Rustic Holiday Sparkle

Glittery pinecones overlook the Upper West Side; Image:  Laura Messersmith

Glittery pinecones overlook the Upper West Side; Image: Laura Messersmith

This is the first Christmas season that Mike and I will be spending in the Northeast since we got married and with all the lights, gently falling snow, and the tree lots dotted around the Upper West Side to inspire me I have a new spring in my spirit. We haven’t really collected much in the way of festive home décor other than a handful of tree ornaments, so I’m starting from scratch.

I discovered that I didn’t really know what my holiday style is. Between Pinterest, blog posts, and Instagram feeds I have so many pictures to inspire me, but taken together the tone ranges from glitzy with gold and shimmer galore, to traditional tartans and pine boughs, to rustic, old-fashioned candy stripes and toboggans. So where to start?

In classic ‘I-want-it-all’ fashion I realized that I like a little sparkle to offset something woodsy finished with a polished twist. I also like a hand-made, developed over time look that hasn’t been lifted wholesale from this year’s home boutique catalogs, so I started off slowly. There’s always next year!

Which brings us to the present day. One of my favorite inspiration photos involved painting small pinecones white and then stringing them together in a garland tied with red silk cord. With my new formula (sparkle + natural + polished) I decided to put my own spin on the idea.

White Painted Pinecone Garland: Image by  bonterue  via Pinterest

White Painted Pinecone Garland: Image by bonterue via Pinterest

My crafty ambitions often outstrip my time and talent, so when I tell you that this one is E-A-S-Y, please trust that it’s true! Minimal ‘ingredients’, a very simple process, and a beautiful finished product in less than a day. That’s my kind of project.

I decided that the one big three-panel window in our living room would be the place to hang the finished pinecones. There’s a theory that carries across art, design, and decorating that an odd number is most-visually appealing, so I decided that three per panel for a total of nine seemed about right for the space. I also decided that I would hang them at varied heights, all nine in a row seemed a little dull.

Glitzy Pinecone Garland

Here’s what I used:

Found giant pine cones (Thanks Central Park!)
Grosgrain ribbon
Clear Elmer’s glue
Short, stiff paint brush
Super glue
Paper plate
Small nails or pushpins (one per cone)
Masking tape
Ruler or measuring tape

Before Starting:

Measure your windows to determine how many pinecones you want to hang and how long you want the drop to be. Both details will inform how much ribbon per pinecone you’ll need.

A patient, detail-oriented friend to help you hang the pinecones is ideal, but a few pieces of masking tape on the glass to indicate the placement and measurements works too and saves frustration!

Be sure to account for a few extra inches to tie the ends to the pinecones and to the window frame. A simple knot will require less, a luxurious bow will require more. I gave myself about 6” longer per pinecone than I thought I needed for about 40” of ribbon per pinecone for a total of 10 yards of ribbon for the project.


·      Cover the work surface with newspaper

·      Pour a generous pool (~2-3 tablespoons) of clear Elmer’s glue onto the paper plate ‘palette’.

·      Then, working quickly, use the paint brush to spread a thick coat of glue on the top of each pinecone scale.

·      Sprinkle the gold glitter over the wet glue and gently shake off the extra. This process is forgiving, so if you’ve missed a spot or need a little more coverage, just repeat the glue and glitter steps in those areas.

·      Continue the glue and glitter steps for each pinecone until each has been spangled to your satisfaction.

·      While the pinecones are drying measure the ribbon to your desired length.,

·      When the pinecones are dry and the ribbons are cut to the right length use the superglue to attach the end of the ribbon to the top of the pinecone. If the pinecones have stems, just tie a knot or bow around the stem. Leave the other end loose to affix to the nail.

·      Hammer in small nails or pushpins and tie the loose ends of ribbon to each nail using your masking tape guides to adjust the length.

Image:  Laura Messersmith

Image: Laura Messersmith