Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Snow Covered Pine Cone Wreath

This is my winter wreath.

 I made it myself using stuff I had around the property and house (except for the birds, which were a buck for two at Dollar Tree and the base of the wreath which was an old grapevine wreath I picked up from the Salvation Army for fifty cents). 

I think half the fun of this whole project was that the pine cones and sticks came off our 1 plus acre.  Did you know that you can prepare pine cones yourself?  After picking them, lay them out on wax paper on a cookie sheet and bake them.  The pitch melts into a pretty gloss that is no longer sticky and the heat also bakes out any tiny bugs or anything living inside them.  I need to check online to see what recommended times are but it might vary depending on your pine cones' sizes and types.

I baked these at 375 for about 20 minutes.  That worked.

I affixed the pine cones onto this old grapevine wreath.  As I mentioned, I bought mine at the Salvation Army for super cheap.  If you want a brand new one, you can always purchase one at Michaels, Hobby Lobby or a craft store like that.  They vary in price according to size.  I really recommend thrift stores for a wreath base for this project, because no one is ever going to see what you used.  A styrofoam one would work, too.

I used hot glue to glue them on--it took surprisingly more pine cones than I expected, because I felt it was important to cover as much as I could of the old wreath base.  And as you can see, I glued them all going in the same direction: clockwise.

Next, I went and foraged for sticks.

Seriously, I went out and found these sticks on our property.  I don't know what kind they are because we haven't lived here all year yet.  But probably, almost any kind of stick would work.  Mine were a little more fragile than I'd prefer.  

I added them in near the back of the wreath, all added clockwise.
The birds I picked up from Dollar Tree, two for a buck.

I hung this as it was for a while.  But I kept thinking I wanted to add some snow to it, somehow.  I just didn't know what to use.  I wanted it to look legit.  The only thing I could find to add snow to pine cones was just white paint.  I wanted a better texture than white paint.

I decided to just try mixing some salt with this glossy acrylic white paint I happened to have on hand.

I mixed about a half a cup of salt with about half the bottle of paint.  I'd recommend starting with less when you do it because the salt keeps soaking up the paint and you have to keep adding paint to your mixture to make it spreadable.

BUT the point is this worked, and it worked really well.  I'm totally going to use these two again when I need legit looking snow that will harden and still look cool.  In fact...I have at least one other pine cone project I'm planning on using it on coming up shortly. 

I used a popsicle stick to apply my snow.  It actually worked really well.  I just slid it along the pine cones and could shape the snow with it as well.

Now this is the tedious part.  You really want to take your time with this and make sure you cover all the pine cones.  I covered the sticks, too, and I am so glad I did.

 As you do this, try to be aware of how normal snow would fall.  You know, there should be more piled up where the birds would sit and on the very top of the wreath.  Be aware that this is a messy job.  I actually hung the wreath over the inside of my kitchen door and 
dropped some paper underneath so my "snow" could fall on it.  I should have thought ahead and worn a craft shirt or something, because at the end of this job, I was sprinkled with little flecks of snow salt.           

I decided that I wasn't crazy about the look of  my birds, so I pulled out their eyes (these were just little pins), painted their heads red, and and added slick black puffy paint (pictured) to make little black eyes.  I also used this to color their beaks black.  I liked this better.  If you were starting out and had the option to purchase cardinals, that's probably a good option.  I think the splash of red on these guys really makes them pop on the snow covered wreath.
Once again, here's the finished product.  Yay!  A wintery pine cone wreath--  I love it!


Anonymous said...

Very cool

Anonymous said...

Love the birds and the snow might use it this Christmas!!!!

Christina Morrison said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)

Christina Morrison said...

That's awesome! :) Thanks!

Susan said...

Adorable! I'll use this as inspiration for wreaths to make for a craft fair.