Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Plaster dipped pinecones...

 TUTORIAL 

   

Making Christmas decorations is an absolute must for me during advent...I remember making  decorations with my mum by candlelight, a cup of hot chocolate and lots of Christmas cookies...
Now, we never made these, but none the less, it is that feeling...when you are covered in glitter and its cold outside!!

This project will take you outdoors in the cold, then bring you back inside for a cosy winters night glitter session...


Pinecones....I love them! Like natures own little ornaments, and essential for the Christmas tree!
A few weeks ago I went out in our local woods and filled my bag with pinecones, not really knowing what my plan for them was... 
I love how they look naturally, but I also wanted to ad a little Christmas sparkle to them....and I have always wanted to try dipping them in plaster (I've seen a few people trying this, but not with great results)...so I decided to have a go....


I soaked my pinecones in water, and scrubbed them clean, then put them in my oven on 100 c for about 45 min to dry out....I didn't want to overdo it, as I wanted the pinecones to stay closed for dipping in plaster...
Pinecones will close up when wet, and open when dry...


 Next, I drilled a little hole in the end of my pinecones, and glued in some jewellery eye pins....so that I could easily string them up....both for the next step and for later.
 

 MIXING UP PLASTER

Like I said above, I read a few tutorials on dipping pinecones in plaster, none of which were very successful...but I think I know where they went wrong: the pinecones have to be dry, but not opened, and then there is the plaster mix: I have been working with plaster for years in the film industry, and I am very comfortable with it as a material.

 

I decided to use casting plaster for my pinecones, as it dries quickly...
When mixing up the plaster, add the plaster to lukewarm water, until it peeks out over the surface, then leave for a few minutes until this plaster has soaked up moisture from the water, then using your hands, mix thoroughly together...this should give you the consistency you are after: not too runny, but just thick enough to form a thin film on your hand when you take it out of the mix...

 
Working fast, I dipped my pinecones in the plaster mix, and hung up to dry...I dipped each pinecone twice, letting the first layer stiffen (but not cure) before re-dipping...Taking care not to use the plaster mix when it had thickened too much, but mixing up more as I went...


Once the plaster has set, leave to cure over night in a dry warm spot on a towel...don't cover them up, as you want the moisture in the plaster to totally evaporate (or you could get mould in the plaster)...

...MORE EXPERIMENTING:

 

I also tried dipping the pinecones in gloss paint (1st from the left in the picture ), but found that the gloss took more than 2 days to fully dry, and I didn't like the look as much as the plaster-dipped pinecones (2nd from the left). Some of the pinecones I lightly dusted with some white spray-paint(3rd from the left), and I loved how these looked when they opened fully out as they dried...and some I've just kept natural (4th from the left)


DECORATING...

 

For the plaster-dipped pinecones, I simply brushed on some PVA craft glue...don't overload the brush with glue and start at the top of the pinecone and brush downwards...then sprinkled with glitter!
(I love that I get to use lots of glitter at Christmas....he he!)
And I love the way they turned out...


 The pinecones that I just dusted with white spray paint I gave the same treatment, only this time I used Epson salts to add a subtle "frost"-effect:



...and the same for some of my plain ones. Some I've kept natural or just spray-painted white...

 

I love the way they all look together


Thread some ribbon through the eye-pin, or use jewellery wire (The plaster ones will need wire, as the eye-pins were almost hidden in the plaster) so you can hang up your pinecones:

 

 .....Little miss moo loved decorating her little frosted Christmas tree with them...

 

And I think they look lovely....

Note: try not to place these near heating etc. as that will cause the pinecones to open more, and the plaster to crack..

 

I am planning on using these in my next post, all about bringing cosy light into the winter night....so tune in over the weekend to see how...

Thanks for popping by, please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below..

xxx
June

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