Here in southeastern Michigan I just take a walk in my neighborhood and pick up cones in the spring when just fallen (or given a little help to fall by me!) - that's when they are freshest and the prettiest color. I'll share one tip I learned the hard way many years ago: When you bring the cones home stick them in a large garbage bag, spray inside with bug spray and seal up the bag until you're ready to work with them. You never know what kind of little crawlies are hiding in there! Alternately, if they're the kind of cones that have a lot of sticky sap, or if the cones are not fully open, spread them on a pan covered with foil and bake them in a 200 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. The sap will form a lovely glaze on the cones and the heat will cause the cones to fully open and dry out. (It smells nice, too.)
There's no right or wrong way to make cone wreaths - an online search reveals any number of techniques. Here's the one that works for me.
Wire wreath form
Needle nose pliers
Supply of pine cones
Miscellaneous decorating supplies
Push the cone on to the wreath form, attach the wire to the wreath form and then around the cone near the bottom of the cone. (Note: I'm showing this on the outside of the form for photo purposes; I actually do the inside layer first, but it's the same technique.)
Wind the wire around the wreath form again and grab another cone. Push the second cone tightly against the first cone so they kind of "grab" each other. Wind the wire around the second cone just as you did with the first cone. I use the pliers to pull the wires very tight against the cones and the wreath form. There's nothing more frustrating then to finish your wreath and find that the cones are loose and slipping out.
I then attach the outside layer in the same way.
Add a loop of wire to the back for hanging. Here's the final result.
NOTE: If you plan to add a bow to the wreath, leave out two cones on the outside ring where you want to place the bow. Don't forget like I did!
If you're leaving the wreath as is, you can spray the cones with an acrylic sealer, add the bow, and you're done.
But if you're like me, you want to glam it up a bit. Use anything you like - garlands, bows, ornaments, glitter, and spray paint. I'm not quite finished with the wreaths I'm working on right now, but here's a look at some wreaths I've done in the past.
These wreaths are spray painted and glittered, with bead decorations and a bow attached. My niece owns this pretty in pink wreath.
I call this one my Martha Stewart wreath - this soft green is one of her favorite colors.
I think this one is my favorite - love the Robin's Egg blue color and the delicate garland trim.
I know these aren't in the usual Christmas colors, but they are different and a nice spark of color. I'm working on a few more traditional wreaths this year.
Does this inspire you to try a cone wreath if you haven't yet tried it?
Linking up to Sugar Bee Crafts and Today's Creative Blog. Also: Strictly Homemade and Carolyn's Homework.