Make the most of nature’s beautiful bounty this winter by collecting pine cones and decorate them with festive sparkles. This is a fun activity to enjoy with your children in the run-up to Christmas.

Take a walk in the park or woodland at this time of year and you’ll find pine cones underfoot everywhere as they fall from conifer trees. Encourage children to collect to make Christmas decorations, like this one. You could also paint in rainbow colours and glitter to make a pretty natural garland to decorate your Christmas tree or mantelpiece.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the park, or your trip proves fruitless – or rather pinecone-less. You can buy pinecones with added fresh fragrance from Hobbycraft.

1. Start with the decoupage flowerpot base. If you’ve never done it before, this is the easiest and most satisfying craft ever. Tear your chosen decoupage paper into small workable pieces.

2. Apply glue to the Mache Pot, then stick on a piece of paper and cover paper in glue. The glue will become clear as it dries.

3. Repeat until your pot is covered and leave to dry.

Nature with a little added dazzle,
this dinky little pine cone decoration will make a perfect festive centrepiece to your table, or a lovely handmade gift for grandparents, friends
or a favourite teacher

Top Tip! Use a glue stick to pop your decoupage flower pot on to dry. If you don’t have a glue stick, you could use any sturdy cylindrical receptacle that will keep your pot upright.

4. Whilst your pot is drying, dab the tips of the pine cone with glue then sprinkle with a generous coating of glitter. Children will love this magical part, but it can get a bit messy (expect glitter everywhere!). Gently tap off residual glitter and leave to dry.

Top Tip! Put a large sheet of paper under your pine cone before you start sprinkling the glitter. This will help minimize the mess. When you’ve finished, carefully roll the paper into a cone shape so you can pour the remaining glitter back in the tube ready for further crafts!

5. When the glitter is dry, glue coloured mini buttons onto the pine cone to look like Christmas baubles. Use the decoupage glue to stick down the buttons as it dries completely clear so you can be really generous to ensre the ‘baubles’ are securely fixed, without worrying about it spoiling the finished look. Use the dry end of your paintbrush to help position the tiny buttons into place.

6. When everything is dry, place modelling clay in the base of your flower pot to weight it down, then dab a generous application of glue on the base of the pine cone and the top of the flower pot, then attach your pine cone securely to the pot.

7. Ta-dah! Now you have a beautiful scented mini Christmas Tree that will give any room a gorgeous wintry fragrance and bring a touch of nature’s wonder into your home.

Fun fact The use of evergreen trees to celebrate the winter season occurred before the birth of Christ, and the first decorated Christmas tree was in Riga, Latvia in 1510. Besides evergreens, other types of trees, such as cherry and hawthorns, were used as Christmas trees in the past. Martin Luther is credited with the idea of lights on Christmas trees. The 16th-century monk added candles to his tree to look like stars in a forest.

Did you know? Pinecones are Mother Nature’s hygrometers, or devices that measure humidity in the air. Pinecones contain the seeds of the pine tree on which they grew, much like apples and peaches contain seeds for their trees. Because pine seeds are transported by the wind, they must be as light as possible. Therefore pinecones only open their scales to disperse the seeds when the air is dry and they close their scales when the air is moist to protect the seeds and keep them dry.