Fall Crafts For The Elderly

Pumpkin character craft

This section on fall crafts for the elderly has a variety of projects for various ability levels. So they're perfect for your senior activities calendar. Art supplies for these crafts can be very affordable too.

You can modify projects to suit your needs, and provide a little help as required. You can also ask family, friends, members, and people you know to donate items they don’t want.

I show some crafts right on this page, as well as link you to other pages for complete instructions. Many of these are also wonderful gifts you can make.

Any of these projects may also give you ideas that you can use for other holidays and seasons as well, with just a few changes. (And be sure to see our page on Easy Halloween Crafts).


Our Easy Fall Crafts for the Elderly


Pine Cone Hanger

fall craft pinecones

Perfect for hanging on a door, on the wall, or in a window. Fall crafts for the elderly that involve items from nature also offer an excellent excuse for going out doors and collecting, as able. If you are not near a pine cone area, find them in thrift stores, garage sales, craft stores, or donated by others.

You Will Need:
2 (or 3) pine cones in different sizes (with stems on top)
Dried plant, pod, flower, etc.
Decorative fall ribbon
Cord, yard, thread for hanging
Scissors
Glue gun, Tacky Glue, or strong craft glue
Thumb tack or push pin, as needed

Depending on the ability of your group, fall crafts for the elderly may require a little help with some steps.

First, cut a length of string, yarn or cord to hang the pine cones. I had some glittery gold string. The length should be long enough to run from the bottom cone, up the back of the larger cone, and then plenty of room on top for tying a loop for hanging.  I cut 18 inches of string.

Tie the bottom of the string around the stem of the lower pine cone. Or attach it with a thumb tack or strong glue if needed. Run the string up the back of the larger pine cone, then tie it around its stem. Put a dab of glue around the knots to keep them secure. Dry. Lastly, tie a loop at the top of your string for hanging.

Now cut a generous length of decorative ribbon and tie it around the string at the top of the pine cone. Or around the pine cone itself. It depends on the type of cone you have. I inserted a dried flower pod from a Day Lily (which I use a lot in fall crafts for the elderly) into the bow.

Pine Cone Napkin Tie

fall craft pinecone napkin ring

If you need decorations for a special party, luncheon or dinner, why not do some fall crafts of the elderly to help make them.

You Will Need:
Napkin in fall colors
Decorative fall ribbon
Pinecone with stem on top
Cord, string, narrow ribbon, or yarn
Dried pod, plant or flower
Tacky Glue or other strong glue

First I tie string or cord on the stem of the pine cone and make a loop. Use an optional dab of glue to secure it to the pine cone. Let the glue dry.

Cut a length of decorative fall ribbon at least 18 inches long. Slide the ribbon through the loop on your pine cone. Tie the ribbon in a bow around the napkin, arranging the pine cone so it hangs in front. Now just slip a dried flower or pod into the ribbon at the top. Finished!

See a few more pinecone crafts at this link.


Easy Gourd Ghost

These cute ghosts are versatile and very easy to make. We show one here with a simple paper napkin, but you can also make it fancier by using a square of white lace instead. We show that sample on another page at the link below.

You could also use a nice cloth napkin, satin fabric, whatever you have. It is put together in a very simple way, so these make excellent fall crafts for the elderly. Take a look at the details on our page about gourd craft ideas.

Pumpkin Guy (or Gal)

fall craft painted pumpkin face

Using pumpkins is popular with fall crafts for the elderly – they’re not just for Halloween!

This sample, as also seen on top, shows a pumpkin guy, but you can easily make a gal too. (Also see more ideas on this special page for painting pumpkins.)

You Will Need:
Pumpkin, or a smaller orange squash
Acrylic paints – I used black, red, white, blue
Black fine-tip marker
Spanish moss (craft store) for hair…or…
…Curly ribbon, fake fur, doll wig, etc.
Paint brush, water container
Plastic picnic plate for palette
Tacky Glue or other strong glue
Optional: pins with round heads
Stand for pumpkin (i.e. small dish or jar cap)
Bow tie or other accessory

First paint a simple face on the pumpkin. I find acrylics to be easiest. You can squirt them onto a small plastic picnic plate, as a palette.

