Overwhelmed with Thanksgiving dinner preparations? Get a head start by making delicious and easy appetizer recipes now. By doing a little cooking ahead of time, you can avoid the hassle on Thanksgiving Day. Our make-ahead appetizers include recipes that can be prepared the day before or up to six months ahead of the holiday.View Slideshow
We gathered our favorite bloggers to share their fall mantel decorating ideas. These real-home projects are full of creative craft ideas and plenty of autumn abundance.
Delicate paper flowers star in Valerie's (homemademodern.blogspot.com) mantel. She cut petals from brown paper bags and arranged them in flower shapes. Creasing the petals is crucial, she says. "It gives the flowers dimension." Salvaged and backyard items make up the rest of Valerie's mantel. Using the natural elments available during fall is an easy way to celebrate the season.
Check out Barbara's (justasmidgen.com) take on seasonal candles. She achieved picturesque rustic appeal by wrapping a store-bought candle with pretty birch bark and finishing it with leather string. A bunch of these dotting a holiday-theme mantel would feel cozy and bright.
Shannon (madiganmade.com) got extra crafty with her DIY mantel display by propping spray-painted pumpkins next to a (surprise!) plastic foam sign. The gray "boards" are painted and cut plastic foam sheets; the pumpkin on it is, too. Her pretty cursive is on display at the top, expressing her feelings for the season.
Just press "play" for three pretty, simple ways to decorate your fall mantel.
Haley (thebridelink.com) proves that Mason jar lids are good for far more than keeping your jams fresh. She tied a bunch of lids together in the center using twine, fanned them out, and set it down on her mantel. Some pretty raffia tied to a cinnamon stick provides the pumpkin's stem.
When in doubt about how to decorate for the fall, simply turn to Mother Nature. Deborah (mylifeatplaytime.com) pulled together a nearly effortless mantel swag by stringing painted pinecones onto twine. She painted just the tips of the pinecone for a hint of color and tied the twine around each pinecone top to avoid slipping.
Fall doesn't have to look rustic. Emily from decorchick.com followed her penchant for panache and added rich metallic touches throughout her fall mantel. A bold circular mirror anchors the arrangement, and vibrant berry-filled vases create balance. Underneath, Emily filled an antique dough bowl with shimmering pumpkins and gourds. To add glam to a pair of woodland owls, Emily spray-painted them gold.
Blogger tip: If you switch your mantel decor often, don't be afraid to borrow from other seasons. The gold-bead garland and copper pinecone ornaments Emily hung from the mantel are Christmas finds repurposed for fall.
For many people, giving thanks is a big part of fall. Courtney (adiamondinthestuff.com) spoke to Thanksgiving with her warm gratitude-theme mantel. Layered frames and a wheat arrangement add height and depth, while white touches guide the eye across the mantel. Stencils came in handy for the lettering on her burlap banner and painted pumpkins.
Myra (myblessedlife.net) took a more-is-more approach to her fall mantel. "I love to layer items for the biggest impact," she says. An antique stove board creates a rustic backdrop for other fall elements. Myra hung her DIY burlap-and-lace wreath from a gilded frame. Make your own wreath by wrapping 1/2 yard of burlap around an 18-inch straw wreath. Add ruffles or rosettes with a glue gun to mix up the colors and textures.
An oak-leaf swag adds warmth and charm to Brittany's (prettyhandygirl.com) fall mantel. Brittany used an antique dictionary with weathered pages for vintage-looking oak leaves. She cut the leaves freehand for a natural feel. She attached pinecones to the garland hooks with floral wire to complete the woodsy look.
Brighten up your fall mantel by complementing shades of orange with bold turquoise, a la Emily from 52mantels.com. Dollar-store pumpkins become cute photo holders with spray paint and twisted floral wire. Emily made the reusable banner by cutting out pieces of burlap and adding adhesive chalkboard labels. Clothespins let you add or take away pieces, depending on the message you want to send. A reclaimed window frame, transformed with festive fabric, makes a bold backdrop.
Jessie (dreamanddiffer.blogspot.com) wanted her mantel to feel like a celebration of autumn's abundance. Natural elements, faux pumpkins, and twine-wrapped candles create a cozy, autumnal arrangement. To put her family's stamp on the mantel, Jessie lined a bargain frame with burlap and adhered a wooden monogram to it.
