Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pine Cone Christmas Trees

Many years ago I saw a picture of these trees in one of Southern Living's Christmas Books (Christmas With Southern Living).  There wasn't a tutorial or anything, and I don't know if I still have the book or not. I loaned several of my collection of these books to a friend and she still has them. I wish she read my blog - maybe I could shame her into returning them to me . . . 



Anyway - several years later I brought home a bunch of large pine cones that Mr Quirky's mother had been collecting from a tree in her front yard. I figured it was time to put together a few of those trees I had seen years before.  Several hours and about 50 hot glue burns on my hands and legs later I had myself a beautiful pine cone tree. I have now made over 30 of these trees and still have two large Rubbermaid tubs filled with pine cones to make a few hundred more. I just love these trees. 


They are just like a perfectly natural fake tree! I like them in bunches . . .


Would you like to make some of your own?  

Get some BIG ass pine cones.
Take out your not so nice needle nose pliers (not the ones your husband uses on the computer and for other special stuff). Start pulling off the bracts (or blades) one by one until you have a LOT of them. Some of these will pull completely out, some will break off - either way you're OK. You will get a bunch of large ones from the bottom and middle of the cone and smaller ones from the top 1/3 of the cone. You will use the smaller ones for the top part of the tree.

Get some tree forms. Until last year I always used the various sizes of styrofoam cones wrapped in grocery bag paper. Last year I found a paper mache tree at JoAnn or Hobby Lobby and tried one of those. They are easier, but I've only seen the one size. That's bad because pine cone trees don't all grow the same size.



Lay your foam tree down on the grocery bag and wrap it in the paper bag.
Be sure to roll the tree so that the paper extends over the blunted tip of the cone. Pine cone trees are pointed and do NOT have square tops on them. Do not be so gauche as to make a flat topped Pine Cone tree. Big mistake.  When you have a cone wrapped around the form, cut off the excess paper and tape up the side. Leave extra paper at the bottom of the tree - a couple of inches.



Cut the overhanging paper every two inches or so and fold the pieces in towards the center of the bottom of the tree. Tape closed or use straight pins. Then your tree looks like this:



If you have a paper mache tree you don't have to wrap it, but paper is best for the styrofoam trees because it covers the white or green color, and also works much better for gluing than the styrofoam does. I just hate gluing on styrofoam!

Start at the bottom and glue the bracts onto the tree with hot glue. You need a bit of glue here, but not too much because then it drips down and looks ugly on the tree! Be sure you glue them on as close to each other as possible. Try to avoid letting the paper show through (like I did in the picture below). Real pine cone trees don't have paper showing through! Also - when you start the first row of bracts let the tips of them hang over the edge of the bottom of the tree. This keeps the bottom of the tree from showing and looking ugly. We don't want ANY ugly trees out there!
As you get to the top of the tree use smaller and more narrow bracts. At the tip of the tree you can insert a pine cone tip into the little bitty hole that the wrapped paper creates at the top of the tree. Use smaller and smaller bracts the closer you get to the tip of the tree. Tip: on the very bottom of the pine cone there are some miniature bracts that work really well at the top of the trees.  Most of the trees below are using these small bracts for the tips.



The last and VERY IMPORTANT step is to get out your hair dryer or heat gun and melt away all the glue gun hairs that will be hanging all over the trees.

If you want the bottom of your tree to be finished off, cut a circle of vinyl, leather or felt and glue to the bottom of the tree.

You can make these trees fancy by painting the tips with snow or glitter. I have one I painted silver and sprinkled with glitter.  It is really tall - and skinny.  I guess the options are unlimited, but I kinda like mine plain. They're just pretty that way.



Hope your Christmas decorating adventures are going well. This spattering of trees on the mantle is about all I have completed  - and I'm not even sure these trees will stay here.  We'll see. I have about 30 other trees (I collect them) and it takes a while to figure out where to put them all.

Make something wonderful today!

Karen

I'm taking my trees to lots of parties:
Funky Junk
Hyphen Interiors
My Heart
Debbie Doos 
Coastal Charm 
Beyond The Picket Fence 
The DIY Dreamer
Stilettos In The Mud 
Savvy Southern Style 
Shanty2Chic 
The Space Between 

39 comments:

Mary Beth said...

These are awesome ~ Love your display.

miss flibbertigibbet said...

Karen, those look just great! I remember those from Southern Living! I love them all in bunches like that! I hope you're selling those things because they're a lot of trouble to make and most folks would rather buy them I bet! I'm doing a Linky party with some other bloggers from every region of the US. Pretty soon (can't remember which week, we'll be having a Decor and also a DIY week! You need to link those trees!
Your mantel looks great!

Cathy @ My 1929 Charmer said...

Wow Karen these are really nice and pretty. I love how you have grouped them and your mantel vignette is oh so pretty! Real awesomeness!

sallgood said...

So pretty! Thanks for sharing!

Marti Cooper said...

Those are beautiful! They look so elegant on your mantle. I'm a new follower and enjoyed your blog.

