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Creating Christmas Ornaments from Nature Materials

Posted on: December 3rd, 2013 by Smith-Gilbert Gardens 2 Comments

dec13-MouseOrnamentBy Stefanie Haerynck

Did you go on a nature walk recently? I find myself picking up fallen leaves, pine cones, and nuts whenever I walk in my backyard.  Everything I pick up seems to spark my imagination to create something fun with it.  It gets very interesting when you combine a few different nature materials; add some glue, twine, ribbon, felt, chenille stems and paint, if you wish.

  • Pine cones are abundant and very versatile. Pick one up, look at it twice and you will see that an opened up pine cone can be the body of an owl, bird, elf, fairy… When you take a pine cone apart, the scales can be used as feet, owl tufts or ears.
  • A nice acorn can turn into the face of an angel, gnome or princess. The cap of an acorn is a wonderful hat for a snowman or caroler. Acorn caps could serve as the eyes for an owl, reindeer or be a birds’ nest.
  • Sticks, small and thin, could be arms or ski poles. More sturdy sticks can easily be turned into a deer. Large round seeds can be used as buttons, eyes or a nose.
  • Magnolia seedpods are very unique and aplenty here in the South. They can serve as a slender body for a fairy or angel, or when spray painted become a great addition to your decorations.
  • Oak leaves have a wonderful shape:  putting together two in a V-shape are a heavenly wing set for an angel. And I could go on for a while…

Check out this little mouse. All you need is a prickly sweet gum ball, an acorn, two pistachio shells or small acorn caps, a pine straw needle and marker.

  • If your sweet gum ball has a stem, it can serve as the tail for the mouse.
  • Glue an acorn on the sweet gum ball so that the tip of the acorn can be the nose for the mouse.
  • Add the mouse ears by gluing the small acorn caps or pistachio shell on top of the acorn
  • The pine straw will serve as the mouse’s whiskers. Cut the pine straw needle to a length a little wider than the face and glue it on top of the nose.
  • Use a marker or thin brush and black acrylic paint to draw the eyes.

dec13-ElfornamentWhat about a little elf with a pine cone or magnolia seed pod body? You need a pine cone or magnolia seed pod, a black walnut, pine cone scales, felt, chenille stem, paint and hot glue.

  • Paint the pine cone or magnolia seed pod to use as the elf’s body if you wish and let dry.
  • Envision where the head is going to be and spread a circle of hot glue; attach the scales of the pine cone around the circle. It will serve as a collar for the elf.
  • Add a dot of hot glue and attach the black walnut as the head – paint if you wish and let dry. Create a face with markers or acrylic paint
  • Measure the circumference of the walnut with the felt and use it as the base to cut out a triangular shape of felt to make the hat. Glue the hat close so that you have a cone shape that will fit on the head.
  • Add some hair, using pine straw or moss.
  • Glue the hat on the head.
  • Draw small elf shoe shapes on the felt and cut these out.
  • Take a chenille stem and cut into 4 pieces; use two for the arms and two for the legs.
  • Glue the shoe shapes on the legs before adding the legs to the body.
  • Use dots of hot glue to attach the arms and legs.
  • If you wish your elf to hang from a tree branch, attach a loop of thin twine to the hat or head with glue.

I bet you will look twice at that pine cone on your path and may decide to pick it up instead of kicking it a few feet ahead of you.

Enjoy being creative during the colder winter days. Visit us any time for some ideas and suggestions.

P.S. Always check if it is OK to gather nature materials from your neighbor’s yard or park.

2 Responses

  1. Susan says:

    Great article, and you have given me some wonderful ideas for crafts to do with my granddaughter. Thank you for all of your suggestions, pictures, and inspiration!
    Susan B.

  2. shaerynck says:

    You are welcome! Enjoy playing with nature materials. Best, Stefanie.

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