Pine cone Christmas craft ideas: 9 festive decorations to try

Make these pine cone Christmas craft ideas and enjoy an eco-friendly holiday

hands holding scissors and cutting twine with pine cones on table
(Image credit: Kanur Ismail / 500px / GettyImages)

These pine cone Christmas craft ideas are guaranteed to fit your festive aesthetic this season. The humble pine cone is such a versatile object when it comes to both indoor and outdoor Christmas decor ideas

If you're able to forage for pine cones in your own backyard then you should take advantage of these, but there are also lots of fallen pine cones at your disposal in local parks, forests and green spaces. Just make sure you pick up the ones that look healthy, and are not broken or excessively dirty. 

There are plenty of kid-friendly craft ideas to transform pine cones into cheery and characterful decorations and Christmas tree ornaments. But you can also incorporate pine cones into an elegant scheme with complementary colors, well-placed candles, and glowing lights.  

Whatever decorations you choose, know that using natural resources is a lovely way to spark your imagination, save on costs, and create an eco-friendly Christmas.

Hanging Christmas ornaments made from pine cone and hazelnut

Pine cone Christmas decorations can be simple, elegant and classic

(Image credit: Vranilo / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Try these pine cone Christmas craft ideas this holiday season

You can forage for pine cones in almost any park or woody area in fall, says Jess Martin, Christmas decoration expert at Ginger Ray. Jess points out how cost-effective it is to pick up fallen pine cones – and it also means you're making positive use of your natural environment.

1. Make a festive pine cone wreath for your front door

top view of florist's hands, Christmas wreath of fir cones, decorative toys and ribbon

Making a pine cone wreath just requires a glue gun, a frame and foraged materials

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What signals the arrival of the festive season better than some Christmas wreath ideas? A wreath is a great project for both adults and children, and will bring your front door to life.  

With some florist wire for a frame and a collection of evergreen foliage from your backyard, it's easy to create a homemade winter wreath. Conifer sprays, pine, holly, eucalyptus and ivy are ideal for the base, along with winter color courtesy of berries and dried fruit. 

Adding in some foraged pine cones brings the entire wreath together, says Jess from Ginger Ray. She suggests placing the pine cones in irregular arrangements, allowing for the base of your pine cones to partially hide behind some of the foliage for a more natural look. Larger gaps can be filled with real or faux red berries (like these ones from Amazon). You can also tie in cinnamon sticks for a festive feel.

2. Create some pine cone characters for the Christmas tree  

Making reindeer character Christmas ornaments from pine cones

Making characters from pine cones is easy and fun as a family crafting activity

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DIY Christmas decorations are all the rage for good reason: they're a wonderful way to get your family into the festive spirit, plus homemade decorations can be brought out year after year as a marker of happy holidays past. 

For some truly unique tree decorations, you can make little characters out of your foraged pine cones. Reindeer faces are a classic, and all you need are some bright red pompoms for noses, a few pairs of googly eyes, such as these ones from Amazon, and some lengths of brown pipe cleaner for antlers. 

To make them extra secure, you can screw an eye hook into the bottom of each pine cone and thread a short strip of red ribbon or string through.

3. Decorate your table with foraged centerpieces 

Christmas table decor with red candles, evergreen branches and pine cones

An elegant decoration idea is a table centerpiece

(Image credit: Stefania Pelfini, La Waziya Photography / Moment / GettyImages)

A natural Christmas centerpiece can tie all of the dining room decor together, and it's simple to create your own using foraged materials for a rustic display. 

As with making a DIY Christmas wreath, start out with some greenery like conifer and eucalyptus, then add in some pine cones, slices of dried fruit, sprigs of berries, or fresh flowers (these can be replaced when needed over the season). If you place a glowing candle or mason jar decoration in the middle it will elevate your centerpiece display even further.

4. Create a Christmas snow globe with miniature pine cone trees 

Children making Christmas snow globe decorations with glass jars, glitter and pine cones

A fun Christmas kids activity is making homemade snow globes

(Image credit: Elva Etienne / Moment / GettyImages)

Making tiny Christmas trees in their own snowy wonderlands couldn't be simpler. While they're perfect for house decorations, these mini snow globes also make great holiday gifts!

Simply follow these steps:

  1. First, paint your pine cone to look like a miniature tree, or add a dusting of white paint or glitter to the outer edges. Alternatively, you can keep the pine cone paint free.
  2. Unscrew the lid from a clean and empty glass jar (jelly and peanut butter jars are great for this). 
  3. Use a dab of glue to stick the pine cone to the inside of the lid. You can also add some small cotton balls for snow, mini candy canes and snowmen ornaments for extra atmosphere.
  4. You can easily make waterless snow globes (which are also less messy), but for those who love the effect of falling glitter, just fill your jar with distilled water, a pinch of glitter, and a dash of glycerin, which will help slow the pace of the glitter's movement. 
  5. Screw the lid on tight, then turn the jar right side up and shake away. You can also tie striped ribbon or twine around the lid for an added festive touch.

