This pinecone topiary is created from natural pinecone scales and is entirely hand made from top to bottom! All the pine cones used for this project were collected from around the neighborhood, then washed and dried. Every single scale was detached from the pinecone and then placed onto a base that I also made from scratch. My new oversize pinecone sits on a simple terra cotta pot which I altered for a more distressed look.
I started this project after I saw a Pinecone Topiary in my Pottery Barn store, for sale at $149.00, which I absolutely loved. You can check the link, here.
Because the scales of my pinecones were not all the same size, I decided to place them at a different angle than that in my inspiration. Each scale slightly overlaps with the other, and covers every part of the base completely. Every single pinecone scale finds a perfect little place, it’s literally like making a puzzle. It certainly takes some time since the cone is about 15 inches high with a 23 inch circumference, but a smaller one would be just as nice and would require less work!
The terra cotta pot, however was a lot faster to make. I I loved how beautifully it turned out and I will be using this same method to distress some more pottery in the future. The pinecone just sits on its rim and can be detached for easy storage.
In total, I used about 13 middle size pinecones, most of which were from the same tree and gave, an overall, uniform color to the topiary. In between, there are a few scales coming from more grayish pinecones, but the topiary is still totally natural and unique and extremely heavy, too!
To make the base:
As I did not find a styrofoam in the shape of a pine cone in the stores to use as a base, I had to create my own. I started by blowing a balloon.
The balloon was too round so I taped a few strips of duct tape around its center, while squeezing it. This gave it more of a pinecone shape.
I cut strips of newspaper, approximately 1 inch wide (about 2.5 cm) and a little longer than the balloon and glued them directly on the balloon with Mod Podge. I applied four layers, and allowed each to dry before applying a new one.
To make the pinecone:
I painted the newspapers base a dark brown color.
With pliers, I carefully detached the scales from the pinecone and straighten their cut edges with scissors.
Using a hot glue gun, I positioned each scale on the base starting from the top, as so:
I continued by adding more rows of scales, each overlapping with the other, until the base was entirely covered.
To distress the pot:
A dark pinecone on a dark terra cotta pot was not that pretty. I already had this pot at home which was partly painted for another project.
I prepared a thick paste by mixing 4 parts of cast plaster (from the craft store) with one part water and covered first the one exterior side of the pot, and the rest after it was dry.
I let it dry for about 12 hours and I used a sharp knife to remove larger chunks of dried plaster. I also ran the knife on its sides along the pot to give the surface a smoother finish. I removed thinner parts of plaster in some parts to reveal spots of the dark brown color of the pot. Last, as it was white as milk, I applied a quick coat of craft paint (I used Martha Stewart, Lake Fog, Satin).
I am proud to say that I did not spent a dime on this project. I already had all I needed at home but I would estimate that it would not cost more than $ 10.00 in total including the cost of a pot, the plaster, and maybe the glue.
My pinecone topiary will decorate my home every year starting from fall up to the end of the winter season. During the holidays, it will take its place next to my other natural Christmas trees and topiaries that I made last year.