Pinecone painting is really quite fun!

As many of times as I have seen the idea of pinecone painting or ornaments over the years, I have never actually given it a try. It’s funny how you can dismiss an idea because it looks too hard or too craftsy or something else without ever giving it a try. But because we were reading “Penguin and Pinecone” this year, it was a good time for me to give pinecone painting a chance…

At the table, the children found pinecones, paint, and paintbrushes! Talk about triple “P!”  The paint we used this time is actually acrylic paint with a touch of Mod Podge added so the paint would dry with a shine rather than dull…

The children painted their pinecones with any color they wished. We had pinks, blues, reds, and other colors out for the children to choose from…

The children did a remarkable job at holding their pinecone with one hand and painting in and out of each layer of the pinecone.  This takes some good fine motor skill and control…

Once the children were satisfied with their painting, then they moved over to a different table to sprinkle on some glitter.  The glitter should stay on nicely with the addition of Mod Podge to the paint…

We put the children’s name on their small paper plate for the pinecones to dry on instead of trying to label the pinecones. As for the glitter table, we set the glitter out on a tray to try and catch the glitter overflow…

Some of our students might have gotten slightly carried away with the amount of glitter actually needed on the pinecone but that is what the tray was for.  After the children were all done, we scooped up all the leftover glitter and put it back in one of the bottles for another day…

When the children realized we still had extra pinecones, many of them came back to the paint table to paint and glitter another pinecone.  I am quite sure some children completed at least three pinecones by the end of the day…

And then we had one little one that decided painting the paper plate was far more interesting than painting a pinecone.  I think the bright and glossy acrylic colors is what interested him the most…

And when he finished painting his beautiful paper plate, he was so proud of it – it truly was an unexpected gorgeous…

After the pinecones and paper plate dried, Mrs. Courtney added a loop a yarn around the top of them all so the children could take them home and hang them on their own trees or where ever they decide they should go…

I must admit, this was a wonderful process that my students loved!

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By |2017-03-28T22:27:09+00:00December 9th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. artsy_momma December 9, 2012 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Did the paint flake off? I have been wanting to make some with my son, but was worried that kids paint wouldn’t hold up…. thanks! They look awesome!

  2. artsy_momma December 9, 2012 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Nevermind…lol! Just read you used acrylics. What a brave teacher you are! I may have to use your mod podge idea 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 9, 2012 at 11:07 am - Reply

      Haha – yes, I did a little research first and my mom told me to use Acrylic. I don’t normally use acrylic but I have to say that my students loved the colors and were much more drawn to the process because of this choice:)

  3. Mrs. Cori December 9, 2012 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Hi my name is Mrs. Cori, I have taught preschool for going on 17 years. The pinecones turned out beautifully, but I must ask, do you always allow the children to make such a mess with the glitter? It’s dumped out all over! Not only is that a waste of glitter but it is a big mess for teacher to clean up and it is certainly not teaching the kids self-control and conservation. The kids can be allowed to use things like glitter in a more controlled manner and still have fun. Like I said, the end product looks great and we will probably try it, but I just had to ask!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 9, 2012 at 11:05 am - Reply

      Hi Mrs. Cori.

      Yes, I always allow my students the opportunity to freely explore the glitter. Most of the mess is contained on the tray and the rest is easily swept up. I believe that in order for the children to develop the skills they need to control the flow of any product, they first need to be given the freedom to explore the flow and we will discuss why it came out so fast, how to make it come out slower, how much would really be needed, how can we adjust the holes, how many holes need to be open, and so on. Over time, the children will learn to make better decisions about the flow and use of glitter which means they will also learn to understand flow of other materials like spices for cooking and more.

      There was no waste of glitter since we saved all the glitter from the tray to use again. Perhaps the colors are all mixed together but my students don’t care. To them, glitter is sparkly regardless of the color – I think we as teachers get overly concerned about color – kids want to explore and mix the colors. No one at the table chose to “only use red glitter” or another color – they mixed them all together. So our glitter is now mixed together but saved and ready for another day. I believe that we can either spend our time and energy worrying about how to control the glitter or we can give the children the opportunity to freely explore the materials so they can build the skills they need, over time, to master the use of glitter (and other resources) on their own.

  4. Kelly at Little Wonders' Days December 9, 2012 at 11:42 am - Reply

    I love their pinecones, especially the glitter! We did a pinecone craft this past week too. We went on a hunt to find them first, which was part of the fun.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm - Reply

      I wish we could have hunted for ours. You would think in my back yard with all the woods, there would be a few pinecones but I couldn’t fine any!!

  5. Penny December 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    I haven’t done this activity yet either! It’s crazy because pines cones are very easy to get around our place.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 9, 2012 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      Haha – you sound just like me. All the materials right at my fingertips but I just overlook it 🙂

  6. Rhonda Walton December 11, 2017 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    How did you wash the acrylic paint off of their fingers? I want to try this, but I need to be able to get it off things without using paint thinner or mineral spirits.

    • Deborah Stewart December 11, 2017 at 5:05 pm - Reply

      We just used soap and water. If you wash hands right after painting, the paint comes right off.

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