So Many Pine Cones, Part II: Pine Cone Crafts

Ranger Vela's pine cone feeder 
Recently, this blog accessed a question many had been wondering..“Why are there so many pine cones this year?” As it turns out, the increase in cones had to do with the drought we experienced in 2016, and the trees' response to that stress. So if you've gathered a proliferation of pine cones, and are still wondering what to do with them all.. here are a few more ideas. 

Pine cone bird feeders are a simple classic that even younger kids enjoy making. Ranger Vela from Brighton State Park made the feeder shown above. Tie a string or twine to the wide end of the cone, spread with peanut butter, then roll in bird seed.  If you’re allergic to peanut butter, try vegetable shortening or suet. Hang outside, and observe who stops by to visit. This can be a great opportunity for beginning bird-watching- here's a guide on the birds you might see visiting your pine cone feeder in winter. 

Another easy crafty option is to make a “cow cone.” Just stick twigs or sticks into the scales of your cone, which now loosely resembles a bovine. These are (or rather were) a traditional toy in some parts of Scandinavia. If you’re feeling creative, your cow cone might turn into some other critter, and end up with pipe cleaners, felt, pompoms, glitter, or something else.

Pine cone wreaths take a bit more time, but make a fun afternoon craft project. For a basic wreath, all you need to start are the pine cones (probably at least 50), a wire or Styrofoam wreath frame, and a hot glue gun or wire for attaching the cones to the frame. The common way to do this is to arrange your cones around the ring in circular layers. Additions are up to you- ribbon, leaves or pine boughs, dried flowers, lights, or whatever else you have lying around your craft drawer. You can also paint the cones beforehand with acrylic or spray paint for a pop of color.

And, if you like to keep things simple, you can just enjoy the cones by themselves, perhaps in a colored bowl on the coffee table that emphasizes the unique shape and texture. 

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