Quick and easy fall craft (plus a stain and poly comparison video)

My fall craft mojo has kicked into full gear, mostly because I took a run today that was so freakin’ hot I truly thought I was going to melt into a puddle of my own sweat. Yep. I am now officially ready for cooler weather.

Today I wanted to share with you a simple and inexpensive fall craft you can complete in one toddler nap time. True story.


Supplies you’ll need for this project:

  • Wooden frame (Mine is a Crates and Pallet version – available at Home Depot – but you could use any leftover frame you have on hand, provided it still has its cardboard backing intact.)
  • Chalkboard spray paint 
  • Wood stain in a cherry finish
  • Chalk and chalk markers
  • Regular printer paper
  • Polyurethane to seal the frame (optional)

Below are the step-by-step instructions and a quick video* that shows exactly how I made this craft project. I also include in the video a demonstration comparing a few different stains and polyurethanes.

Step 1: Stain the frame.

Step 2: Spray the frame’s cardboard backing with a coat of chalkboard paint.

Step 3: While the frame and cardboard dry, design and print out the words for your art on regular printer paper. I created my design in a simple Word document.

Step 4: Take a piece of regular chalk and rub it onto the back of all your paper printouts.

Step 5: Position the paper printouts onto the chalkboard-painted cardboard (make sure the paint is dry first).

Step 6: Take a blunt pencil and trace the outline of your printed words. (This will transfer a faint chalk “carbon copy” onto the cardboard. You can see another example of this method here.)

Step 7: Fill in the chalk outline using chalk markers of your choice. Done!

Have you done any fall crafting yet?

*Special thanks to Rust-Oleum for sponsoring the video featured in this post and to Crates and Pallet for providing the frame used for this craft project. 

Stained washcloth crate with DIY metal tag

In one afternoon recently, I transformed this small, unfinished crate (from Crates and Pallet, available at Home Depot) into this washcloth holder for our master bathroom using some stain and sheet metal.


To replicate this project, check out the steps below.

Step 1: Apply a coat of Varathane® water-based wood stain in Worn Navy to any unfinished crate.


This stain dries in one hour and cleans up with soap and water, which means there is now hope for finishing a project during my toddler’s nap time. 🙂


Step 2: Apply a coat of Varathane Antique White stain over the navy color, using a piece of steel wool to rub it into the grain to create an aged finish. Wipe off any excess.


Step 3: After the stain dries, seal the crate with a coat of polyurethane. I like Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane. I used the satin finish for this project.

Step 4: While your poly is drying, trace an oval shape onto a piece of thin sheet metal. You’ll want to keep the shape rounded to avoid any sharp corners.

Sheet-metal-labelStep 5: Cut out the shape using a pair of tin snips. I bought mine for about $10 at Home Depot.


Step 6: Label the cutout using a hammer and letter stamp punch set. I used this one.*

Step 7: Attach your label to the crate with tiny screws or brads. Done! 



What do you think of my new washcloth crate?

Special thanks to Rust-Oleum for providing the Varathane products needed to complete this project. As always, all thoughts, opinions and projects are 100 percent mine.

*This is an affliate link. Purchasing through this link won’t cost you anything additional, but a small portion will come back to Living Rich on Less, helping me continue to provide great, free content to you. Thanks in advance for your support!