(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on December 16, 2007. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)

One of my favorite hobbies is pinecone crafts for Christmas. I have lots of pinecones, of all kinds, picked up from our park. All summer, when I walk my dog, I have a few plastic bags in my pocket - and not only for you know what - for picking up every fresh pinecone, which are clean. I prefer the red cones because they are smaller, easier to handle and cut; also they're easier to use to fill in all the spaces between larger cones. During the years, I have made lots of candle supports and wreaths with red cones, which I offered to our friends as Christmas gifst. Also, I made a fruit basket, especially for Christmas, which can hold the mandarins.

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When I saw the pinecone tree, I loved it and started to think about what I needed to make one. First, I had to figure out what the pinecones would be stuck to….I thought of a stick, one of those which I use for my plants. The pinecones would have to go around the stick and get stuck on it with a special glue…had to figure out this, too!

The next question I had to answer was what to use to anchor the Christmas tree’s base? It had to be something nice and shiny, but also thick and strong to hold the whole tree. I thought a cartoon tube will be great, one of those from the toilet paper. But this wasn’t enough, it had to have something inside, to hold the stick tight. The expanded polystytene was my first thought, and I had a few pieces I used for making the little presents for my ornaments.

Once I had answered these questions, I could start making the pinecone Christmas tree…what a thrill!

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I first started with a small one, so I used the smallest pinecones I had from red pines.

I cut the tube, then measured the expanded polystyrene tube form I had to put inside the cartoon tube. I used a sharpe knife, for cutting both the cartoon tube and the polystyrene. I made a hole, right in the middle of the polystyrene form, for sticking the stick in, with a glue gun.

But first, I thought I'd better stick a cartoon circle on top of the tube, on which I would stick the first row of pinecones, for a better stability of the tree.The stick had to be glued too, in the hole. A golden paper had to be applied arround the cartoon tube, for a better look.

I let the base of the tree dry and began arranging the pinecones together, not an easy task, I assure you! They had to be about same size and stuck into each other’s “petals” (scales), with the top to the inside, like shown in the picture. Each cone has to be stuck to each other with glue…better put a little bit more glue, pea-sized. Each cone had to be stuck to the central stick.

The lowest row of the tree had to have about 5-6 bigger cones, then going smaller to the top.After all the pinecones were glued to each other and the tree was done, I started to decorate it with red and golden bows, silver small presents and acorn globes, which were stuck between the pinecones.

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For a bigger one I used nigra pinecones, which are my favorites .

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I have lots of golden coffee bags saved for making golden bows. For the red ones I used a red corrugated paper, which I cut in sheets, then tied it in the middle with a red thread.

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With a small circle cut from the coffee bag in a flower shape, I decorated this red flower and used it for decorating the pinecone basket.

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The presents are made of expanded polystyrene, wrapped with a small gift paper and tied with a thin flower ribbon.

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I saved some acorns last fall from the oaks in the park, covered them with aluminium foil and used them as globes .

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Wasn't it fun? It took some time,but it was worth it! I have to tell you, I can hardly wait for each Christmas to decorate my home with crafts made by my own hand!

You can check out the Plant Files for Red Pines and Austrian (or Black) Pines (Pinus nigra).This is one of the Pinus nigra that provided the cones for my pinecone christmas tree.

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