25 Eco-Friendly Pine Cone Crafts

Autumn is a great time for eco-friendly crafting! There are tons of found natural objects that you can collect only in autumn, and, of course, those same objects look especially festive when incorporated into your seasonal holiday crafts.

Pine cones are particularly fun to collect and craft with, especially if you spend the time to case your neighborhood or town to look for different varieties. When my kiddos were small, we’d spend a whole day on this adventure, and then do all kinds of kid crafts with them all year. Now that they’re teenagers, we still get excited to pick up pine cones, although we mostly use them for seasonal crafts.

Whether you’re a year-round pine cone crafter or like to play with them only in autumn, here are some of my favorite pine cone crafts to share with you:

How to Prepare Pine Cones for Crafting

prepped pine cones
Photo Courtesy of Laura Radniecki

If you plan to keep your pine cones just for a few weeks, you likely don’t have to worry about all this prep work. If you want to display your pine cone project indefinitely, however, or store it for regular seasonal use, it’s worth the extra effort to clean and bake them.

Bird Feeder

This is the ubiquitous pine cone kid craft. I’ve always thought that it made a sweet Solstice craft–hanging it up outside is giving a holiday gift to the birds!

Bleached Pine Cones

Bleach can be very problematic, environmentally, so I’m not recommending this project wholeheartedly, especially not if you plan to go out and buy chlorine bleach just to bleach pine cones. However, I’m probably not the only one who panic-bought bleach back in March and is now at a bit of a loss for how to efficiently use it up without, you know, ACTUALLY bleaching all the surfaces in my house. Craft projects to the rescue!

Cinnamon-Scented Pine Cones

You don’t have to buy those bags of high-perfumed pine cones at your local big-box store; these homemade scented pine cones smell just as good, but are made with real cinnamon!

Dipped Pine Cones

dipped pinecones

This project is endlessly entertaining for littler kids, and the result is often surprisingly beautiful. I particularly like how easy dipped pine cones are to tune to your own crafting preferences. You can make this an all-natural project by dipping your pine cones in melted beeswax, or add an upcycling element by melting broken crayon stubs, instead. Want something that’s mostly natural but also colorful? Use both!

Faux Succulent Frame

Don’t worry if you’ve got a brown thumb. Instead of killing off succulent after succulent, make this faux succulent frame and enjoy it indefinitely!

Framed Pine Cone Flowers

Paint makes these look much more like pine cones than flowers, and the frame lets you display them without using up precious tabletop space. You can easily substitute brush-on paint for the spray paint called for in the tutorial.

Gnomes

Here’s an adorable craft that’s quick and easy enough to work as a group activity at a children’s holiday party.

Frosted Pine Cone

frosty pinecones
Photo Courtesy of Kids Craft Room

To make this frosted pine cone more eco-friendly, skip the glitter and instead use Epsom salts!

Fire Starter

This is essentially a dipped pine cone, but instead of using eco-friendly wax or something beautiful and colorful, you’re upcycling all your old candle odds and ends and making a utilitarian–but still not ugly!–fire starter.

Ornaments

Burlap, another natural material, makes this pine cone project even more eco-friendly.

Pine Cone Ballerina

This cute and quick kid craft is made even easier with a free downloadable graphic of ballerina parts.

Pine Cone Christmas Tree

This is not a preschool pine cone craft! Start with a painted pine cone (or perhaps a crayon-dipped one!), and add wee embellishments to make the perfect little fairy-sized Christmas tree.

Pine Cone Easter Animals

sheep pine cone
Photo Courtesy of Manda Panda Projects

If you’ve still got pine cones kicking around your house in the spring, but you wish you didn’t, get your kiddos to make an entire menagerie of spring animals using these tutorials… and then disappear them when you put away the Easter decorations.

Pine Cone Flowers

I love how delicate these pine cone flowers look, and I can imagine so many fun uses for them!

Pine Cone Flower-Embellished Mason Jar

Here’s one way to use that beautiful pine cone flower you made: embellish a decorative Mason jar!

Pine Cone Picks

If you love flower arranging, here’s a trick that will pay off indefinitely! Make a set of these pine cone picks, and you’ll have pine cone accents to pop into any floral display.

Pine Cone-Embellished Christmas Star

star pine cone
Photo Courtesy of Navage Patch

Need a statement piece? This huge star, made from yardsticks and embellished with whole pine cones, will do the trick!

Pine Cone Wreath

This is a beautiful and classic holiday decoration, one that you can bring out for years to come and then compost nearly all of if you ever tire of it.

Reindeer

Kid holiday crafts don’t have to require a bunch of store-bought, unrecyclable junk. Here’s a fun holiday craft that the kids will love and that requires just a couple of pieces of paper or felt, a pom pom… and a pine cone!

Snowy Owl

Here’s a super cute kid craft that doesn’t require a ton of plastic materials! If you don’t have cotton balls on-hand, you can substitute cotton batting.

Christmas Wreath

pine cone wreath
Photo Courtesy of The Best Ideas for Kids

To make the same type of wreath work specifically for Christmas, paint the pine cones a few different tones of green before attaching them to the wreath form. You could also do the same for any other holiday!

Splatter-Painted Pine Cones

Little kids love these kinds of open-ended, process-oriented art activities, and spending an afternoon splatter-painted pine cones sounds like a perfect little kid activity!

Thanksgiving Turkey

This is the perfect craft for a kid who enjoys fine-motor activities. The more carefully a kid paints their multi-colored pine cone turkey, the cuter it will look!

Tree Centerpiece

Here’s a gorgeous statement piece that will shine in the center of your holiday table. I LOVE that his tutorial uses not a styrofoam cone, but one DIY’ed out of paper and tape.

Did I miss YOUR favorite way to craft with pine cones? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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