I’ve always loved making things at Christmas time. Whether it’s baking cookies, or making salt dough ornaments – Christmas for me always means creating something! And this year, my big craft was this winter wonderland wreath!
I actually made a pinecone wreath in the same way about 5-6 years ago when I was back in Canada. I had always intended to make it snowy, but chickened-out. See, I was worried that I was going to mess it up, and you can’t really go back once you start painting pinecones. It already looked nice just brown, so I ended up leaving it.
But this time, I was determined to get the snowy wreath I had pictured! And you know what? It turned out amazing!!!
I find that it’s rare when a craft turns out exactly as awesome as I intended it to be. I tend to have these grandiose ideas, which never execute quite as well as I hoped. I mean, they look good, just not exactly like my imagination. But not this wreath!! It’s almost better than I pictured it! But the bad part is that I have no where to store it!
I promised Richard (when I first started gathering pinecones) that we could throw it out at the end of the year (can you compost hot glue?!). But, now that it’s done… I am not sure I can bear the thought! Anyone else want to give it a home once Christmas is over?!
Anyways, back to the tutorial!
This wreath is dead simple, and just takes time. It’s also super cheap if you can get a good deal on hot glue sticks (it used a ton!).
Oh, and a tip for you – take a couple of large pinecones and remove the individual scales. Then, glue a line of these around the edges (inside and out) of your wreath before you start gluing down pinecones. Both times I made this wreath, I ended up with visible cardboard along the edge. I ended up gluing a combination of individual pine scales and tiny hemlock cones along both edges to fill the gap. But, if you wanted to do it first, it would definitely be easier. Up to you!
That’s the gap I was talking about above, and below shows it filled in with hemlock cones and a few scales.
Oh, and the pinecones? Well the best time of year to gather them is actually the summer (weird, right?). That is when they are ripe and fall off the tree all nice and open. But who makes pinecone crafts in the summer?! So if, like me, you are hunting for them in fall or winter, here is a tip – bake them!
That’s right! To open up green pinecones (and get rid of sap and any little crawlies you may have picked up) you bake them in the oven at a low temp! Simply line a couple baking sheets/tins with foil and place your pinecones in a single layer. Then you bake them at 100-110°C (200-230°F) for about an hour. Depending on how many you have, and how open they are, it can take a bit more time.
I just went to the park one day and collected all different kinds of cones – pine, fir, cedar, hemlock, etc. The tiny hemlock ones were perfect for filling in the gaps later. I had about four oven trays worth for my wreath.
Warning, it’ll make your oven smell like pine for a bit, but it’ll fade pretty quick once you cook anything else. I haven’t noticed any lingering smell, and nothing I made after tasted like pine.
So, once you have a nice big bowl of pinecones ready, you can make this wreath!
- Hot glue gun + glue sticks (I forgot to count how many I used, but would guess about 30 mini ones?)
- Stiff cardboard as big as your desired wreath
- Pinecones (lots!)
- White craft paint
- Clear-drying craft glue (I used some wood glue I had lying around)
- Cheap paint brush
- Fake snow
- Ribbon for hanging (I got mine on Etsy)
- Measure how large you want your wreath to be, and cut it out of some stiff cardboard. If your wreath isn’t strong enough, cut out two layers and hot glue together.
- [Optional] Glue a line of pine scales along the inside and outside edge of your wreath.
- Glue down a ring of similar sized pinecones along the inside and outside edges, overhanging a bit.
- Continue to fill the wreath with a variety of pinecones, adding depth.
- Fill in any gaps along the edge or middle of the wreath with little cones, like hemlock.
- Using a dry brush (with only a little paint), dab all over the pinecones to give them a frosted look. Let dry.
- Figure out which way you want to hang the wreath, so that you can add snow where it would naturally sit. Using the same brush, dab craft glue along the tops of some of the pinecones. Sprinkle over fake snow.
- Add as much snow as you want, piling it on the ‘tops’ of the larger pinecones. Lift up the wreath and shake to remove excess. Warning – it’ll make a mess!
- Add ribbon and hang.
You can see how light my paint application was above. The left shows without, and the right is with paint. Use a really dry brush, and stipple it on the tips of the cones.
Et voila! A gorgeous wintry wreath that’ll add a touch of snow to your Christmas, no matter where you live! I only wish that my door was outside (and prettier), so that more people could see it!