I currently have a blog party posted and would love for you to take them to my party too! :)

http://sew-licious.blogspot.com/2012/11/show-licious-craft-showcase-9-blog-party.html

Marti

Little Miss Maggie said...

Karen, these trees are incredible! How long does it take to make them? I have access to a lot of big old pinecones so maybe I will go borrow a few.

Rhissanna said...

These are really wonderful! I bet they feel nice, too, all nubbly. Thank you for the instructions and thank you, double, for the hair dryer glue strings tip!

Colleen said...

OMG I Love them trees and your mantel is gorgeous. Absolutely Stunning.
Thank you for the step by step instructions. Now, if only I had some pinecones laying around.
ColleenB.

Jana@Transformations From the Heart said...

Your pine cone trees look absolutely gorgeous! I have a ton of pine cones and have plans to make some of these too. Great tip about to blow dryer, will have to remember that next time I use the glue-gun.

Karen Albert said...

Karen I love these gorgeous trees. The natural look is perfect! I wish you were selling them, I don't have Pine Cones near me!

xoxo
Karena
2012 Artists Series

Katie Drane said...

What a clever idea and so nicely done! I'm so glad to be your newest follower, I love your blog:)

Katie
www.funhomethings.com

Bliss said...

You just earned the patient blogger award. But they were certainly worth it.

Bliss

Liz Vickerman said...

wow! these are simply gorgeous karen! so glad i stopped by, your page is inspirational!

hope you're well :)

Pendra said...

Amazing! They are so organic and such wonderful texture...I think I'd leave them up all year! You must have tremendous patience...30 trees. Thanks for the tutorial, I am so gonna try this!
Crafty Hugs,
Pendra

Carlene @ Organized Clutter said...

Love your pinecone trees. I am pinning.

DIY Show Off said...

Beautiful pinecone trees, Karen! Thanks for sharing your tutorial!

Laurie said...

I love your trees. A bunch of them make such a beautiful statement. The more, the merrier! I'm visiting from Beneath My Heart's linky party.
http://www.laurieslittlebitsofcreativity.com/

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Those are really pretty and what a lot of work to create them. They look lovely on the mantel. Thanks for sharing.

The Crochetette said...

These are awesome! I have many pine cones in my yard and I want to make some for my fireplace.. Thanks for the tutorial.Hugs!

Donna Huisinga said...

These are very pretty. I love them.

Debbie@Mountain Breaths said...

These are fabulous! I am going to start looking for big pinecones so I can make some ;o)

Cecilia Bramhall said...

Those are amazing! I love them...I need to find some big pinecones, I think!

SweetPepperRose said...

We have some of those BIG pine cones thank goodness!
Nice project!

Dear Emmeline said...

these are wonderful Karen! pinning these to remember!

Wild Oak Designs said...

I adore them! What patience you have and you are so creative! Love them. You should sell them on Etsy!!
Nancy
http://wildoakdesigns.blogspot.com

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

Love, love, love those trees!!! Now I've got to go find me some BIG pine cones to make my own. Thanks for sharing!

Lynn said...

I just love the tree's, I think I will try and make some this weekend. I have 2 pine tree's in my yard, might as well put them to good use! I joined your lovely blog and will be back to visit. Hugs, Lynn

~ Liz ~ said...

Okay, that sure looks like a lot of work (and hazardous to the fingertips) but wow, really worth it. (easy for me to say; it's not my fingertips - however, I did recently bleach my fingertips off, and it was worth it for the result I got with my cleaning project, so I guess I can say that.) Anyway, these are so simply beautiful, a great idea I might try next year - when my fingertips have regenerated. :)
Liz

Christine said...

CONGRATS!!
You have been featured at The DIY Dreamer... From Dream To Reality! Come on over and grab your featured button.. you deserve it :)
http://thediydreamer.com/from-dream-to-reality/from-dream-to-reality-linky-party-46/

Liz said...

WOW, your trees look really great!! Nice job! Liz

Heather Inspired said...

Oh, your trees look lovely - you've done a wonderful job with them! I have this linked to my pine cones post too today, for inspiration!

MommyMandi M said...

I just found you through a Linky Party and I LOVE these trees... So rustic and natural! Thanks for the great idea. I'm happy to be your latest follower and would love to see you at my blog too (http://naptimemeanscrafttime.blogspot.com). Have a great day! :)

Mandi

Athena at Minervas Garden said...

These pine cone trees are just beautiful--thank you so much for sharing your great tutorial!

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

holy moly that was a lot of work!!! so worth it- they look amazing!!

Karah @ thespacebetweenblog said...

these are seriously amazing!! i love that you used nature, and they are definitely worth the work!!

Kristi L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristi L (Digital Cake) said...

OMG I love this so so much! I'm pinning this for next year's Christmas, but I'm not sure if I can wait that long!

Amit Chaturvedi said...

Very nice love this tree.

JoAnn SweetPepperRose said...

Hi saw your post on hometalk - LOVE these little trees! I made some with paulownia seed pods. These are next on my list!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...