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Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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Pine Cone Panache for the Holidays: Easy, Frugal Home Decor, Craft, and Gift Ideas Using Pine Cones

Compiled by Vicki McClure Davidson

 

Pine cones are easy on the budget and are ideal for inexpensive holiday decor, gift-giving, and craft ideas for kids
Pine cones are easy on the budget and are ideal for inexpensive holiday decor, gift-giving, and craft ideas for kids

 

Pine cones have a simple majesty and beauty in their symmetry. This natural beauty can be used to decorate homes, as many areas of the country and through out the world have free-for-the-taking pine cones in abundance.

For those families that have been hit hard during this recession, the frugality of decorating with and using pine cones in craft projects can't be overlooked when trying to save money, while wanting to create a holiday feel, an outdoor-woodsy aura, or simply teaching children how to make inexpensive craft items at home using natural materials.

Using a bit of creative know-how (and expending a bit of time and energy to collect them), pine cones can be used to make many inexpensive and beautiful home decor, craft, and gift items during the fall and winter holidays.

 

Pine cone divider

 

These first photos illustrate how easy and "cheap and chic" it can be to make your home look warm and festive using pine cones during Christmas, Thanksgiving, Oktoberfest, or all year round. Further down are several budget craft and gift projects, many of which are simple enough for children to make.

Saving money while creating lovely holiday decorations with Mother Nature can be quick and simple.

 

Holiday Tabletop Pine Cone Decorations | Photo credit: Shaw Girl, Flickr
Holiday Tabletop Pine Cone Decorations | Photo credit: Shaw Girl, Flickr

 

Flower Fairy with Nuts and Pine Cones | Photo credit: Lisuebie, Flickr
Flower Fairy with Nuts and Pine Cones | Photo credit: Lisuebie, Flickr

 

Pine Cones with Christmas Bells | Photo credit: skipnclick, Flickr
Pine cones with Christmas Bells | Photo credit: skipnclick, Flickr

 

Pine Cones, Lights, and Candle Decor | Photo credit: Corey Balazowich, Flickr
Pine Cones, Lights, and Candle Decor | Photo credit: Corey Balazowich, Flickr

 

Christmas Decorating with Pine Cones | Photo credit: bein_korean, Flickr
Christmas Decorating with Pine Cones | Photo credit: bein_korean, Flickr

 

Silver and Blue: Pine Cones & Rhinestones, Holiday Table Setting | Photo credit: Meagan Tintari, Flickr
Silver and Blue: Pine Cones & Rhinestones, Holiday Table Setting | Photo credit: Meagan Tintari, Flickr

 

Pine Cone Decorations | Photo credit: Shaw Girl, Flickr
Pine Cone Decorations | Photo credit: Shaw Girl, Flickr

 

Christmas Table Decoration with Pine Cones | Photo credit: Jean-Baptiste Puig, Flickr
Christmas Table Decoration with Pine Cones | Photo credit: Jean-Baptiste Puig, Flickr

 

Photographer Suzy Morris wrote this about her home's Christmas pine garland:

I spent the day yesterday putting Christmas up out front. When it comes to outside Christmas decor, I’m a big fan of the natural look, so I stick to all-natural ingredients. No big blow-up things, colored/flashing lights, Santas or plastic things decorate our home. We stick to an all-natural Christmas.
Fresh Pine Garland with Grapevine Stars, Pine Cones, and White Lights for Christmas | Photo credit: Suzy Morris, Flickr
Fresh Pine Garland with Grapevine Stars, Pine Cones, and White Lights for Christmas | Photo credit: Suzy Morris, Flickr

 

Home Decor for Fall: Pine Cones and Dried Flowers | Photo credit: Lynn Schnitzer, Flickr
Home Decor for Fall: Pine Cones and Dried Flowers  | Photo credit: Lynn Schnitzer, Flickr

 

Candles and Pine Cones at Christmas | Photo credit: Athena's Pix, Flickr
Candles and Pine Cones at Christmas | Photo credit: Athena's Pix, Flickr

 

Holiday Home Decor | Photo credit: Contemplative Imaging, Flickr
Holiday Home Decor | Photo credit: Contemplative Imaging, Flickr

 

Description of centerpiece by photographer Mathieu Plourde:

Glass bowl with real pine cones. Dark red and off-white potpourri petals act as fillers and give off a very light scent—we call it "Cinna-linen" (apple/cinnamon and linen-scented potpourri).

