Let nature inspire your holiday tree decorations. Conifers are naturally decked in beautiful ornaments that can accompany a tree indoors. Pinecones produce and store the seeds of an evergreen and, with their shape and construction, almost resemble tiny trees themselves. Today, Martha Stewart Living holiday and crafts editor Hannah Milman shares some simple ideas for using pinecones to evoke the spirit of the season.
Pinecones grow in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Use this natural diversity to create a range of holiday ornaments. The tiniest cones come from the tamarack, black spruce, and hemlock. The red pine, found in the forest stands of the northeastern United States and southern Canada, produces smallish, rounded cones. Ponderosa is the most widespread western conifer; its egg-shaped cones are tipped with a slender prickle. The slash pine is a Florida native, the white pine is a favorite in the South, and the jack pine prefers a cool climate. Scotch and Mugo cones are round and can be reddish brown to gray in color. The shiny light-brown cones of the Norway and white spruces have dense, smooth scales. And the longleaf pine produces the largest cones on the East Coast -- up to 11 inches long.
Tools and Materials
Wired gold or silver tinsel
Hot-glue gun and glue
Gold or silver twine
Miniature glass balls
Strong sewing needle
Glittered Pinecone Ornaments How-To
1. To glitter pinecones, hold a cone carefully, and brush craft glue over tips of scales.
2. Then, holding cone over bowl, spoon fine glitter over scales.
3. To make an angel, shape wings from a length of wired gold or silver tinsel: Form a figure 8, twisting the wire around on itself to secure. Pinch ends together to create the wing shape, and hot-glue to the back of a glittered pinecone. With a shorter piece of wired tinsel, form a halo shape. Hot-glue the wooden bead head to the top of the cone (hole facing up); then glue to the halo, as well as a looped length of gold twine to serve as a hanger, into the hole on top of the head. Use tiny dabs of craft glue to attach seed beads to the face for eyes and nose. Attach two shorter lengths of tinsel to each side of the pinecone for arms, if desired.
4. For drop ornaments, hot glue a miniature glass Christmas ball (you can unstring a garland of balls for this purpose) between each of three pinecones, arranged one on top of the other in descending size; glue a ball at the top of the topmost pinecone. You can snip off the end of each pinecone, if necessary, to make a flat place to glue a ball. Run twine through the hole in top ball for a hanger.
5. For a garland, use a strong sewing needle and heavy-duty thread to string tiny pinecones, alternating with red and green glass beads, until you reach the desired length.
Special thanks to Hannah Milman, the holidays and crafts editor at Martha Stewart Living, for showing us this beautiful holiday craft.
The Powderz (fine glitter) use in this segment can be found at Z Barten Productions, 800-266-3388. The tinsel (silver or gold) can be found at confetti.com. Pinecones, red Norway pine, mugo pine, scotch pine, ponderosa pine, longleaf pine, red spruce, and white spruce can be found at pineconesandpodz.com.