Pine Cone Wreaths Are Good for All Seasons

You can make one as a holiday project, but pine cone wreaths are a decoration worthy of display year-round. Nature provides all the materials you need.

| November/December 1979

It would be hard to imagine any more delightful Christmas ornaments than pine cone wreaths. And the "wild garlands" (which can be used to decorate your home, provide treasured gifts for friends and relatives, or bring in a tidy part-time income) won't cost you much except time because nearly all of the materials can be had free-for-the-foraging!

In fact, the actual gathering of your wreathmaking "goods" can be just as much fun as is the craft work itself! Take the whole family with you and collect a variety of "pine" cones (actually, the seed carriers from spruce, hemlock, piñon, white pine, and others are all useful), along with any other forest treasures that dry well such as acorns, nuts, seed pods, and gum-tree "balls." Be sure to forage throughout the year; you'll find that different "natural decorations" come into their best during each of the four seasons.

The Shape of Things to Come

Once you've amassed a goodly supply of wreathmakin' materials, you'll have to oven-dry your supply of cones. The heat helps preserve the evergreen seed pods, dries up their sticky gum, and —in the process—will make your kitchen smell wonderful! Simply place your gatherin's on aluminum-foil-covered cookie sheets and bake 'em at 150°F for 15 minutes (or until they feel dry).

The "base" of your wreath should be jigsawed from very thin board (we've found that inexpensive wood paneling works especially well). After you've cut a hoop of the size you want, place a  1/4" or 3/8" bit in a drill and bore numerous holes (at random, but approximating a series of concentric circles) 3/4 inch apart from the inside of the wreath to its outer edge. These holes will allow you to wire the foraged decorations in place.

Most any thin, flexible craft (or shop) wire will serve to fasten your cones, nuts, and so forth to the wreath's base. However, if you want to keep your costs down, try to locate an electrical supply firm's reclamation yard. Such outlets usually sell spools of copper-coated aluminum wire for pennies a pound. (You'll also need a scrap of heavier wire for the wreath's hanging hook, but a piece of coat hanger will serve this purpose well enough.)

To begin the creative part of your project, take the end of an approximately 12-inch length of fine wire and—from the back of the wreath board—push it through a hole near the ring's inner edge. Then fold the wire tip over and twist it to form a "knot" that won't pull back through the hole.

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