Pine cones open and close depending on the heat and moisture content of their surroundings. It's the female pine cones that open and close, and they do so to release their seeds. Once they're off the tree, the cones can be made to open by placing them in a warm oven, then close up again by putting them in water. Pine cones are one of nature's natural bounties, and are a versatile medium for the crafter.
Take a large pine cone and pull some of the stalks off to make random gaps around the body. Cut circles out of scraps of fabric. The size of the circles will depend on the size of the gaps you make between the pine cone scales, but give them a diameter of at least two or three times the length of the gap. Make yoyos by sewing around the edge with a small running stitch, then pulling one end of the thread to gather the fabric and form a pouch. Stuff a little cotton wadding into the pouch and squeeze it flat, then make a couple of stitches over each other to secure the gathers and hold the wadding in place. Use a heat gun to glue the wadding circles into the gaps made in the pine cone. Finish the pincushion by gluing a felt base to the bottom of the pine cone.
Wreathes and Table Centerpieces
To make a wreath you'll need a ring base to hold the pine cones. Make this yourself either with stiff wire bent into a circle or shape one with modeling clay. Both open and closed small pine cones look beautiful glued around the frame and interspersed with Holly leaves, berries or small sparkly baubles for a Christmas wreath. Small pine cones glued into a circle and glittered on the tips of the stalks become a simple-to-make candle support for a table center decoration. Use a coaster as a base, or stand the candle-surround on a small plate.
Long, narrow pine cones are the ideal shape to turn into angels. Glue a small wooden ball, or a large bead, to the flat end to make the head, and use silk flower petals as wings. Use them on the Christmas tree, or make an angel mobile by hanging a few from a wire frame. Make glittery ornaments for the tree with small pine cones by dipping or rolling the cone in craft glue then sprinkling glitter over it before the glue dries.
Glue pine cones together into a circular base, standing them on their flat ends and allowing some of the scales to interlock. How many pine cones you need depends on how large you want the tree. Continue to make circles of cones, each one slightly smaller than the previous one, and glue them on top of each other so that the shape tapers as it reaches the top. The top of the pine cone Christmas tree will be just one single cone.
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