5. Add pine cones into decorative jars

dry slices of citrus, cones, and spruce twigs in mason glass jars

Adding pine cones and sprigs of outdoor foliage to a mason jar makes a beautiful decor item

(Image credit: Ekaterina Rekina / iStock / GettyImages Plus)

Classic mason jars (available from Amazon) can easily be utilized for pine cone Christmas craft ideas. Simply fill your jar with different-sized pine cones, maybe giving some a light dusting of silver or gold paint. For added effect, you can intertwine some thin cable lights with their own charge pack amongst the pine cones. 

Berries and seedheads are also ideal to fill glass vases, lanterns, and candle holders, whilst dried hydrangeas and other flowers are also a beautiful display piece over the festive holidays.

Terrariums are also enjoying a huge resurgence, so why not fill one with festive foliage and the simplicity of natural materials for your table? British Garden Centres suggests making your own terrarium by gathering holly and ivy from your garden and pairing with winter cyclamen, fir and conifer sprays, eucalyptus, pine cones and mistletoe. These can be used as focal points on tables, shelves, and other points of interest around the house for the Christmas festivities. 

6. String up some pine cone garlands

hands of woman holding scissors and cutting twine with pine cone on table

A homemade garland can also be used as a wall hanging

(Image credit: Kanur Ismail / 500px / GettyImages)

A homemade Christmas garland requires little more than a length of sturdy twine and easily attachable natural items – of which pine cones are a perfect choice. 

A garland like this one could be draped across the wall as a hanging, but if you're looking for Christmas door decor, they can also be pinned around external and internal door frames. 

British Garden Centres explains that garlands give a natural but festive look to the front of your house when hung around the door frame. 'You can purchase spruce garlands from a garden center, or you can put together your own with sprays from your garden. Why not try mixing your evergreen garlands with metallic baubles, bows or pine cones for a welcoming entrance?'

7. Handpaint your pine cones for frosted baubles

Hand painting pine cone with silver glitter

Paint a pine cone with silver glitter for a shimmery effect

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Whichever type of Christmas tree you've gone for, pine cones are perfect just as they are for natural baubles, using some ribbon or a bow to hang them. However, you can take it a step further and subtly add some frosting to the pine cone's edges. 

Jess Martin explains how to make your pine cones into baubles:  

  1. First, you need a length of red ribbon and some white paint.
  2. Pour your paint into a shallow bowl.
  3. Take each pine cone and dip the edges into the paint and leave to dry.
  4. To hang on your tree, use ribbon to tie a loop and a little bow at the base of each one.
  5. If you’re feeling extra sparkly then you can also add some glitter.

8. Make a zero-waste Christmas tree from foraged materials 

Handmade craft Christmas tree made from sticks and natural materials on a white wall with yellow lights illuminating it

Enjoy an eco-friendly Christmas with a homemade tree

(Image credit: Tetiana Soares / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

For a twist on the classic Christmas garland, why not use some natural twine and foraged branches to make a zero-waste DIY Christmas tree instead? 

Hung against a blank feature wall, this is an imaginative way to decorate your home at Christmas. It can take a little bit of time to put the ladder-like frame together, but you can use the same frame year after year, and hang different foraged items from each branch. 

Jess Martin suggests adding your hanging pine cones from this type of twig decoration first, leaving evenly spaced gaps between them. Then in the middle of each gap, tie some dried orange slices – you can make these easily in the oven. 

'For a little more color, you can add stems of faux red berries by each pine cone,' Jess adds.

9. Create your own miniature Christmas trees

Christmas tree made with green painted pine cone

A splash of green paint will transform your pine cones into tiny trees 

(Image credit: agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo)

A simple pine cone craft idea that can be replicated throughout the home is the miniature Christmas tree. 

Simply paint the outside of the pine cone with green paint – either latex or acrylic paint will be best. Wait for the paint to dry before attaching some sparkly pompoms (try these from Amazon) in Christmas colors to the outer 'branches'. A few dabs of glue on the outer edges of the pine cone will allow for some sprinkled glitter to adhere if desired. 

Using a hot glue gun, attach the base of the pine cone to a holder for maintaining balance. Why not use a wine cork with shiny wrapping paper stuck to the outside for a continued Christmas theme?

How do you prepare pine cones for crafts?

Before embarking on any crafting ideas with fresh pine cones, it's a good idea to clean them up and prep them, especially if you've foraged them from the outdoors. 

  1. You'll first want to get rid of any sticky residue on the outside. To do this you can soak the pine cones for around 20 minutes by fully submerging them in water with a half cup of white vinegar added: this will kill off any bacteria or bugs, plus remove any leafy debris.
  2. The next step is to fully dry out the pine cones. You can do this by air drying, but a quicker method is to pop them in the oven for a half hour – just make sure to keep an eye on them.
  3. Once fully dried, the pine cones will open up, which is a useful way to know they're ready to remove from the heat.
  4. Wait for them to cool down and you're ready to start painting.
Flora Baker
Freelance Writer

Freelance writer and author Flora Baker is a keen amateur gardener and houseplant enthusiast. Her small garden in South London is a constant work in progress as she gets to grips with snail prevention, DIY trellises and what to plant in shady spots overrun with ivy.