My sample includes just several ovals and circles for the eyes and cheeks, along with curvy lines (made with a black marker) for the smile and eyebrows. Let the paint dry.

Attach the hair around the pumpkin stem, which will help hold it on. I used a wad of Spanish moss from the craft store. Put several dabs of glue on the top of the head, then press the hair into place. You can also use long, round-tipped pins to help hold the hair on, if needed.

Place the pumpkin on its stand. I like using small plastic dishes. A cap to a bottle or jar works too, if the pumpkin is not too large. Lastly, attach an old bow tie (or regular tie, which will drape out onto the table).

Humorous or wild printed ties look great with these characters. If you do not have access to a tie, try a thrift store or garage sale. Or you can cut the collar off an old shirt. You may have other ideas. Now he’s ready to dress up a table or mantle.

For A Girl – Use more Spanish moss for hair, tumbling down the sides of the head. Top it with a bunch of curly ribbon or a bow. You can also paint the cheeks and mouth pink instead of red, and put eyelashes on the corners of the eyes. Tie a scarf or ribbon around its stand to decorate. Or even an old necklace or bracelet.

Autumn Ornament

fall craft ornament

One of your fall crafts for the elderly can be making ornaments. And this one is made from an old Christmas ornament, painted orange, decorated with a piece of metallic garland.

They can hang on an old tree branch standing in a small pail or container full of rocks to prop it upright. Or hang them in windows or on a door. These also would look cute with a table place setting, tied around a napkin.

My sample consists of just a couple curved lines for branches, and a few leaves coming off of them. See our leaf template page if you need an idea. Otherwise, just think of leaves as a long football shape.

You Will Need:
Any plain round ornament – to be painted …or
…a gold ornament (which can be used unpainted)
Acrylic paints (i.e., orange yellow, black, brown)
Black fine-tip marker (optional)
Small piece of sponge, about 1 inch square
Water container
Coiled foil metallic garland, craft store
Artificial leaf, or dried flower or pod
Cord, string, yarn for hanger

If you have a gold-colored ornament, you don’t really need to paint it. They look nice as is. If you want to paint your ornament orange, I find sponge painting is very easy and fast.

Hold the ornament by its top hanger. Just dampen your piece of sponge, dab it in some paint, and then dab the paint onto your ball, until covered. Let it dry. I set it in a bottle cap as a stand for drying. You can also hang them (using a paper clip is easy).

painted ornament  craft for fall

Now it’s time for the leaves. You can keep it simple and paint only one branch and just a few leaves, or a fancier design as in my sample. First, use either a marker or black paint to create jagged branches coming down in a curve from the top of the ball. Dry.

An easy technique for leaves in fall crafts for the elderly is just using a simple football shape. You can also make them a little jagged on the edges if you’d like. Paint several leaf sizes on the branches.

If you want different leaf colors, as I did, you can mix colors together to achieve the various shades of oranges and browns.

When dry, tie a cord onto the ornament, making a loop on top to hang it with. I bought a coiled metallic foil garland at the craft store (I love those for any holiday!) and snipped off a piece to insert into the ornament hanger. I also inserted a small artificial leaf. And that’s it!

Painted Clay Pot

painted clay pot craft for fall

Painted terra cotta clay pots make perfect fall crafts for the elderly. Their natural orange color fits well with the season. After you paint them they can be used for all sorts of things. I put a fall arrangement in mine (with stuff from my yard, friends, or the thrift store).

But you can also sit a candy dish on the top, or even stand a pillar candle inside. They also look great sitting within a grapevine wreath. (See more pot samples on the Painting Clay Pots page).

You Will Need:
Clay pot, preferably with tray
Acrylic paints, colors of your choice
…I used tan and dark brown
Water container, and plastic plate for palette
Paint brushes (flat tip, and pointed)
Stuff to put inside

I used a very easy design for this. It’s just a painted tan circle for the moon. Then lines of different heights for the stems of the cattails. The cattail tips are simply long ovals. Then a few slender leaves.

To decorate the tray, I used a flat-tipped paint brush and made short vertical strokes around the edge. You could also paint the rims, both on the pot and its tray.

Lastly, fill the pot with your “stuff” – foliage, candle, candy dish, etc. They make really nice centerpieces or decorations for the middle of a large serving tray. And they’re also nice gifts.

