Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Decorating with Pinecones

Recently Tina Sams, the editor of the Essential Herbal Magazine, was showing pictures of her chandelier decorated with pine cone ornaments.  I love pine cones as holiday decoration and have said on several occations that I want to decorate an entire tree with pine cones ornaments one year, but collecting only one or two a year, it will be sometime before I can fill an entire tree.

That got me to thinking.  I have made scented pine cones in the past and those are great ornaments.  How about making more brightly decorated pine cones?  Around my apartment complex are several different conifers giving a nice variety of cones.  I suspect you could try this too!

Collect cones from your yard.  It will get you outside for a walk and you can enjoy the season.  When you bring in the cones you must clean them.  Run them under cold running water and lay them out on a baking sheet covered with wax or parchment paper.  Place the tray in the oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes.  This will open up the cones, remove excess sap, and kill any bugs or bacteria hiding inside.

Let them cool.  You will see re-crystalization of some of the sap which gives the cones a natural beauty, then get creative.

You can scent the cones with a mixture of ground spices (see this previous post) or you can decorate them for use in displays.  Here are a few suggestions for decorating pine cones.

  1. Paint the tips of the pine cone wings. (Yes, that is what they are called!) With white poster paint paint just the tips of the wings to look like snow, then sprinkle with clear or white glitter or even granulated sugar for sparkle.
  2. Spray the cones with clear acrylic or paint them with clear glue and tumble in a zip lock bag filled with colored glitter.  You can use one color at a time, like red, green, silver or gold on blend the glitter together for a combination effect.
  3. Dot the cones with craft glue and press on colored sequins.
  4. Wedge fun spices and herb twigs in between the wings, like juniper berries, allspice berries, star anise, broken cinnamon sticks, and cloves.  This is a rustic natural look that will also give off a scent.
  5. Dip the cones in wax and use to decorate the mantle, then use them as fire starters for a Christmas night blaze.
  6. For a crystal effect, paint on some clear glue then roll the cones in faceted or smooth glass seed beads.

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