What Kinds of Crafts can I Make with Pine Cones?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Crafts with pine cones can be a fun activity for people of all ages, and in some regions of the world where pine trees are abundant, they are also very low cost. A variety of projects from campy to elegant can be undertaken with pine cones, which have a distinctive shape that lends itself well to crafts projects. All over the world, people make these crafts in the winter, with some nations specializing in unique pine cone crafts. Consider making them an annual family holiday tradition, using craft projects from previous years to decorate your home for the winter.

Pipe cleaners come in many colors.
Pipe cleaners come in many colors.

A pine cone is the female fruiting body of a pine tree. If fertilized, it will form seeds that will be released to grow into new trees. The distinctive multi-layered conical shape is well designed to this application, allowing seeds to drop off when they are ready. Crafts with pine cones take advantage of the fact that all conifers form cones to distribute seeds, which means that you can find them in a variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations.

Pine cones are the reproductive organs of a pine tree.
Pine cones are the reproductive organs of a pine tree.

Seasonal crafts include tree decorations. Pine cones can be used to make a tree topper, or strung together and draped around the tree, if they are small. Pine cones can be used plain for these craft projects, or decorated with glitter, paint, or varnish. If you decide to dust your pine cones in glitter, you may want to consider applying a spray adhesive to keep the glitter from shedding.

Pine cones can also be used to make bird feeders. Crafts with pine cones make fun holiday gifts, and bird feeders can be packed with goodies to attract a variety of species. Pack it with millet to attract doves and juncos, or use suet to draw woodpeckers, wrens, robins, warblers, and tanagers. Finches, cardinals, and chickadees all enjoy sunflower. For a mixture of birds, incorporate numerous seeds into your bird feeder. You can include bags of seed for refilling the bird feeder as well.

Pine cone crafts can be used for household decorating projects as well. Animals can be made out of pine cones and decorated with a variety of objects. Make a crèche with different pine cones to add dimension. Try using other parts of trees such as acorns and dried leaves to create interesting craft displays, or make a wreath out of pine cones for the front door. If you construct a sturdy wreath, you can reuse it in the coming years.

Children often enjoy doing crafts with pine cones because they require no dangerous tools, glues, or solvents. For an activity at a children's holiday party, consider supplying a table with pine cones, construction paper, pipe cleaners, and other craft tools. If you put out paint, glitter, or glue, cover the table in plastic first for easy clean up.

Construction paper can be used when crafting with pine cones.
Construction paper can be used when crafting with pine cones.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


I use glue and gliter to make really pretty decorations to put outside.


@earlyforest -- Oh, it's super easy -- and a great Xmas craft.

You start by taking your pinecones -- you can either buy them or pick some up out of your yard -- and clean them. It's important to get all the gunk off so that it doesn't interfere with the smell or drop all over your carpet.

Then you choose an essential oil. You can really choose whatever you want, but think about things that work well with pine. And if you're making Christmas decorations, then thing Christmasy scents, like cinnamon, peppermint, nutmeg, or even pine.

Then you add your cones to a ziploc bag and put a few drops of your oil in the bag. Remember, a little oil goes a long way. Shake it up until the oil goes all over the pine cones.

Then you seal the bag and let it sit for at least a week. The longer you let it sit, the stronger your smell will get, but a week is the absolute minimum.

After that you can take the pine cones out and put them on your tree -- they make an excellent Christmas ornament, as crafts go -- or arrange them in a bowl.

You can even make a few different scents and combine them, like orange and nutmeg, or pine and peppermint.

Hope it works out for you -- this is definitely one of my favorite pinecone crafts, so enjoy!


How do you make scented pine cones? I've been getting in the mood to make some Christmas decorations, and that sounds like a good project. How do I do it?


My mom was big into decorating crafts when I was young, so every single year we made Christmas crafts with pine cones.

She would come up with a new one every year, so one year we'd make a pine cone wreath, then the next year we did scented pine cones, and so on.

My favorite one though was to coat the pine cones in peanut butter for the squirrels. We did that one every year, and I still do that when I do Christmas crafts with my kids.

Definitely a memory worth passing on.

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