Colorful Corn Decorations

Colorful corn on the cob (a.k.a. “Indian Corn”) decorations are among the easiest fall crafts for the elderly. This corn is available at the end of summer and in the fall. Tie two or three pieces of corn around the husks with a little decorative ribbon.

You can also hang a bangle or bead, or slide a dried flower into the bow. Or use 3D squirt paint to make faces (see sample below). Colored corn is wonderful to use to decorate a party area or home.


Autumn S'mores

gourmet s'more

Fun food items make easy fall crafts for the elderly. In this case, microwaved S’mores with a little pizzazz. Many of the ingredients can be found sugar-free. I like to use graham crackers sweetened with honey from the health food store or aisle.

You Will Need:
Graham crackers
Chocolate bars (try sugar-free)
Marshmallows
Red and yellow food coloring
Sprinkles
Colored toothpick (optional)
Candy for top

I only use one layer of graham crackers for these. First, in a small dish, mix a several drops of yellow food coloring with a couple drops of red. Stir until orange. Put a cracker on a plate, or several on a platter. Add a square of chocolate.

The marshmallow only needs microwaved for 7 to 10 seconds. This will also depend on if you’re doing several at a time. They’ll puff up, and then deflate when you take them out.

Put a melted mallow on the cracker with chocolate. Drizzle in a little bit of your orange food coloring, and gently swirl it with a tooth pick. Add sprinkles and a toothpick with candy to the top. And you have instant party snacks.

Also see our page on How To Make Smores The Gourmet Way. You may get more some more gourmet foody fall crafts for the elderly on that page.


Halloween Crafts

To go along with our fall crafts for the elderly, we have a page just for easy Halloween crafts, whether whimsical or elegant. You may also get ideas of your own, and also find ways to use the basic concepts for other holidays and seasons year round.

These crafts can also be modified according to the person or group you are working with, and you can always give extra help. Halloween crafts, of course, are also fun to do with kids!

Gourd Crafts

Be sure to see our fun and easy fall crafts for the elderly using gourds. I love those lumpy, bumpy kinds that seem to just turn themselves into all sorts of comical characters.

Our ideas are very easy to modify and have been used frequently with dementia patients as well. We have several simple samples on the Gourd Craft Ideas page.

Apple Crafts

If you haven’t yet seen our page on apple craft projects, you may find several ideas for fall crafts for the elderly. The dried apple wreath is very popular, as is the apple candle holder. And something unique is painting an apple, with an opaque white marker.

(There are also a couple of items on this page with which some people might need a little help).


Apple Wreaths

Also on the apple craft page we have a very easy project for making a wreath out of dried apples. We show a couple of different ways to make these.

Follow the link above to learn how to make these easy fall crafts for the elderly.

You can also change out the decorations to make it a wreath for Christmas or even for the Fourth of July.

Painting Glass

If your loved one or group is able to paint on glass, we have some excellent ideas, including fall crafts for the elderly, on our page all about painting glass. The lovely autumn leaf wine glass is pictured here.

But painting a vase or bowl is very easy too. Use designs such as the fall leaves, a moon with cattails, or simple flowers in fall colors. Get all the instructions on our page called How To Paint Glass.

Traditional Apple Doll

If you are looking for fall crafts for the elderly that are a little fancier and challenging, try making a traditional apple doll. Nowadays with microwaves, these are easier than ever. They do require a time period of about 2 weeks, to allow for drying the apple(s).

These dolls are still quite easy to make, although those with limitations may need extra help. But the results are worth it! You can decorate them for any season or holiday, and with a favorite accessory too. See exactly what to do on our apple doll page.

Traditional Cornhusk Doll

Other fancy fall crafts for the elderly involve making the traditional cornhusk doll. Again, this project includes steps with which an elderly person may need a little help.

It will most likely need to be done in a couple of sessions. My son actually made this doll for me when he was about age 10. (With a little help from his teacher). So they do make great gifts.

Also see:

Fun Fall Senior Activities - by the Month. Loads of ideas for September, October, November; complete with special monthly commemorations and specific calendar dates. Some quite unusual!
Easy Food Activities – More fun with food. See how some of these can be used as fall crafts for the elderly too.

Be sure to think ahead for Christmas! See lots of simple Christmas crafts...


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