Pine cone wreaths are a festive fall decoration, and making one yourself is an inherently eco-friendly craft. Your family can make an adventure out of a hike or even a turn around the neighborhood by looking for and selecting pine cones, fallen twigs, pine needles, or any other material that heralds the arrival of fall. I wanted to create a fall craft that didn't require an extra trip to the arts and crafts store, so this wreath upcycles materials found around your house as well: a wire coat hanger and a piece of thick cardboard, such as the kind used in shipping boxes. Instead of creating a traditional donut shape, the underlying cardboard allows you to fill in the wreath (shh: it's almost much less tricky to add additional materials). The coat hanger also makes hanging the finished wreath a cinch. Happy fall crafting!
1. Gather your materials.
Go on a nature walk, preferably with the whole family, and pick up fallen pine cones, pine needles, interesting twigs, acorns, etc. Any of these fallen and found items can be incorporated into this wreath.
2. Bake the pine cones.
This step is optional, but if you are planning on having the wreath indoors for any amount of time or if your pine cones are sticky, it is recommended. The wreath will also likely last a bit longer. In order to remove any little creatures that could be hiding in the pine cones as well as to get rid of the sticky sap, bake the pine cones in the oven on a sheet of aluminum foil for about 20 minutes at 200 degrees F. Remove from the oven and let cool. After the pine cones have cooled, if you want to add glitter or paint them, you can also do so at this point.
3. Make the wreath shape.
Bend an old coat hanger to a rounded (or approximately rounded) shape. You can probably do this with your hands, but you can use pliers if needed to get the desired shape. Cut out a piece of cardboard or other strong backing material into the same shape of the wreath. I used an old shipping box. When you have finished gluing everything on your wreath, you can trim the cardboard so that it is not exposed.
4. Glue the outer rim of the wreath.
First, using a hot glue gun, attach the coat hanger to the cardboard. This will give the wreath extra strength and shape. Next, add your first layer of pine cones to create the shape of the wreath.
5. Continue filling the wreath.
Using whatever found material you like, continue filling in the wreath by gluing the pieces to the existing wreath shape. You can also glue the objects to the cardboard for extra stability. You can stagger different types of pine cones and other fauna, add pops of green branches, etc. If you want to attach the pine cones or any object so that it pops out, use a knife or scissors to carefully make small holes in the cardboard. The holes provide a place for you to stick the bottom end of the pine cone or object, letting it “stand.” Secure with additional glue.
6. Add a bow or any other decorations.
Using the glue gun, attach a bow, ribbon, or (for the holidays) ornament balls. Let glue dry completely.
7. Hang the wreath.
Using the curved part of the coat hanger, hang the wreath on the door or wherever you would like to bring in some fall cheer.