Go for the Gold with Your Fall DIY Projects: Frames + Nature = Autumn Art

Brightly welcome the fall season by creating shimmering art pieces with Goodwill frames, acorns, leaves, and gold paint.  

This simple and seasonal DIY project is good for both Mother Nature and your soul when you make mini gold masterpieces to display or share.  


1. It is good for the earth because it keeps used picture frames out of landfills by repurposing them.

2. It celebrates the beauty of nature by showcasing Mother Nature’s magical creations in a sparkling manner. 

3.  It gets you and your family and friends outdoors in the fresh air and away from your screens as you hunt for oak leaves and acorns to transform. 

1.      Find your good–in the form of frames–at Goodwill

A staple at every Goodwill store is the collection of picture frames for sale.

This is good news as it means you’ll have a plethora of options for this artsy Autumn activity. 

Be on the lookout for solid wood frames with a flat surface and simple design.  You will be excited by the many options and their prices—all those featured here were only a buck each!

2.      Careful deconstruction is critical

At your workspace, take apart each frame.  Remove its backing and glass, as well as any screws or hinges.  The frame glass can be very sharp, so consider wearing work gloves.  Place all pieces aside, as they could be used for other yet-to-be-determined DIY projects. 

If you are doing this project with little ones (always a great idea), then tackle this step yourself and give only the leftover frame to your young project partner.

3.      Secure on the season

Go through your gathered leaves and acorns to determine which will be reused in this creative manner.  Position them on your frame along its front edge; with a thicker, boxier frame, you could use its inside frame surface almost as a little ledge.  Use your glue gun to adhere these items in place. 

4.      Grab the gold and go for it

Place your leaf and acorn-accented frames on your drop cloth, ideally outside, to enjoy the cooler weather.  Spray on bright gold paint all over each piece and work to get its edges and sides.  Let your pieces dry for a good bit, then pick each one up, holding it as you apply more paint to ensure you get all parts of the leaves and frame.  If possible, allow your now gold-covered pieces to dry completely before moving them. 

Expert Tip:

If you are like me, you get very excited about your projects and want to move on to the next step before your paint dries all the way.  I did so again with this project resulting in fingerprints on the shiny gold surface.  If that happens to you, too, then simply spritz on a quick light layer over the finger-printed section.  And then, take a breath, be patient, and give it time to dry well!

5.      Add wire and ribbon to hold them up

Your Autumn art pieces will need something to hold them up when displayed.  Thin copper wire was stapled to the frame’s back and then tied into place.  Gold, brown, or a dark green ribbon would work well, too, as would twine.  Simply cut a piece, loop it around, and secure it with your staple gun; you could also use your glue gun to adhere to these hangers.

6.      Show off your seasonal spirit with shimmery shine

Place one of these eye-catching and sparkling art pieces on your front door to welcome family, guests, and your mailman as they come and go.  Set them with other warm-toned pieces to create a fabulous Fall vignette.  Group them together for a collection of creations certain to attract attention all year long. 

Share and show us your Autumn art pieces inspired by this blog, as we love to see how you take our ideas and make them your own.  And Happy Almost Autumn to All!

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Tim Kime

Artist, Motivational Speaker, Life Coach

Tim Kime is an artist, life coach, and connector. He is the President of Kime Leadership Associates, offering executive coaching, meeting facilitating, and motivational speaking. He is also the Chief Creative Force of Transformation Junkies which upcycles furniture and other household items into functional works of art. He combined his two passions—unleashing the potential in people and transforming items with the launch of the Art of Possibilities Workshops. These workshops are part upcycling, part dreaming, and part goal setting.