This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in November 2012.
Wreath-craft can take any number of forms, I think that’s what’s so great about it. No one’s entryway has to look quite the same when you take time to create your own design.
One of my favorite wreaths from holiday past is this one, a grape vine wreath ornamented with painted pine cones. I made it myself with minimal expense, and you can too.
I made this project easy on myself by using many materials that I already had on hand. Ironically, the only thing I had to buy new were the pine cones, but I’d hedge a quick bet that many of you could find them for free in your own backyard:
- A grapevine wreath (mine was handmade and handed down by my parents, whose property is graced with massive grape vines)
- Leftover paint, or inexpensive paint samples
- Pine cones (I bought a pack at the craft store for $5)
- Fine gauge wire
The act of dipping pine cones into a vat of paint took a little getting used to, but was much more thorough and quick than attempting to paint by hand. Think of your pine cones as easter eggs, and come up with a solution for controllably dropping them into the paint and also pulling them out. For me, a thin piece of wire seemed to work best, just make sure that it’s tied or bound tightly, because the pine cone ends up being pretty weighted down when it’s fully coated in paint.
I found that oil-based paints were easier to use because the paint had a tendency to coat well and still drip off quickly. I chose dark gray and silver oil-based paints from my own arsenal for most of my cones, but tested white latex paint on a few as well. The latex cones were noticeably thicker and heavier, and took longer to completely dry. You’re going to want to make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area if you’re using any kind of VOC paint, but make note that if you’re using oil-based paints, they’re especially vile on the senses.
Using the wire as a dipping mechanism also served well in that it gave me a way to hang dry the pine cones that were still attached to it.
I let these pine cones ventilate and dry for several days, but when they were done, they looked fantastic.
Using the same exact wire, I was able to wrap the pine cones one-by-one to the grape vine wreath. I bundled them tightly into one area for a weighted look, but go ahead, tie them where ever you want (even consider adding some regular, unpainted pine cones like I did, or evergreen branches, trimmings of holly, or spray-on snow for a lush effect).
The finished piece hung so nicely on my door for all of the winter months.