The crisp, cool snap of autumn is a bracing call for Long Island crafters to roll up their sleeves. It’s a prime time for do-it-yourself projects to spruce up home décor inside and out.
"Everything in stores is so cookie-cutter," says Lorraine Austin, 57, a registered nurse in Smithtown whose DIY endeavors include trays, signs and large-scale projects like refinishing her staircase. "Making it yourself means making it personal."
The creative pastime has even more pluses. "Crafting focuses your mind," says Kathleen Cassese, 51, a day care provider in Commack. "It’s my therapy." She displays — and sells — her creative handiwork, including pumpkin wreaths constructed from kitchen splatter screens, in the Farmingdale's Crafty Corner Facebook group.
Rob Perras, 39, who works for an architectural firm, displays his work with the same Facebook group, as does his wife Jillian, a teacher. "I like to find a purpose for something instead of throwing it away," he says. His sleekly handsome wooden caddy for flowers or silverware is made from leftover pine flooring.
What fall DIY crafts projects are trendy this season? A painted scarecrow and seasonal wreath are among them. Learn how to make them and other crafts in socially distanced two- to three-hour classes. If you prefer working solo, some projects are available as at-home kits.
A CHEERY SCARECROW
The smiling scarecrow porch sign designed to welcome, not frighten, is one of the most popular projects at Board & Brush Bethpage.
Materials you need to make the scarecrow sign (or how about a vampire hanging upside down; it’s another option) are laid out at your workstation before you arrive to bring the project to life by sanding, staining, painting and distressing. "It’s like meal kits delivered to your home," says Nicole Phillips, 50, who co-owns the shop with her 23-year-old daughter Jessica. "Crafting is so relaxing. You just get in the zone."
Register in advance for "pick your project" workshops held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout each month. Cost is $68.
Details: 297 Broadway, Bethpage; 516-268-6987; boardandbrush.com/bethpage. Take-home kits available upon request for select projects.
A ‘LIVING’ LADDER
At Let’s Craft, which owner Karrie Anne Vitti, 45, describes as a "a gym for crafters for flexing creative muscles," fall colors and iconic images are celebrated in an array of workshops for signs, wreaths and home décor that run throughout the month. "Our specialty is customization and personalization," she says.
One breakout fall project is a "living" ladder to display on a table or mantel made of interchangeable wooden tiles that you paint or stain and embellish with seasonal designs — pumpkins, apples, leaves, witches, ghosts, you name it. Materials are at your workstation upon arrival. Oct. 18. Cost is $40. Day pass gym membership is $9.99.
Details: 1025 Old Country Rd., Ste. 330, Westbury; 516-206-2509; letscraft.org. Take-home kits available upon request for select projects.
A WREATH YOU’LL ADORE ON YOUR DOOR
"A wreath is a wonderful accent piece," says Julie Walter, 30, who manages Suite Pieces, a haven for crafters, furniture refinishers and shoppers. "It’s like a piece of jewelry for your home." The fact that you make it yourself adds to the welcoming allure.
One of an array of make-it-yourself projects that include plaques and signs, the Suite Pieces wreath features warm-toned beige burlap and personal touches: you choose the paint color, monogram letter and ribbon. Contact the store to arrange a one-on-one session. Cost is $69.95.
"What I love about taking a class is that I leave with finished projects," says retired teacher Bonnie Wojcik, 60, a regular at the studio’s workshops. "One of the many projects I made there was a sign with hooks for keys. Now we use it for masks."
Details: 1038 New York Ave., Huntington Station; 631-560-9759; suitepieces.com. Take-home kits available upon request for select projects.
A CHUNKY HANDMADE THROW
Charlie Brown’s pal Linus van Pelt knew it — a little blanket lends big comfort. At Nest on Main, a destination for DIY-ers and shoppers, you can make a hand-knit throw measuring 40-by-60-inches to cozy up your home. Class is held Oct. 17 and 25. Cost is $85.
"You don’t need to know how to knit for this class," says proprietor Donna Moschella, 60, whose in-person workshops resume in October after being suspended for more than five months. Tables have been added to the workspace area in the store to boost social distancing.
"We need something warm and fuzzy right about now," she says, adding that classes are all about "creating a warm and inviting sanctuary with small touches." That includes lessons to hand-paint a wooden Lazy Susan to brighten your table. Class is held Oct. 24. Cost is $75.
Details: 135 Main St., Northport; 631-651-9173; nestonmainmarket.com. Take-home kits available upon request for select projects.
A GLEAMING JACK O’LANTERN
You don’t need a pumpkin to create this whimsical wooden seasonal delight at Hammer & Stain. "It’s a popular new item for 2020," says owner Sandra Bernius, 34. There are four faces from which to choose; select when you preregister for the class to learn how to stain and assemble Jack, who will cast his LED candlelit eyes on your porch or in your kitchen to keep watch on Halloween candy. You can do this $70 project and others on Oct. 2.
Looking for a spot to store shoes, blankets or curios? Decorative ladders that you stain and paint will do the trick. Learn how to make one on Oct. 9. Cost is $65-$80.
Details: 15 Main St., Sayville; 631-891-5524; hammerandstainli.com. Take-home kits available upon request for select projects.