Blogger tip: Two garlands are better than one. Jessie wound two faux-gourd garlands together for a more lush look.
Kate (chiconashoestringdecorating.blogspot.com) anchored her classic fall mantel with a dramatic mirror and a DIY burlap wreath. "I love working with burlap because it is versatile and cheap," she says. Even better? The fall flowers are removable, making the rustic wreath appropriate for multiple seasons. You can make a wreath by looping burlap ribbon through a wire wreath frame, creating a lush, 3D look. Kate finished off her mantel with burlap-wrapped pumpkins and subtly colored natural finds.
Burlap and harvest colors make a statement on Courtney's (athoughtfulplaceblog.com) mantel. She made the garland by cutting six triangles from a piece of burlap and adhering them to a length of wide ribbon using hot glue. She added monogram wine charms to the burlap to spell "gather," threading the metal rings through the burlap. Courtney made over a vase with a coat of chalkboard spray paint and a welcoming fall message. She finished the look by draping a strand of faux leaves around a large mirror in the center of her mantel.
Holly (mysisterssuitcase.blogspot.com) used bright colors and minimal embellishments to design her fall mantel. She accented the ends of the mantel with fall-color topiaries made from mini maple-leaf swags stuck into candlesticks. Next, she transformed a clear glass jar into a rustic lantern by placing a small candle and a mix of cinnamon and bamboo sticks inside. To make her no-sew pennant, cut kite-shape pieces from double-sided fabric and fold over the top half. Iron the triangle flaps in place, and adhere a button to each triangle with a dab of hot glue. String the triangles through a length of jute twine, using another dab of hot glue to secure. Finish the mantel's symmetrical and colorful look by adding a row of bright green Granny Smith apples across the top.
Courtenay (creeklinehouse.blogspot.com) decorated her mantel for fall with a mix of natural and store-bought elements. She found a goose weathervane on the property when she moved into her home and sprayed it with a clear coat to use as part of the display. She purchased the white pumpkins from a crafts store, spray-painted them ivory, and wrapped the stems with brown yarn. She gathered sticks from her backyard, added them to a Mason jar, and scattered maple leaves in various colors along the display. Her garland is made from real leaves glued to a length of twine, keeping the look simple and natural.
Jo-Anna (aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com) likes to keep her mantel decorating simple; when putting together her display, she used fall colors and earthy accents. Pumpkin-color accents brighten up an arrangement of birch logs. To give the mantel a warm glow, she fashioned tea-light candleholders from Mason jars.
Alyssa (everythinghasaplace.blogspot.com) looks for trends in color, texture, and shape when putting together her mantel displays -- then gathers various elements from her home, her garden, and crafts stores. Two white pumpkins anchor the ends of her mantel, and grapevine pumpkins sit atop painted wooden candlesticks to give the display height. Alyssa used candleholders to prop up metallic pumpkins and finished things off with a fall garland.
Rachael (rmhouseofnoise.blogspot.com) used several bunches of colorful fabric leaves to create a garland for her simple fall mantel. She cut the stems off and threaded the leaves together using twine and a large needle. Once her garland was hung, she added a few more formal accent pieces.
To get inspiration and materials for a fall mantel, Kate (centsationalgirl.com) suggests going on a nature walk. Pick up branch clippings, pinecones, acorns, and smooth stones, and give them a home on your mantel.
Blogger tip: A complementary display on a coffee table is an easy way to carry on the fall theme.
Incorporate your family into your fall mantel by using pictures of their silhouettes. Simply trace their shadows onto black cardstock, trim, and place in an oversize frame. Kellie (nestofposies-blog.com) painted her frame gray and added a hint of pumpkin color. She also covered a foam board with several sheets of scrapbook paper before adding the silhouettes. Painted pumpkins finish her autumn theme.
A few mini pumpkins and a glass container filled with seedpod vase-filler and faux leaves can give your house the autumn touches it needs. Displayed above the collection, a striking black mirror instantly sets the fall mood. Meghan (littlemacshack.blogspot.com) recommends using items on your mantel that are meaningful to you. Her Shel Silverstein books are constants through every season.
Simple and fun crafts can make your mantel look great. Re-create Gail's (gailsdecorativetouch.blogspot.com) pumpkin topiary by applying crackle medium to a fake pumpkin. Let it dry and paint it white. Insert pretty faux greens into an urn, and display the pumpkin using a wooden dowel.