Last year I decided to spruce up my holiday decor with pine cones. I had it all planned out:
Step 1: Gather pine cones.
Step 2: Decorate pine cones.
Step 3: Decorate house with decorated pine cones.
Simple and easy.
One of my husband’s clients even took the work out of Step 1 by sending me two huge garbage bags filled with pine cones.
I figured I would complete everything in about an hour, sip on eggnog and admire my beautiful homemade pine cone decorations with a warm fire glowing in the background.
Isn’t that a pretty picture?
That image didn’t last too long.
I knew that I wanted to spray paint my pine cones, and turned to Pinterest to get ideas on the best way to do it and the best spray paint to use. If you’re a Pinterest user, you know that one search leads to another, and I started to browse the pins labeled ‘More like this’.
That’s when I came across a pin titled, ‘How to Prepare Pine Cones for Crafts’. It was written by a blogger named Bren of BrenDid.
Bren, you shook my world. This was going to take a little longer than I thought.
I’ll let you read Bren’s post for the details, but it turns out that pine cones need to be washed before being used as indoor decorations.
WASHED?! Goodbye eggnog and warm fire.
Apparently, bringing unwashed pine cones inside welcomes mold, mildew and little critters into your home. Critters and eggnog are not a good mix.
As much as possible, I attempt to avoid harmful chemicals in my home, and the thing that drew me to Bren’s instructions is the fact that she didn’t use any chemicals to clean the pinecones. Vinegar and water did the trick for cleaning.
“Project Pinecone” as I playfully dubbed this process, became a bit of a science lesson for me. When I placed the pine cones in the vinegar and water solution, they closed up.
Who knew? Surely not someone more familiar with palm trees than pine cones.
After they dried overnight, the next step was for the cleaned pinecones to spend a few hours in the oven. The pine cones opened up as they baked (science lesson No. 2) and during the baking process, my home smelled amazing!
Finally! A step where I could sip on eggnog.
In preparation for spraying my pinecones, I visited Lowe’s the day before (during the pine cone drying process) to find metallic spray paint. I always visit the clearance area at the front of the store first, and happened to find one of the colors I needed at a savings of 60%. That made up for having to purchase the other color at full price.
An old bedsheet, two canisters of spray paint and a couple boxes of baked pine cones accompanied me outside for Step 2. I didn’t spray all of the pine cones, because I had a project in mind that involved a more natural look.
The colors I chose to spray paint my pine cones were metallic gold and silver, and the finished product was much prettier than I expected.BUDGET FRIENDLY DECORATIONS
We all know that Christmas can be an expensive time of the year.
I had plans to display my decorated pine cones both indoors and outdoors and needed containers that fit my decorating style and my budget.
One of my year round savings hacks is to sign up for email and/or text messages from my favorite stores. I never know when a sale or deal will be sent to me, and even if I’m on the go, most stores accept coupons on my phone.
A day or two after I finished Project Pine Cone, JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores sent me a text message about a holiday Doorbuster sale for 60% off holiday decor.
I browsed the aisles at JOANN and found everything I needed to make the decorations of my dreams for my pine cones.
Indoor decorations — galvanized holiday lanterns and string lights
Outdoor decorations — wooden holiday crates, greenery, and string lights
The results were beyond my expectations. This was a Pinterest win!
The pine cones went well with everything, and I updated my holiday decor without breaking the bank. When it was time to take my Christmas decorations down, everything was very easy to store.
I surprised myself with this project because I do not consider myself an “artsy-craftsy” person. I just wanted to try something outside of my comfort zone.
The pinecones that were left over from my first group of projects helped me decorate again in 2020. I used an existing can of gold spray paint and some greenery to create 2 centerpieces.
Gold pinecones combined with natural pinecones created beautiful Christmas decorations.
Will a budget friendly DIY project be a part of your decor this holiday season?