Instead of buying and later having to store a stock pile of Christmas decorations (which is not hassle free!), I thought it would be fun to start a yearly family tradition of pinecone gathering and decorating. My daughter had a blast collecting pinecones at the park. (Also, I like to think the groundskeepers appreciate having fewer pinecones to mow over!).
Once we brought the pinecones home, we baked them in the oven to kill any bugs and to dry out the sap. We cooked them on foil-lined baking sheets.
Bonus: This will make your house smell like an evergreen forest. Perfect winter time scent!
GET CREATIVE AND HAVE FUN!
The next step is to be creative and decorate.
The following are a few ideas to get you started. Some you may want to do on your own, and others you can get the kids more involved.
Paint it Gold
My new obsession is gold spray paint! I used one coat of paint (Rust-Oleum in metallic bright gold) on some of the pinecones. Love love love. You can decorate your tree with these, or use them around your house.
Wrap it with a Bow
We tossed some gold painted cones and some unpainted cones together into a vase and tied a ribbon around the vase. (We tried going all gold, but it was a bit overwhelming, and all brown was a little boring.) Easy peasy centerpiece or shelf decoration.
You can find this type of vase in most floral departments. As a bonus, you can use your vase year round for centerpieces. Dump out the pinecones when you are done with them and use your vase for the next season. Fill it with colorful Easter eggs in the spring, citrus fruit in the summer, and gourds in the fall.
Create a Winter Wonderland
Roll the pinecones around in some white paint, and you've got an instant snow-covered look. Tip: It may be easiest to hold the pine cone from the bottom for this.
If you are really ambitious, after the paint dries, you can roll the pinecones around in some glue, and then sprinkle on some Epson salt to add texture.