things for your home is a great way to reduce consumption and limit your reliance on damaging production systems. Once you start crafting with natural materials you will slow down and really see the beauty of the season—and have a lot of fun along the way.