Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Make A – Pine Cone Crafts

Pine Cone Christmas Crafts
Written by Sheila Sullivan

Crafts designed with items from nature are especially fitting for the holidays. There is something special about making your own holiday decorations. It is reminiscent of the past, when popcorn was strung and draped around the Christmas tree. There are endless possibilities in designing a craft from nature. One item that is plentiful and is commonly used for Christmas decorating is the pinecone. Pinecones make a beautiful display, by merely being placed in a basket. A touch of spray, to bring a shine, and a light coat of glitter can add to the holiday expression. Wreaths are traditional at Christmas and the miniature tree is a favorite of many. These are good choices for a holiday, craft project. Gather the following supplies, follow these easy instructions, and make a holiday wreath and miniature tree for your home.

Collect many pinecones. Pinecones are plentiful, and should be easy to find. Notice they come in a variety of sizes. Gather different sizes for your project. You will need to purchase Styrofoam forms, in the shape of a tree and a wreath. These can be found in craft stores and shopping centers. Purchase thin, flexible, wire and thin, wooden, sticks. If you have a problem locating these items, check at a florist. You will need strong cement; Duco cement is a good choice. A pair of pliers-type wire cutters will be necessary. Gather all supplies and clean the pinecones. Remove the dust, dirt, or leaves, from the cones gently. You may want to try using a blow dryer.

Begin by wiring the pinecones. Cut a strand of wire, the length will depend on the size of the cone. You must wrap the wire around the center of the cone, by threading it through the scales. After threading, twist the wire together and secure. Leave at least an inch or two of wire when cutting; this will be used to spike the Styrofoam. When using large pinecones, you will need to place a wooden stick in back of the pinecone. Wrap the wire around the stick and use the stick to spike the Styrofoam. Arrange the pinecones on the Styrofoam form. You can reinforce the cones, by adding a few drops of glue to their back, before placing on the Styrofoam surface.

When creating the wreath, place the larger pinecones on first. Arrange these in rows or clusters. You can use the smaller cones to fill in the spaces. If you want to fancy up your wreath try wiring small, colorful, Christmas balls and arrange these among the cones. You can make your wreath sparkle by adding a gloss, or glitter spray. You may also coat the tip if each pinecone scale with clear, shiny, nail polish and sprinkle with a small amount of glitter. Allow to dry, then add a bow if you wish. You will be proud to display your creation, in your home for the holiday season. These also make excellent gifts for the ladies in your family.

Decorate a miniature tree by placing the larger pinecones at the bottom of the Styrofoam form. Choose smaller cones, as you work your way toward the top. Use the same suggestions given above, to add a fancy flare or sparkle to your tree. Tiny Christmas balls may be used, by placing them on one at a time, using the cement. Distribute them throughout the tree; in the same manner you decorate your large Christmas tree. The miniature tree is a beautiful centerpiece for any table, and makes a great gift. Consider it as a gift for a teacher, a friend, or use it as a table piece at Christmas celebrations. Store your creations properly, at the end of each holiday season, and you should be able to enjoy them for many years. Boxes left over from Christmas are great for storage. The tissue paper, used in Christmas gift boxes, may be placed in the storage box and around your crafts, to provide protection. Approach the holiday season with a spirit of creativity and try decorating, with a little help from nature.

* PineCone Fire Starters *
The Pine Cone Lady

This is the Stuff you need to make these:

  • PineCones - I use Greyed Pitch, Austrian Black Pine & Shortleaf Pine {Better Burn)
  • Wax Candle wax, or paraffin used for canning {very flammable}
  • Candle Coloring or Color squares {You can use old candle stubs too!)
  • Double Boiler OR Large Metal Coffee Can & a Large Pot
  • Tongs {To grab & dip the cones}
  • Wax Paper
  • Wax-Coated Wicks OR String
  • Muffin tin(s)
  • Non-stick Spray
  • Essential oil for scented fire starters {Optional}
  • Sawdust, crushed up leaves and acorn tops, cinnamon stick bits.{Optional}
  • Use your imagination ~ {Optional} LOL

Do This First:

Spray muffin tins with the non-stick spray. Place one end of a wick {string} in each muffin cup, allow an end to hang over the side. Sprinkle some Sawdust, crushed up leaves and acorn tops or cinnamon stick bits in the muffin tin. Next: Melt wax in top of double boiler over boiling water {Or melt the wax in the coffee can in a pot of boiling water on the stove.}. Make sure you have enough wax in the top {can} to submerge an entire cone. Add color and/or essential oil when wax is melted. Lower heat a bit. Pour some of the hot wax into each muffin cup, covering wick and set a pinecone upright into wax right away! Let harden completely!  Pop each cone out, one at a time. These look great au natural!

If you want to coat the cones with wax, follow the rest of the instructions:

Melt more wax in the top or can if you need to. Take your tongs, grab a pinecone bottom and dip the cone in the wax. Turn it to coat all over. Lift the cone over the wax for a few moments to allow the wax to harden. Dip again until well coated. Repeat with all the pinecones. Add more wax and scent as needed. Place pinecones on waxed paper to cool. Let harden completely. {Sometimes I cheat and put in the fridge!} They look great, eh?

How to Use:

To light a fire, put a pinecone fire starter under logs and light the wick. The waxed base will keep the cone burning for up to 20 minutes!
Excellent Gifts Too: Put fire starters in a big basket and tie a fancy ribbon on it. Looks great next to a fireplace. Put some of the pinecones in a cellophane bag. Tie bag with metallic curling ribbon or raffia.  Attach a little card with the instructions on how to use them.

* Pinecone Picture Frame *

Pinecones & Materials Needed:

  • Frame
  • Pinecones ~ Norway Spruce, Giant White Pine "duds", Longleaf Petals]
  • 2-inch foam brushes
  • Paint
  • Polyurethane
  • Small gardening snips or Needle nose pliers
  • Japanese saw
  • Hot-glue gun
  • Ball point pen
  • Mirror (sized to fit inside frame)

How to Put it All Together:

Using a foam brush, apply a base coat of paint to the frame, and let dry. Apply a top coat, and let dry. Meanwhile, using the gardening snips or pliers, begin removing the pinecone petals {scales}, from the Norway Spruce and Longleaf Pine, keeping each kind in separate piles or jars. For the rosettes, use the tips of the Norway Spruce cones and the bases of the Longleaf cones; cut them off with the Japanese saw. Their scales fill in the rest of the frame. For the corner cones, cut the Giant White Pine Dud cones in half lengthwise with the Japanese saw so they will lay flat. Lay out the big pieces of your pattern on the frame (like the rosettes and corner cones), and trace around them with the ball point pen so you'll know where to place the scales. The larger cones will be glued last. Start with the outside edging. Hot-glue Longleaf petals {scales} around the edge of the frame, overlapping slightly as you go. (The part of the petal that was attached to the cone should be glued down and slightly overlapping the petal in front.) Then apply the Norway Spruce scales to make the filler pattern, also slightly overlapping. Now add the rosettes. Hot-glue a base of the Longleaf cone to the frame. Hot-glue a tip of a Norway Spruce cone on top of the base. Repeat on three other sides. Then hot-glue the halved Giant White Pine Dud cones to the frame's corners. Prop the frame atop disposable cups, and with a foam brush, apply a coat of shellac to seal it. Insert picture or mirror. Experiment with any type of cones you have. There is no limit to all the different designs you can come up with!! They look fabulous!

dawtch stocking

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.


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Cyndi Carrington said...

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