paint-dipped pine cones

Do you read Smile and Wave?  Rachel is one of my creative favorites because she’s so real and approachable and fun and just living life like the rest of us, and sharing cool stuff.

Well last month she shared a paint dipped pine cone garland and the image was burned into my mind.  Must. Do!

The only problem is that living in Texas….there aren’t a lot of pine cones around.   I guess that’s true for many of you too.  Thankfully stores like Joanns and Home Depot carry those potent cinnamon pine cones at the holidays.  So I picked up a couple bags, left them in the car while we shopped, and immediately regretted the decision.  The fumes pounded my head!  So I left them in the garage for a week, then brought them in the house in this darling (Target) basket. And you know…..they’re wonderful!  The scent is much more subtle now.

I’m rambling.

So.  Yesterday I got my pine cone on and dipped away.  And they’re gorgeous.  Rustic and homemade.  Real inviting.

And suuuuper messy.  I applaud Rachel for tackling this with her kids.  I don’t have the patience.

But I stuck with it and when we hung them up, Lucy said they looked like a smile.

Yes!  Smile and Wave hello!

Want to get your mess on too?
Check out Rachel’s tutorial!
And here are my added notes:
• It’s messy.  Oh yea, I already said that.  I would line the entire table with wax paper or something you can throw away afterward.  And you know….you could spray paint the pine cones and it would be much cleaner.  But the dipping gives it a real homey and less-perfect look, which I love.
Use disposable containers for dipping so you can throw them away instead of washing.  Just my own preference here.  Also, it was hard to find containers wide enough to dip the pine cones so I used bowls and they were great.
Paint: 3 small bottles of acrylic craft paint made about 6 pinecones (acrylic paint is cheap, about 75 cents each. I wish I’d purchased more of the blue).  The gold paint turned out best. I love the way it shines in the sun!  I used a large bottle of DecorArt Elegant Finish, metallic paint from Hobby Lobby.  The white paint was an old can of wall paint that was a bit goopy.  And I regret using it because it gooped up too much on the pine cones.  They still look pretty though.
• Dipping.  It was hard to get my pine cones fully immersed in
the paint, so I found that dipping the bottom and then using a spoon to
drizzle and paint worked well.
• Shiny finish: If
you want a bit more shine to the acrylic paint (the blue was
flat/matte), spray the finished pinecones with a clear lacquer spray.  I
had some wood finishing type stuff.  Worked great.

• Tying pine cones to the garland.  Okay this was the hardest part for me.  Not sure  how Rachel did it…but first I tried tying the long string of twine to each pine cone.  No good.  It was hard and difficult to space them evenly.  Next I tied small pieces of twine around the tops of each pine cone separately and then tied those strings to a longer string.  Much better.   I clipped the ends of the strings after attaching the pine cones and was able to shift them after hanging the garland so everything was even.
• The finished garland is heavy.  So keep that in mind when hanging it!  I hammered two nails into the wall (Casey loves that) and tied the twine ends around the nails.  So far, so good.

With Halloween put away and Christmas on-deck, this is the perfect understated decor for a month of Thanksgiving.

See them when you come, see them when you go.
Just smile and wave.
Thank you Rachel!

  1. 1) Andrea Mette

    Where did you get your “hello” yellow word? I would love to get one.

    Thanks 🙂

  2. oh so cute! i love smile & wave, one of my very favorite blogs too.

    last year i spray painted a bunch of pinecones gold and they look really great put into clear vases on the mantel — works for fall and winter decor! love these too, though; maybe the kids and I need to go on a pinecone hunt. 😉

  3. 5) Brenda

    This reminds me of some ornaments I made two Christmases ago by spray painting a ton of pinecones metallic gold…they make nice gift-toppers for family and friends, and they reflect the Christmas tree lights nicely. The paint is a fun twist, thanks for sharing!

  4. 6) Betsy C.

    I have a big bag of giant pinecones I’ve been collecting for awhile and an indoor camping party for one of my children this weekend…looks like I need to go buy some paint! I love this project and your pinecones turned out fabulously.

  5. I immediately wanted to do this tutorial when I saw it on Smile and Wave. I bought the paint and then started searching my yard for pine cones. We’re in Houston and have 13 pine trees in our yard. Then I got frustrated cause I couldn’t find any delightfully perfect pine cones, most had been crunched or eaten by squirrels. BUT I think you may have reignited my passion to do this project. We’re off to collect pine cones. 🙂

  6. Last year my girls and I painted a basket of pinecones orange and black for Halloween and they looked so beautiful. A simple, fun and inexpensive at-home project to do with the kids.

    Additionally, your photo of the pinecone with the dripping white paints is so wonderful.

  7. If you don’t have disposable bowls, turn a large plastic zip bag inside out and slip a deep bowl inside of it without zipping it closed and use the bag as a bowl liner. I try to center the bag’s bottom seam in the middle of the bowl for an even amount of liner all around the bowl. When you’re all done, pull the bowl out while flipping the bag right-side out, zip the messy paint inside, and toss. There is no easier way to clean a child’s paint project!

  8. 11) Kim

    I have seen this done by filling a cheap plastic container with paint (wall paint) and then putting the pinecones in and shaking them. It completely coats the pine cones. Yours look great Dana!

  9. 12) Jenny

    Hi! I was wondering what is the blue paint? it’s so pretty!

  10. I have a huge, HUGE box full of huge, HUGE pinecones from when we lived in Florida. I made a giant wreath and have been holding onto the rest forever. I throw a fit every spring when my husband tries to throw them out. I think I need to make them all gold!

  11. You made me laugh so much about the stink from the shop-bought pinecones. Is there not some Texas equivalent you could gather? Great idea though. x

  12. Cute! I wish I could send you some of our pine cones. We have loads in our front yard. I was planning on spray painting some for our Christmas tree before it got cold! Yipes. Maybe a warm day will pop up soon so I still can. I am kind of on decorations strike right now until Christmas. This garland is simple enough though and the perfect festive touch.

  13. 16) Eva Scott

    I saw her tutorial too a while back and just did this to get ready for my Christmas decor

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