If you are looking for a super-easy craft to do with your children to do to brighten your home for Christmas, this one is just for you. These pine cone trees could be made for holiday decorations at home or for gifts for loved ones and friends.
I have just learned that the humble pine cone was actually an icon of eternal life for many ancient cultures, including the Assyrians, Greeks and Romans. Since pine cones are also a natural means for displaying and spreading seeds, they were also revered as symbols of fertility, which ancient civilizations valued in order to stay strong and vibrant. Wow–so it should not be surprising that folks today find the pine cone to be a great item to include in our holiday celebrations.
All you need in the way of supplies for this craft are assorted sizes of pine cones, graduated sizes of clay gardening pots, gold spray paint, gold acrylic paint (optional) and sponge paintbrush (or sponge), and a glue gun.
The preparation for this project is the only time-consuming part.The first thing to do is to gather your pine cones, determine which are not broken and remove any pine tags that might be stuck in them. You may have many pine cones available to you in your yard or that of a neighbor which makes finding different sizes a cinch.
If you do not live in a pine-tree area, you may purchase bags of scented pine cones in most discount or craft stores as the holidays approach. You can also find many different types of pine cones available from online craft vendors and Amazon. Just make certain the pinecones you choose have a wider bottom than top so they can sit well in their pots.
Depending on how many pine cones you have and their sizes, separate out groupings of three or five in graduated sizes–it’s always best to use groupings of odd numbers. Then you will need to measure the base of these cones to determine what sizes of clay pots you will need to buy.
Make a list of all the sizes of clay pots you need to buy before heading to the garden center, discount store or craft store. Once you have purchased your pots and your other supplies and gathered those you already have, it’s time to get started.
Outside or in a well-ventilated garage or basement, spread out old newspaper or a plastic covering so that you can spray paint your pine cones and your pots. When spraying your pine cones, be certain to spray into the cones so that you will have even paint coverage on the inner portions as well as the outer portions. If you are spraying the pots, be certain to paint the inside rim of each.
I personally like painting the pots by hand. The spray-painted cones can be drying while you paint the pots. You don’t have to paint the pots with a full coat, but sponge the paint on if you want a more casual look with the orangey clay color showing through in places. It doesn’t take long for the pots to dry if you are sponging on the color for a light coat of paint.
This craft will work well done in other colors besides gold. You could go with silver or white for a dressier look, but you could also paint the cones green and the pots could be multi-colored. Your pots could also be painted with one color for a base coat with a different color sponged lightly over it.
Once all your pots and pine cones are dry, on a covered flat surface, match up your pine cones to a pot of the correct size. Making sure the chosen pine cone will sit up straight on the top of the pot. Use a glue gun if needed to attach the bottom of the cone to the pot. Many of my cones sat easily in the pots and didn’t need to be glued.
If you have the patience and a delicate touch, you could glue small colored beads on the tips of the pine cone to make it look like a decorated tree. You could use multi-colored beads, all the same color or clear crystal beads to catch the light. You could also buy spray clear or colored glitter to use as a final coat on your cone trees.
You could also turn your pine cones into topiaries using the same clay pots by drilling a hole in the bottom of the cones and inserting small sturdy sticks from your yard into them to achieve the look of taller trees. You would need to weight your pots so the topiaries don’t tip over. You may also choose to use plaster of paris so your pots are steady and your topiaries are held firmly in place.
The groupings of pine cone trees you create can be used in decorative vignettes on tables, mantels, or bookcases during the holidays. You can tuck some real or faux greenery (pine is especially appropriate) and berries around the base of your trees.
You also have the option of sprinkling artificial snow around the base of the trees, after dusting them with a light flocking of spray snow (do this outdoors or in the basement or garage). Try not to handle the pine cones after you spray the snow on them.
With many options of how to adapt this craft to your personal preferences, you and your children or grandchildren can have a great time creating these trees. Enjoy!