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Pine Cone Panache for the Holidays: Easy, Frugal Home Decor, Craft, and Gift Ideas Using Pine ConesCompiled by Vicki McClure Davidson
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
- Hot-glue gun
- 1 pound walnuts
- 1 pound hazel nuts
- 2 bags of pine cones (store-bought or gathered)
- Any sort of round balls
- Wide ribbon (ribbon with wire works best)
- 1 styro foam half wreath (one side is flat)
- 6 cinnamon sticks broken into small pieces
- 1 large piece of wire with which to hang the wreath
- Silver paint (optional for dipping some nuts in paint)
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!
- First, loop the wire around the wreath and close ends.
- Pull wire against the wreath and make a circle at top part by twisting the wire around itself.
- Apply glue to one side of the nuts and pine cones and start gluing them onto the foam wreath.
- Fill small gaps with the balls of cinnamon sticks.
- Work around in circle until entire wreath is filled.
- Cut a long piece of ribbon and thread it around the wire loop.
- Cover the wire loop with ribbon and tie off by making a bow.
- Find a great spot for your wreath, hang it, and enjoy!
Photo of the finished wreath hanging on the front door.
Video demonstration for making this next pine cone wreath below...
Materials for Making Pine Cone Wreath
- Assorted pine cones
- Wire wreath
- Floral wire
- Exterior acrylic sealer
How to Make a Pine Cone Wreath
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.
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.
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 Candle Holder
By Kathleen George, FaveCrafts.com
- STYROFOAM Brand Products: Wreath, two 10" x 1"
- Brass candleholder picks, 2-1/2", four
- Unshelled nuts: Brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, approximately 2 dozen each
- Pinecones: 2" long, approximately 2 dozen; 1/2" - 1" long, approximately 3 cups
- Acrylic spray paint: Gold
- Candles, four in your choice of color
- Low-temperature glue gun
- Glue wreaths together. Let dry.
- Paint wreath, nuts, and pinecones gold. Let dry.
- 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.
- 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.
- Glue stem ends of 2-inch pinecones around outside edge of ring. Fill in top of ring and other gaps with small pinecones.
- 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 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.
From Enchanted Learning's website, 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:
- A large, open pine cone (pick one that is tree-shaped and stands upright easily)
- A few cotton balls
- White glue (like Elmer's)
- Dental floss and a needle
- Small beads
- A small bow or star to top off your little tree
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 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:
- Pine cone
- Paper plate
- Butter knife
- Smooth peanut butter
- Ribbon or yarn
How to make it:
- Cut a long length of yarn or ribbon to hang the bird feeder.
- Tie the ribbon in a knot around the pine cone near the top (about 3 sections down).
- Tie a knot in the end of the ribbon.
- Use the knife to get a large clump of peanut butter on the paper plate.
- Use the knife to spread peanut butter inside the pine cone and around the edges.
- Sprinkle the birdseed over the pine cone.
- Roll the pine cone in the birdseed that is on the plate.
- Hang the bird feeder on the tree.
- Enjoy watching the birds eat their treat!
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