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Saturday, October 6, 2012

DIY Pine Cone Ornaments

So I have a lifetime supply of pine cones, that I needed to find something to do with, besides throw them all in our burn pile... We have a ton of pine tree's that produce lots and lots of pine cones! They are sharp little suckers too!! Maybe its just this kind, but I have never seen sharp pine cones before! 
Sharp!! looks like shark teeth, doesn't it?!
I've noticed that there are a lot more pine tree's in the south, and a lot less hard wood trees. One good thing about it, it stays green in the winter!

We were helping my hubby clean up the yard and it seemed like a good time to get some pine cones, so my daughter and I picked out some nice ones, to save for later.  I cleaned them up with a bucket of hot soapy water (soaking them for at least a hour) rinse them well, then a vinegar/water soak to kill anything living in them, then let them dry out again...
I never really paid attention that when they get wet, they close up, and when they dry out, they open back up!

Hot soapy water.
Bubble Bath
Vinegar/Water soak
The drying out process takes about a week, so I tried to speed up the process a little bit (I'm very impatient for things like this) 
I lined a cookie sheet with foil and turned the oven on the lowest setting, mine goes down to 170. I tried 170 for about a half hour and it really didn't seem to dry them, so I turned it up to 200 (which is also the highest I would go or you run the risk of burning them) I kept them in there for 15 minutes, then turned them and gave them another 15 minutes. This gave them a good head start on the drying process. I could see they started opening up. :) Also, with the oven drying, if anything survived the soapy water, or the vinegar bath then, they surely it couldn't live through the 200 degree heat of the oven! This also helps to melt any sap on the pine cones, mine didn't really have any on them so I didn't have to worry about that to much.

*Note* keep a close watch on them as they can burn or start on fire in your oven!!

They still ended up taking about three days to dry completely after the oven, but its better than a week! 
I left them on the foil lined cookie sheet and put them in the sun to dry and brought them in at night so they wouldn't get dew on them.
When they were finally dry, I borrowed some wire from my hubby to wrap around the pine cones when painting so they could hang and he also set me up a mobile paint booth/drying station (better known as a dolly, or some people call them hand trucks,with a piece of plywood ) and I did this outside of coarse!

Here is what you need:

White Flat Spray Paint
Clear Spray Paint (Matte, Satin, or Gloss - which ever sheen you would like)
Paint colors of your choice
Glitter (I mostly used the Iridescent as it "went" with all the colors)
Small Screw Eye Hooks
Thin ribbon for hanger (I used 1/8" wide white with Iridescent edges)
Ribbon for bow (I used 3/8" wide white with Iridescent edges)
Wire wraps around so it can hang

mobile paint booth/drying station ;)
So, first I sprayed them all white, I gave them two coats each. 

White painted Pine Cones
Then I used my accent  color (your choice of color) and painted all the tips (shark teeth lol), tops and bottoms. I used a lot of the metallic paints, they look really nice! I liked how they turned out!!

I like the view from the top, they look really cool! Half way painted.
After you have all the tips painted let them dry completely, make any touch ups after the first coat, that you need to do, then let it dry again.

Carefully wrap the wire back around the pine cone and spray with a clear coat, matte, satin, or gloss, its your preference. At least two coats of clear.

I then used Elmer's glue and a paint brush and painted the glue on anywhere where I wanted the glitter, let dry over night, or at least several hours.

Add screw eye hook in the center bottom (I used the smallest hook I could find) 

Tie your hanger ribbon on the eye hook

Tie hanger ribbon on the eye hook.
1/8" wide ribbon
 Then using a hot glue gun, or if you have a favorite craft glue, glue your bow onto the pine cone.

I made my own bows...3/8" wide ribbon

 I wish you could see just how pretty these are with the glitter, I wish the camera would pick it up better! Or maybe its the camera operator? ;)

You can almost see the glitter in this picture.
The pictures don't do them justice! They are so much prettier in person. I'll have to see if my hubby can take some with his camera that the glitter will show up.

* I found it was better to paint with a flat white paint rather than a gloss paint (learn from my mistakes) the highlight color covered much better on the flat paint.... (when I did the high gloss white I had to do two coats of highlight color, not just touch up) So flat white paint worked best for me and I was clear coating them anyways, so it didn't matter much.

*Don't spray clear after you have put on the iridescent glitter as it makes it not so sparkly (another learn from my mistake) :) It might not matter on colored glitter but it does on the iridescent!!  It made it cloudy looking.

 Other colors I've been doing.
Back row, L to R - Gold, Dark Purple Base with white tips
Front row: Metallic Green, Metallic Red and Glitter Lt. Blue.
I'm not partial to the color green, but the metallic green is almost my favorite one. Again, the picture doesn't do it justice!
In any case, they will look pretty hanging in the tree....

If anyone has some cute crafts made with pine cones, and would like to pass them along,send me a email or make a comment below.

Edit 12-15-12I did a post on a Glitter Pine Cone Ornament on 12-14-12, you can find it Here

Added a picture of the painted tip pine cone on my tree 12-25-12


  1. Very pretty!! I pinned your idea on my Holiday Crafts and Decor board. :)

    1. Thanks! I am having fun making them, still working on some of them. :) Thanks for sharing!


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