Pinecones look mesmerizing with their unique shapes and they offer so much for DIY crafting. The best part is that you can find them for free! They look great in a variety of settings, from rustic to contemporary and particularly lovely in autumn and winter decorations, also during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Like we mentioned in our other article, you can even create decorative flowers with them! Now, we will mention some ways to paint pinecones and offer you some ideas. After learning those, what you design is up to you. You can turn this into a fun activity with your kids as well and enjoy some family time together!
5 Common Ways to Paint the Pinecones;
1) Painting the Tips
If you want a rustic look and are secretly too lazy to paint pinecones, you will love this painting method. This method looks natural as well and is perfect for decorations, especially special days like Christmas or Thanksgiving. All you have to do is, after getting the pinecones, paint the tips only with a paintbrush in any color you fancy. You can also spice your pinecones up using glitter to the wet paint!
2) Dipping Pinecones into the Paint
Due to their unique shape, painting the pinecones as a whole, inside out, can be a burden. Therefore this technique helps us a lot. It is also really easy, maybe not as easy as the one before but, hear us out!
For this technique, you can choose to work with latex or acrylic paint. Both options are viable. Acrylic paints are chemically based, while latex paints are water-based. Also, acrylic is more expensive and only available at craft stores, but it lasts longer and comes in a wider selection of colors. On the other hand, household latex paint is less expensive and can be purchased at any hardware or home improvement store. After that, make sure you’ve chosen paint in the color that you like to paint the pinecones any color you want for a simple, lovely aesthetic.
In a bucket, bowl, or a small container; stir your paint with a stir stick to ensure that it is all of the same color and consistency, with no globs. You can stir latex paint right in the bucket because it usually comes in a bucket. However, since acrylic paint comes in tubes, you’ll need to squeeze it into a bowl to stir it.
Then, insert the end of a bamboo skewer through the pinecone’s top. Make sure the skewer is firmly secured in the pine cone. To dip the pinecone in the paint, use the skewer as a handle. Of course, you can use your hands but this is way more secure!
Now, dunk the pinecone in paint while holding the skewer. As you draw the pinecone out of the paint, shake it firmly to get rid of any extra paint. Do not forget to shake it over your paint bucket or some old newspaper to avoid getting paint spatters all over the floor!
In this next step, remove the skewer and place the pinecone on wax paper to dry. The skewer can then be inserted into the next pinecone and used to dip it in the paint. Continue until you’ve painted all of your pine cones.
Allow the pinecones to dry overnight on wax paper. Because the waxy surface of the paper absorbs less paint than other surfaces and more of the paint sticks to the pinecones. Since the scales tend to pull in on themselves when they’re moist, your pinecones may close up overnight, but that’s fine because you can reopen the pinecones in the oven if they do so. Simply heat them 30 minutes to an hour in the oven’s lowest temperature. Now you are good to go! You can pile them all into a wooden bowl for a centerpiece or create any design you like.
3) Spray Painting the Pinecones
Select a spray painting area that is open to the air. Spray painting emits toxic paint fumes that are harmful to your health. Therefore, if spray painting outside isn’t an option, make sure the place you’re working in is well-ventilated.
Spray painting can spatter a lot of paint around, especially if you’re a newbie. So, to protect the ground from spray paint, lay down newspaper, cardboard, etc. to protect whatever you’re painting.
Also, a small tip: it will be easier to paint the pinecones if they can sit erect rather than lying on their sides. So, you can cut toilet paper tubes in half using scissors or you can use small paper cups to make holders for them!
Then, shake the spray paint canister for 1 minute while holding it upside down. That may seem like a long time, but it will ensure that all of the paint has been aerosolized and is ready to spray in a constant, regular pattern.
After that, apply thin coats of spray paint to the pinecones. If you only want a mild frosty effect, one application of spray paint may suffice. Give the pinecone a few applications if you want it to look more covered. Allow the pinecones to dry on the newspaper, standing upright. We do not recommend using your fingers to check whether they dried or not because this could smudge the paint and harm your skin. Instead, give them a smell. They are all dry if you can’t smell the paint anymore!
You can decorate your pinecones as you want once they’ve dried. You can brush them with glue and glitter, use a paintbrush to add extra designs, or simply leave the pinecones alone for a plain aesthetic look. When you turn the pinecones upside down, they resemble flowers — specifically, zinnias. Using a small brush to dapple yellow paint around the center of the pinecone base, with a touch of red right in the middle, completes the zinnia effect!
4) Bleached Pinecones
Like we mentioned, the wooden look of pinecones creates a rustic vibe. If you want a more modern look, you can try bleaching pinecones. This method works if you want to paint them easily too.
Pinecone bleaching is a simple DIY that requires few supplies. Nonetheless, it takes some time. It makes no difference what kind of pinecones you use. Each pinecone species bleaches in a unique way. Also, bleaching them will not completely whiten them. They will lighten, but not completely white. It has a patina or weathered appearance (kind of like driftwood).
Fill a bucket with 2 parts water and 1 part bleach while outside or in a well-ventilated area. Do not forget to ensure you are wearing clothes you don’t mind destroying. Also, you can wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.
The pinecones will float. Therefore, placing bricks or stones on top of them helps to push them back down into the bleach water. It is possible that you’ll need to add another rock or two, as well as tuck any floaters back beneath the rocks. Allow the pinecones to soak in the bleach solution for no more than 24 hours. You can check on the process after about 12 hours. As previously stated, pinecones close up when they are wet, so if you don’t see any changes, don’t assume the method isn’t functioning. Allow them to soak in the bleach water for the full 24 hours to get the best results. If you wait much longer, the pinecones will begin to decay in some areas.
The bleached pinecones will begin to open up again once they dry. If it is a sunny day, you are lucky! You can allow them to dry completely outside. They can take a couple of days to fully open. But you can always dry them in your oven if you’re in a hurry or have a period of bad weather!
5) Painting with Whitewash
You may want a “bleached” look but do not want to play with bleach, maybe you are sensitive to it or simply want a whiter look. We still got you covered.
For this method, we will use whitewash, which is simply white paint that has been diluted. It creates a gentle aesthetic while yet displaying genuine wood, brick, or, in this example, pinecone differences and textures.
Although whitewashing pinecones is simple and quick, there are a few methods to make them look more natural, almost like actually bleached pinecones, instead of painted white pinecones.
Depending on how thick the paint is, mix 1 part water with 1 to 2 parts paint. Then just like we mentioned in the dipping part, dip the pinecones into the container that you chose until they are fully coated with whitewash.
Lift the pinecone and drip off the extra paint for 10-20 seconds before placing it on a sheet of plastic to dry. That’s all it takes to achieve this fully bleached modern look!