Monday, 12 December 2011

Making Winter: pinecone bauble tutorial

Today marks the beginning of December's Making Winter week. This purpose of this project is to help those who can find winter a slog (including me) to embrace the good things of the season through making, baking, cosying up and getting out for winter walks. You can read more about it here and November's celebrations are here.

Yesterday we decorated the cottage. Never have I enjoyed it more. Most of our decorations are handmade and include lino print reindeer and thrushes from Celia, screenprinted Bloomsbury stars and baubles from summersville, a peg angel from Gina, and my newest additions, a knitted leaf garland by A Crooked Sixpence (Emma Lamb's Mum) and two beautiful stockings with crochet heels by Minus Sun.

The little ones and I add to the decorations each year. I tried out an airdrying clay pinecone bauble design in 2010 and have made a few more this year. Here is a  tutorial if you'd like to give them a go.

You will need:

White airdrying clay (I used this brand)
Graduated primrose/dogrose-shaped cutters (available here and here).*
Small rolling pin (a large marker pen would do)
1mm galvanised wire (from garden centres)
Pliers (preferable round-nosed) and wire cutters
Piece of plastic to stop clay sticking to tabletop (I used part of an old carrier bag)
Tile or plate
Small pot of water
Optional: Oven set very low (around 80 degrees C)


1) Roll out some clay on the piece of plastic to around half a centimetre thick and cut out four of the largest primrose shapes. The edges will be slightly rough so smooth them out with your finger (a paintbrush works well too). 

2) Place one of the shapes smoothest side down. Wet the centre slightly and place the second shape on top, pressing the middle firmly with your finger and ensuring that the petal shapes are off centre (misaligned with the petals beneath to create the look of a pinecone). Repeat this process with the remaining two shapes.

3) Pick up the partially formed pinecone and begin to bend the 'petals' upwards gently to create a pinecone-like shape.

4) Make a ball of clay the size of a small marble. Wet the centre of the pinecone and place the ball of clay in. Press firmly.

5) Roll and cut out three of the middle-sized primrose shape. Smooth the edges as before, wet the top of the ball of clay in the centre of the pinecone and stick one of the newly cut shapes to it, ensuring the petals are off centre. Bend the petals up slightly to continue to create the look of a pinecone. Repeat with the remaining two shapes.

6) Roll and cut out two of the smallest primrose shape. Using the same process stick one into the centre of the pinecone to complete the shape.

7) Cut a piece of galvanised wire around 10cm long and create a loop at one end using pliers and cutters. Insert the loop about 2 cm into the top of the pinecone and turn it through 90 degrees. 

8) Wet the top of the pinecone around the wire, pierce the remaining small clay primrose with the wire and push it down onto the top of the pinecone so that it sticks.

9) Let the pinecone airdry overnight or bake it on a very low oven for 10-15 minutes.

10) Use your pliers and cutters to create a loop using the wire at the top of the cone. The wire may be a little loose - don't worry, simply push the loop into the top of the cone.

11) Add ribbon and hang from your tree.

Mrs Thriftyhousehold is hosting the Making Winter bloghop this week. If you'd like to share some festive creativity do pop over and link in, then we can all have a peep. Mrs TH has a new button to grab too. 

The Making Winter Flickr pool is looking wonderful. I especially love Lina's Graham Cracker tiny houses.

I'll be back later in the week. I have plans for some homemade willow stars.

I can safely say that Mrs TH's homemade Limoncello is by far the best I've ever tasted. Her recipe is here. This stuff is seriously good...

*Flower shapes with smooth-ended or pointed petals would also work well


Thrifty Household said...

Great snowy pinecones- am now looking forward to the willow stars!

driftwood said...

oh they are gorgeous. mmmm I wonder what would happen if you made the petals with gingerbread, baked them and then stuck them all together with a little bit of icing. I may have to try an edible variation, I'll let you know if it works x

Thrifty Household said...

I'll happily be a tester/taster for your edible gingerbread versions Driftwood...

Planet Penny said...

These are absolutely lovely Emma, I bet your cottage looks gorgeous! x

Madelief said...

Hi Emma,

Your decorations look just lovely. I like the pine cones very much! Thank you for the tutorial!

Lieve groet, Madelief x

Tanya from Dans le Townhouse said...

This is a gorgeous project! Looks just lovely!

acornmoon said...

Gorgeous tutorial, they look lovely!

We have Celia's lino print decorations too and another favourite is to be found here at Moonlight and Hares.

Kristina said...

That's so clever! Easy to make and thay look so good. Thank you for sharing.

julie said...

great tutorial Emma - they look so pretty on their velvet ribbons x

greenrabbitdesigns said...

They are so pretty Emma! :)

Thimbleanna said...

Ooooh, very pretty Emma -- and they look like lots of fun to make too!

Rachel said...

They are charming, and the tutorial is very clear. Thank you!

Paula said...

These are adorable :-)

do you mind if i knit said...

Aren't they wonderful! The velvet ribbon sets them off beautifully, thank you very much for the tutorial Emma, that's very kind of you. Vanessa xxx

flowersandhome said...

O wow, these are great! So glad I discovered your blog, so full of crafty ideas. Thanks for the comment you left on my blog.

Ali said...

My air drying clay is ready - we're back home. I can't wait to crack on with mine! Though as the proud owner of an original, I hope my efforts can live up to it.

Planet Penny said...

I don't know whether I will have time to join in properly with 'Making Winter' Emma, but I've put a link to it in my 'Reasons to be Cheerful' post on Planet Penny because it really fit's the bill!
Penny x

Helen Philipps said...

Very pretty decorations, and I love the different coloured velvet ribbons for hanging them too.
Good luck with all your new work, Emma.
Helen x

Emerald Gemstone said...

Awesome tutorial!!! i definitely going to try making this.