 

Holiday Centerpiece | Photo credit: Mathieu Plourde, Flickr
Holiday Centerpiece | Photo credit: Mathieu Plourde, Flickr

 

Wonderful Winter Window Display with Pine Cones, Manchester City Library, New Hampshire | Photo credit: Manchester City Library, Flickr
Wonderful Winter Window Display with Pine Cones, Manchester City Library, New Hampshire | Photo credit: Manchester City Library, Flickr

 

Christmas Pine Cone | Photo credit: Jim Hammer, Flickr
Christmas Pine Cone | Photo credit: Jim Hammer, Flickr

 

Description by photographer Gilbert-Noël Sfeir Mont-Liban:

German Christmas ceramics by Werner Voss. A 19th-century French brass tray. Natural pine cones from my village that I sprayed with golden paint.

In French: Objets de Noël allemands en céramique blanche de Werner Voss. Ravier français en cuivre du XIXe siècle. Pommes de pin naturelles de mon village que j'ai pulvérisées de peinture dorée.

 

Christmas at Home in Lebanon | Photo credit: Gilbert-Noël Sfeir Mont-Liban, Flickr
Christmas at Home in Lebanon | Photo credit: Gilbert-Noël Sfeir Mont-Liban, Flickr

 


Pine Cones and Wreaths

Making a beautiful Christmas or fall-themed wreath using pine cones... here are several craft projects with instructions.

Preliminary photo with some of the craft items needed to make a fall wreath, from Enzie Shamiri's fabulous blog, World Market Portraits.

Fall Wreath Materials | Photo credit: Enzie Shamiri, Flickr
Fall Wreath Materials | Photo credit: Enzie Shamiri, Flickr

Items/materials needed:

The How ~ To

The idea is to arrange all the items next to each other so it looks pleasing to the eye. Gaps should be avoided by filling them in with smaller items, such as pieces of cinnamon sticks. Friends are optional, but make the crafting experience more enjoyable!

  1. First, loop the wire around the wreath and close ends.
  2. Pull wire against the wreath and make a circle at top part by twisting the wire around itself.
  3. Apply glue to one side of the nuts and pine cones and start gluing them onto the foam wreath.
  4. Fill small gaps with the balls of cinnamon sticks.
  5. Work around in circle until entire wreath is filled.
  6. Cut a long piece of ribbon and thread it around the wire loop.
  7. Cover the wire loop with ribbon and tie off by making a bow.
  8. Find a great spot for your wreath, hang it, and enjoy!

Photo of the finished wreath hanging on the front door.

Fall Wreath | Photo credit: Enzie Shamiri, Flickr
Fall Wreath | Photo credit: Enzie Shamiri, Flickr

 

Video demonstration for making this next pine cone wreath below...

Materials for Making Pine Cone Wreath

 

How to Make a Pine Cone Wreath

 

Pine cone divider

 

This next Christmas wreath with pine cones didn't have instructions included, but it appears simple to make. While in Turkey, American photographer Melissa Maples wrote this in 2008 about the wreath and Turkish friend Emirhan's reaction to it:

I forget sometimes just how much our traditions are incomprehensible to people who don't know about Christmas. When the wreath first arrived at our house it was bare, no ribbons or pine cones or anything (I added those myself later). Emirhan held it up and asked what it was for, and I told him it was for the front door.

"And at Christmas we want a bird's nest on our door... why, exactly?" he asked.

This has been an experience full of humour, to say the least.

 

Christmas Wreath with Pine Cones | Photo credit: Melissa Maples, Flickr
Christmas Wreath with Pine Cones | Photo credit: Melissa Maples, Flickr

 

Pine cone divider

 

Pine Cone Holiday Craft Projects

Fragranced Pine Cone Fire Starters

This next craft project, Fragranced Pine Cone Fire Starters, is an easy project but has elements of danger because of working with the hot wax, so parents must supervise older children. It is NOT a recommended activity for younger children. Take precautions to keep your children safe from being burned.

This cost-savings craft project would be appreciated as a Christmas gift for those who have fireplaces — a unique gift for those who are difficult to buy for as they already "have everything."

