It’s that time of year again and as soon as the 1st of December was officially here we headed straight for our stash of nature treasures squirrelled away over the year for some Christmas nature crafts inspiration.
Sticks, pine cones, old man’s beard , teasels, sycamore seeds and all manner of other hedgerow offerings can be easily transformed into fantastic, free and fun decorations. What’s more, their natural properties are totally in keeping with the earthy pagan festivities that Christmas superseded and whose many traditions such as the use of holly, ivy and mistletoe, became interwoven with those of the Christian holiday we know today.
Our project shelf here is already heaving under our Christmas nature crafts experiments and the kitchen has disappeared in a cloud of glitter and bits of twig. I’ll be sharing with you those that my
guinea pigs children enjoy.
The first Christmas nature craft I’m starting with is a pine cone Santa, or Father Christmas as he’s better known in our house. Three year old Beth chose to make one of these with me earlier this afternoon. Whilst she needed the odd bit of help with the more fiddly bits such as holding the card hat in place whilst it stuck, she managed the majority of the activity unaided.
How to Make a Pine Cone Santa
What you need
- One traditionally shaped pine cone (the round, more squat type from Scots Pine trees or other pines)
- One Larch cone – the very small ones. If you don’t have these then you can substitute a small foam craft ball
- A piece of red card
- Sheep’s wool (you finally have a use for those scraggy bits of wool the kids insist on collecting from wire fences), cotton wool or pads or white knitting wool also work
- A fairly thin stick/twig
- Red paint (we use basic kiddy poster paint).
- Paint brush
- Glue. Standard school-issue PVA works best.
- Googly stick-on eyes (small ones – about 7mm), or some white and black paint.
- Red glitter (optional)
- White craft bobble (optional – a bit more sheep’s wool or cotton wool works fine too).
- An empty egg carton or old egg cup (optional)
What to do
- Paint your pine cone liberally with red poster paint.
- If using glitter, sprinkle liberally over the wet paint.
- Leave the pine cone to dry. An old egg cup or egg carton is ideal for balancing the pine cone in for this as well as for getting to awkward bits during painting.
- Cut out a small square from a corner of the red card, approx 4cm x 4cm but you will need to adjust depending on size of the larch cone or foam craft ball you will be using for Santa’s head.
- Holding the card by one corner, cut the opposite side into a curve, leaving an approximate cone shape.
- Roll the card tightly around the remaining corner to create a cone, gluing the side edges together to secure at a size suitable to fit on your Santa’s larch cone or craft foam ball head.
- Stick a pom-pom on the end of the the Santa hat with glue, using either your craft bobble or by making your own by rolling up a little sheep’s wool or cotton wool into a small ball.
- Put a little glue around inside of the Santa hat and place firmly on the top (narrower end) of your larch cone or craft foam ball.
- Add eyes to the larch cone – either with googly craft eyes (these look great) or paint on your own. You could also cut a nose or mouth from red card to stick on or use some paint.
- Back on your red pine cone, check the top for any protruding upwards spikes. If there are any then snap or twist them off to leave a bowl shaped hollow in the narrow top end of the pine cone.
- Paint lots of glue onto the top of the red pine cone.
- Stick on some sheep’s wool or cotton wool onto the glue to create Santa’s beard.
- Put another generous dollop of glue on top of this again, over the wool covering the central top of the pine cone.
- Place your larch cone Santa head on top of the pine cone Santa body.
- Snap your stick into two similar length twigs to make Santa’s arms. Dab some glue into the middle of the pine cone where you want them to go and then tuck the twig arms into place.
- Leave to dry for a few hours and then your pine cone Santa will be ready to go! Use as a stand-alone decoration or tie some ribbon or clear nylon thread around the middle of the pine cone to create a loop to hang on a Christmas tree.
- If your pine cone Santa has a bit of a rounded, rolly bottom then either try sanding the base a little with sand paper or trim down one cup of an egg box to provide a very shallow base for it to sit in. You can paint the egg box base to match your pine cone Santa or in festive colours.