Friday, March 10, 2017

Craft: Easter or Spring Equinox Painted Pinecones

Can you feel spring approaching? To me, spring means color, and actually crafting with my kids because we can do it outside where cleanup is easier.

March 20th (2017) is the spring equinox!

Easter Sunday will be April 16th (2017)!

This time of year I'm always picking up pine cones and raking (oh, joy...) and one year a friend asked me what I was going to do with them. Um, set them out for yard trash pickup? Obviously? We had tried to do some crafts with pine cones in the past and found that they were too, well, pokey! Peanut butter and bird seed works pretty well, but what else could you possibly...

Oh! Paint! My kids love to paint!

We picked up over a hundred pine cones and ended up painting them all between the "four" of us. I say "four" because one is a toddler and only painted parts of hers. As you do.

TIP: Wash and dry the pine cones to get rid of bugs and dirt. The pine cones will close up like this first:

Dry them in the oven or microwave to open them up again:

Cleanest Pine Cones in the Universe.

Our most successful method (pictured at the top of the post) uses tempera / whatever kid paint you have and sponges. Sponging was SO easy and we hardly noticed the sharp bits. Go ahead and glop that paint on if you're using tempera. For a quick project, you can skip washing and drying the pine cones and use washable paints. For a more crafty, durable project, wash, dry, and use acrylic paint and a finishing clear poly coat. (Did you know you are also supposed to wash and dry acorns before painting them?)

Sponging also worked best for "snow" pine cones!
They look even better in person!

If you want these to hang outside, you will want to use a spray sealer. When we did this, some of our paint dissolved -- disappeared right off the pine cone!

Now... you are probably wondering about spray painting the pine cones to begin with. That is actually what we did first because my oldest can operate spray cans and I thought that would be the best method. The spray paint then turned into "my" project to touch up what he had started, and another run to the store for more glitter paint. So, while the final product does look nice, it was a lot harder and cost 5 times as much because where we used only a little of the regular liquid paint, we used up four entire bottles of glitter spray paint. The pine cones kept moving around while I was trying to spray them and I felt more like I was attacking them than painting them.

They have a beautiful silver glitter finish ranging from a light dusting to "did you dip that?"

The red looks more impressive in person but not as nice as the silver.

If you do go with spray paint, I'd pick silver and maybe gold unless you are going to go really crazy and do a white coat underneath first. At that point you'll be spending several dollars a pine cone!

In hind sight, the sponges were more kid-friendly even though you hold the pine cones to do it. I'm happy with how all of them turned out but will probably never use spray paint on a pine cone ever again (except maybe to seal it).

To hang them as ornaments, hand-screw in eye screws and tie on ribbon. Or skip all that and lay them in a neat basket or bowl as a center piece.

Let's look at that finished product again...

Perfect for an Easter tree!