3 Brilliant Things You Can Make Using PineconesColin Campbell-Preston
One of the absolute highlights of autumn is setting a course through the countryside, stepping foot on crunchy leaves and enjoying the vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow which adorn the trees and shrubbery. For just a few short weeks every year, the crisp air and beautiful surroundings inspire us to brave the cold and extend those dog walks, or venture to a pub a little further away than the local.
And, of course, these pre-winter walks would not be the same without the presence of beautiful pinecones, dropped from overhead. Whether you’re a collector or a kicker, there’s a simple joy attached to stumbling upon these geometric little beauties littering the ground on your autumnal walk.
The promise of pinecone collecting is also a great way to coerce the kids onto a walk, leaving their Playstations and iPhones at home. Generation after generation of kids have been charmed by these pretty little cones, keen to pick apart their secrets.
Furthermore, they’re a welcome addition to the arts and crafts table at home or in schools, with their versatile bodies perfect for rainy day activities. They can be painted, glittered or added to collages, helping create beautiful autumnal crafts, which look fantastic and can help keep the kids quiet for an hour or two.
So, to help you make the most of the pinecones falling into your garden or along your favourite autumnal walking route, we’ve put together our three favourite things you can make using pinecones.
Our recent guide about attracting hedgehogs into the garden proved to be very popular, showing just how loved these cute little critters are. But, hedgehog hibernation season is well upon us, and we’re unlikely to see any of our spiky little friends until at least March as they slumber away the bitter months.
To fill the void left by hedgehogs in the winter, pinecone tributes are simple to make, and the results are almost as cute as the real thing. And you only need pinecones, playdough (orange, beige, yellow, grey or brown, as well as black), and googly eyes to get you going.
Roll the play dough into one ball and four short rolls and fashion these into one little pointed face, and four little legs. Affix these to the pinecone to create a hedgehog shape, before adding the googly eyes and rolling a little bit of black playdough for the nose. Super simple and fun, the kids can get to work on a whole little hedgehog family, provided you’ve found enough pinecones on your walk.
Wintry Pinecone Wreath
Festive decorations needn’t put a huge strain on the wallet, nature provides plenty of the ingredients you need to craft winter wonderland designs for your home. Our favourite festive pinecone decoration is undoubtedly the pinecone wreath, providing a beautiful wintry welcome for your front door.
Just like the hedgehog design above, the wintry pinecone wreath is super easy to make, although you’ll need quite a few pinecones to complete the job. All you need is strong cardboard, a hot glue gun, white paint and about 50 pinecones (you may need to walk to the pub on Saturday AND Sunday for all these pinecones).
First, create the base of the wreath by cutting a circle with a 20-inch diameter out of the cardboard. Cut out the middle of the ring, so the ring’s thickness is about 8 inches all the way around. Then using the hot glue gun (a job for the adults), glue the pinecones to the base in a slightly haphazard manner, but ensure that the cardboard is not visible at all. When the hot glue is dry, spray the entire wreath white for a snowy effect.
If you want to take the design one step further, why not glue two holly leaves towards the bottom of the wreath?
Then to hang it on the front door, cut two small holes in the top of the cardboard about 3 inches apart and thread the string through. This can be tied to hang from the front door, sharing your festive spirit with all who pass by.
Bonus Pinecone Fact: Most pinecones which fall in autumn are female. The male of the species tend to fall in spring, as soon as they have matured.
Winter Pinecone Luminaries
A cosy little addition to the home during the colder months, the winter pinecone luminaries are a little more complex to make than our other two ideas, but still within reach of the beginner crafter. These delightful decorations are great for families who like their winter homes to be lit by candlelight, and offer a little Dickensian magic to the season.
To make a winter pinecone luminary, you’ll need one mason jar, two pinecones, lace, twine, a hot glue gun, snow spray, Epsom salt and a candle.
The first step is to wrap lace around the rim of the mason jar and tie it down with the twine; try to create a large bow with the twine, leading into long tails. Glue the two pinecones to the lace, just under the bow so it remains visible. When the glue is dry, spray the pinecones and rim of the mason jar with a little snow spray, and fill the mason jar with Epsom salt to about two inches.
When everything is dry, lower a candle on to the Epsom salt within the jar, and then carefully light. We believe the winter pinecone luminaries look best in numbers, especially when they’re all slightly uneven in size and design, giving off a wonderfully cosy appearance in the home.
With these on the mantelpiece, your home will be ready for the festivities.