From PeakCandle.com, How to Make Fragranced Pine Cone Fire Starters:

 

Written instructions from the Peak Candle video:

How to make pine cone fire starters:

Pine cones: Beginning at the base, wrap the core of the pine cones with 36-ply flat braid wick.

Tie the wick to the top of the pine cones.

Melt wax to 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add dye and as desired... and stir.

Prime the pine cones by dipping in the hot wax.

Allow the primed cones to cool, until it's just beginning to congeal.

Then, dip the cones as many times as desired to build up wax.

Leave the wax un-dyed to achieve a white color.

 

Pine cone divider

 

Christmas Ornaments from Pine Cones

Make a Christmas ornament from a pine cone by wrapping the top with wire, applying hot glue to the edges, and sprinkling glitter over the entire thing for a winter effect.
Christmas Ornaments from Pine Cones

 

Pine cone divider

 

Pine Cone Candle Holder

By Kathleen George, FaveCrafts.com

Materials:

Steps:

  1. Glue wreaths together. Let dry.
  2. Paint wreath, nuts, and pinecones gold. Let dry.
  3. Glue Brazil nuts, points facing up, along lower inside of wreath. Glue hazelnuts in a row above the Brazil nuts. Glue 1/2-inch pinecones between the two rows to fill in empty spaces.
  4. Insert candle holders at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 positions. Remove candle holders and glue three almonds, points facing up and out, to each candle holder. Let dry.
  5. Glue stem ends of 2-inch pinecones around outside edge of ring. Fill in top of ring and other gaps with small pinecones.
  6. Spray ring gold again to cover remnants of glue and any bare spots. Apply glue to ends of candle holder picks and reinsert in top of wreath ring.

 

Pine cone divider

 

Pine Cone Pin Cushion

Easy pine cone pin cushion craft idea, posted at Cascade Pines:

Take a pine cone and pull a few of the stalks out here and there. Cut some circles of material and sew a running sitch around the outside edge. Then as you draw them up, stuff some wadding in to make a soft ball.

Using a glue gun, put some glue in the cone where you have pulled out the stalks and stuff the soft ball in. Cut a felt circle bigger than the base of the cone and glue on, and you have a pin cushion for a crafty mum or nana. We made these for our Mother's day stall and they were loved.

 

Pine cone divider

 

From Enchanted Learning's website, Pine Cone Christmas Tree:

Pine Cone Christmas Tree
Pine Cone Christmas Tree

Pine Cone Christmas Tree

An easy-to-make pine cone Christmas tree. Use it as a Christmas decoration or as a tree ornament. This is a simple craft that even young children can help make.

For each Pine Cone Christmas Tree, you will need the following materials:

Glue a few cotton balls to the bottom of the pine cone. These look like snow and help the "tree" stand upright.

Put a little dab of glue at the tips of the pine cone and then sprinkle on glitter.

String some small beads onto dental floss (about 1 to 1 1/2 ft or more, depending on the size of the pine cone). To string the beads easily, tie one bead securely to the string. Then give the floss to the child for stringing. Older children can use a needle to help with the stringing. When the stringing is done, tie off the last bead with a knot.

Wrap the beads around the pine cone and glue them to the tree.

Top off your tree with a small bow or other decoration.

 

Pine cone divider

 

Pine Cone Bird Feeder

Pine Cone Bird Feeder,from Kaboose.com. This age-old craft project is still popular, and is easy for even the youngest of children to make with parental supervision. All kids love to feed animals, so this simple craft project will keep giving back joy and satisfaction long after the peanut butter jar is put away in the cupboard.

What you'll need:

How to make it:

  1. Cut a long length of yarn or ribbon to hang the bird feeder.
  2. Tie the ribbon in a knot around the pine cone near the top (about 3 sections down).
  3. Tie a knot in the end of the ribbon.
  4. Use the knife to get a large clump of peanut butter on the paper plate.
  5. Use the knife to spread peanut butter inside the pine cone and around the edges.
  6. Sprinkle the birdseed over the pine cone.
  7. Roll the pine cone in the birdseed that is on the plate.
  8. Hang the bird feeder on the tree.
  9. Enjoy watching the birds eat their treat!
Hanging up the Pine Cone Bird Feeder | Photo credit: The Camerons, Flickr
Hanging up the Pine Cone Bird Feeder | Photo credit: The Camerons, Flickr

 

 

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