DIY Gold Leaf Pine Cone Garland

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

I had a vision for today’s DIY projects many weeks ago. I’ve had this obsession with gold leaf for the last several months and really wanted to try my hand at playing with it for the first time. This DIY gold leaf pine cone garland is how it all went down! While largely intended to jazz up your holiday decor, this garland would be lovely to use throughout the winter months. Mine took up residence along the mantle in the living room, but really it would be adorable just about anywhere in your home. So who’s ready to get your gold leaf on?

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

Supplies -

  • Pine cones (forage for them outside or score them at a craft store)
  • Jute twine
  • Gold spray paint
  • Gold leaf + adhesive (available at most craft stores)
  • Foam brushes
  • Spray sealant
  • Screw eye hooks (I picked mine up at Lowe’s)
  • Pliers

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

The first step is to apply the gold leaf adhesive to your pine cones using a foam brush. If you foraged for your pine cones outside you’ll first want to make sure they’re free of all dirt and leaves. The gold leaf adhesive is a really watery glue with a milky consistency, but as it dries it sets up and gets extremely tacky. The amount you apply will determine how much of your pine cone is covered with gold and is totally a personal preference.

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

The next step is to let the pine cones dry completely. As the adhesive dries it will turn clear. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions completely to make sure you allow for the proper drying time. With the brand I used, it took about an hour. I found the easiest way to let them dry was to stick them in an old egg carton and it worked great for the task at hand. While the adhesive is drying, give your screw eye hooks a couple of light coats of gold spray paint, being sure to cover all angles.

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

Next up, it’s time to play with the gold leaf! Gold leaf comes in whisper thin sheets that are about 5″ square. To apply it to the pine cones, I used a technique where I first wrapped it around the pine cone and then used a clean foam brush to burnish it into the adhesive. A lot of it will flake off onto your work surface and that’s ok! You can scoop it up and continue using the gold flakes to give everything that pretty gold shimmer we all love so much. Once you’ve finished gold leafing to your heart’s content, give all the pine cones a light spray of sealant and allow them to dry completely.

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

Next up, grab your pliers! The screw eye hooks that you just painted will now be screwed into the top of each pine cone so they can later be strung on the twine to create the garland. I definitely recommend using the pliers for this part to help save your thumbs, as it gives you a bit more leverage when screwing the eye hooks into the pine cone. You’ll want to position them so they’re roughly centered on each pine cone, but there’s no need for perfection here.

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

Once all of your pine cones have a screw eye hook attached, grab your twine and cut a length about 2′ longer than you’d like the finished garland to be, keeping in mind that you can add more or less pine cones to your garland to make it the length you’d like. For reference, my garland used 12 pine cones, roughly spaced at 4″ intervals with a finished length of about 4′ long. To string them on the twine, you’ll want to slide your first pine cone onto the twine so it rests in the middle of the length of twine. Then taking the other end of the twine, feed it back through the screw hook to create a single knot around the hook. At this point you’ll have one pine cone attached to the center of your twine. Working outward from the middle, add the appropriate number of pine cones to the left and right sides to complete your garland!

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

DIY gold leaf pine cone garland from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G Patterson

I have to confess that this was definitely one of my favorite DIY projects to date and I fully intend to keep my garland for years to come. I also intend to gold leaf just about everything I can get my hands on, but that’s a conversation for a different day. In the meantime, happy gold leafing!

{Design + styling by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion. | Photos by Alice G. Patterson.}

The fine print: Please link with love! As with all of our posts, DIY projects featured on The Sweetest Occasion may not be copied, distributed or reproduced without express written permission. Love and links are always appreciated! If you’d like to share this post, please link to this post directly for the DIY tutorial and do not include the instructions in your own post. Thanks so much! xoxo

24 comments

Comments

THIS IS SOOOO GOOD!!! Such great photos too. Everything is perfection. Making this!! oh ya.

this is great. i actually did something VERY similar to this. my mom and i do this almost every year. love the photos. so beautiful. :)

Definitely using this to (hopefully!) impress my Mother in Law. Fingers crossed for my success thanks to you! :)

This is sooo cute and an alternative to spray paint, which I find really hard to do with rounded objects! Awesome project, will definitely give it a try!

This is such an amazing idea!! I really love this!! Thank you so much for uploading this, and for the instructions!! This is going to look so cute on my fireplace!!

[...] than using elements from nature and adding a touch of elegance with gold leaf! Check out the {DIY Tutorial} over at {The Sweetest Occasion}. The best part about decor like this is that you can keep it up and [...]

This is so beautiful in it’s simplicity!Adore this, totally inspired to recreate!
xxx

Wow this is lovely, thanks for the tutorial! I’m definitely gonna try this. I love simple, homemade decor and am always looking for new ideas, it’s so much fun and looks cute. xx

Donna

Such a great idea!!! I did it a little different…..since I didn’t have any gold leaf on hand, I spray painted the pine cones with gold metallic paint. While I was spray painting the pine cones outside, the paint was getting on the fallen leaves too! It looked so pretty….Soooo, I picked out some really big beautiful fallen leaves from my yard, and started painting them to use on a different project. Thanks so much for the great ideas!

[...] I also admired  this sweet gold-dusted pinecone garland from The Sweetest Occasion blog, to make your own, see the full instructions here. [...]

Looks like a fabulous DIY project for my son…he’s going through a buried treasure phase and gold is obviously always what he’s hoping to find/dig up. Having some real gold for a fun project would make his year! Cheers, Rob

Janice

For a quicker version of this pretty garland, try the spray on metallic paint! You can cover as little or as much of the pine cone as you wish. Cheaper and easier!

cyd

Thanks for the suggestion, Janice! For myself, personally, I wanted the more mottled look you get with gold leaf, but gold spray paint is definitely a great option, too. Glad you enjoyed the post!

Susan

This is so pretty….my mantel is dark wood so it will really pop against it. If you are bringing in cones from outside, you should pop them in the oven on low heat overnight. Helps them open more, ensures they are dry and best of all, kills any little buggies that might have hitched a ride to warmer climes. (she says as realizing she forgot to do that with the ones on her dining room table)

[...] new. For something even more vibrant than spray paint, you can use gold leaf. I was inspired by this DIY from The Sweetest Occasion, which I followed pretty closely, when I tried out this project early this [...]

[...] We’re loving it strung up as garland on the mantle, which is exactly what we plan to do with ours! To get the lowdown on how to make your own, view the step-by-step on The Sweetest Occasion. [...]

[...] your house you want to look festive.  This is so pretty and you can find detailed instructions on The Sweetest Occasion - also,  loving her nail [...]

[...] the holiday spirit. Learn how to wrap your presents beautifully. 4. Another tutorial for Christmas. This would look perfect in your home. 5. The busy girl’s guide to a modern french manicure. [...]

Super cute, thank you for this great share :)

[...]  Photo Credits: Alice Patterson Photography   The Sweetest Occasion: Diy Gold Leaf Pine Cone Garland [...]

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