How can I attach some wire to the end of a tiny pine cone in a non ugly way to make it into a Christmas ornament
December 15, 2011 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Hey crafties, do you know a good way for me to secure some wire to the end of a miniature pine cone in a non-ugly way so I can make a Christmas ornament out of it?

I've got these little bitty pine cones and I want to make ornaments out of them along the same lines as these seashell ornaments I made last year, particularly this one and this one. Gold or silver wire, gold or silver beads/bells, ribbon, spraypaint or not.

The seashells had a convenient cavity that i could stuff a tangle of the wire into and hot glue it in place, and then run the wire up the back, loop around the tip, and then straight up to terminate in a little loop that a hanger would go in.

The pine cones have no equivalent, just a flat or sort of pointy end. I've tried:

-Wrapping the wire around the bottommost set of scales but that pushes them out of alignment with their neighbors (looks bad) and sometimes breaks them off.

-Drilling a hole into the base of the pinecone through the stem with the tiniest drill bit so I could stick a gluey wire end down in there, but that just broke off the scales. Too small and delicate for that.

I've considered making a little wire spiral and gluing that flat to the end of the pinecone, but then I've got visible glue and a connection that wants to break off over time. I thought of plucking off the bottom row or two of scales, but a pinecone I found that was already like that doesn't look good - messes up the natural pine cone shape.

I want them to look just like the shell ones, with a wire sticking straight up out of the end so they'll look/hang straight and so I can attach a bead/bell and ribbon to it, but if there's another better way to do this, forget everything I've said and hit me with it. Thanks!
posted by Askr to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Is there enough internal stem that you could drill vertically into it, and stuff the end of the wire in there maybe secured with a very small dab of adhesive?
posted by Big_B at 10:33 AM on December 15, 2011

Have you tried to take a nail and push/hammer the very end into the pinecone? You'd be using the nail to make a hole and then stuff the end of the wire in there with some blue.

It's a less violent action then the drill.

You could also try using very itty bitty tiny jewelry grade eye hooks. and screwing them in by hand.
posted by royalsong at 10:39 AM on December 15, 2011

Seems like this is a job for fishing line, extremely fine nylon thread. It should be possible to tie a loop of fishing line around the pine cone without breaking or deforming it, and then connect the wire to an external loop of fishing line.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:48 AM on December 15, 2011

Seconding the eye hook, something like this. You could then attach wire to it to make them like the seashells.
posted by ljesse at 11:32 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think using a jewellery finding, like a bead cap with a loop, and hot glue, would work best. Caps that are shaped like these can be spread open more or less to fit a variety of items. For the other styles of caps, you'd just use a bigger bead of glue. They're inexpensive too, depending on which material you choose. They're available at most large department-like craft stores with beading supplies, like Michael's or AC Moore, and sometimes even JoAnne Fabrics (I didn't look to see where you are) - or check a jeweller's supply, if there are any near you.
posted by peagood at 1:05 PM on December 15, 2011

Skip the hot glue and get busy with two part epoxy! You can use much less and it will hold much stronger than hot glue.

I would cut the looped wires really (really) short, very close to the loop, dip the tiny wire nub into the epoxy, and touch the end to the pine cone. Let it set up for a few seconds and put it some place where it can harden without getting shuffled around. It should fully harden in 5 minutes - 24 hours depending on the epoxy. You'll need to work in small batches of epoxy -- it will get hard while you dab and situate your cones.

Cute project!
posted by danielle the bee at 3:21 PM on December 15, 2011

Big B, that's what I tried. The stem is too narrow gauge for me to drill into it with even the smallest drill bit thinner than a #2 pencil lead. And if I try to do it just off center, through the scales, it breaks them.

Royalsong, I tried pushing a needle down in there and I get through the first set of scales and into the second and can't push any harder without breaking scales off - either the ones I'm pushing through or the ones down on the body where I'm holding it. I like your idea of the jewelry hooks though. I think that's not going to work on the ones with pointy ends, but may work on the ones with flatter ends more like the ones in ljesse's link above. That one looks a lot more dense and less breakable than mine in that part but I'll give it a shot. I would think it would break the scales for the same reasons the drill did, but there is precedent so I'll try.

Chocolate Pickle, that's a good idea. The wire I have is too thick, but thread could get in there without disturbing the scales. I think what I'll get is some gold thread instead of fishing line.

Peagood, those little things may be perfect for the pine cones with pointy ends if they fit right. They'll even take the fanciness level up several notches. Thanks! I don't think they would fit on the flat ended ones in the right way unless flanged all the way out flat, but I'd like to try it on the pointies. That solves one of my two concerns with my original hot glue idea in that it would hide the glue. But the other concern - that it would break off at some point the future, is still there. I like the idea of something down in there instead of just on top. But I'll give it a shot. Just looked on Michael's website and don't see them in their findings section, but maybe they've got them if I go in person. I don't have time to order them online, make them, and mail them in time anyway.

Danielle I like the epoxy idea in terms of lowering the volume of glue and being more precise and being stronger. I'm left with the exposed glue/connection issue but Peagood's idea could possibly work in tandem with that to cover the connection spot.

I'll experiment with the jewelry hooks, bead caps, thread, and different glues. If anyone else has other ideas, please keep them coming.
posted by Askr at 3:41 PM on December 15, 2011

It's not always the way to go - but sometimes I use glitter glue gun sticks if it's going to show a bit and it's appropriate. But then, I have quite a craft arsenal, just in case I'm needed in an emergency kindergarten volunteer situation.

I also remembered this project, which I'd bookmarked - but it's not exactly elegant, like your ornaments are. I think the key is to screw the hooks in - not just pushing a pin (so, better jewellery hooks like royalsong suggested), because that is what powers through, and a straight pin doesn't have the required grip once it's in anyway. I know, I've attempted to do this with acorns, and ended up having to drill the caps and then assemble the (felted wool, newspaper papier mache, painted wooden bead) nut part afterward (Drill then screw = craftp*rn talk - sorry!) and I also know this from working with pearls as a former jeweler.

So, that said, considering I am sitting at a table with a vintage bread tin full of various personally-collected pinecones in front of me, I grabbed a small "eye" from a picture hanging kit I have around (see how I am), and with my bare hands, was able to get it in every pinecone but the one that looks like this, but that's because it has that stem. But I am also the person who would happily have 100 findings around just in case, so if you find the findings, go for it! Next year you may decide to hang kumquat pomanders.*

*I have made kumquat pomanders

posted by peagood at 6:29 PM on December 15, 2011

If you use thread and make a loop around the cone, then you'll be hanging it from one side and it'll hand crooket.

So use a figure-8 with the thread. Go halfway around, then loop over the top to the other side, go the other halfway around, and again loop over the top back to the original point. The two top loops are your attachment point, and the cone hangs straight.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:31 PM on December 15, 2011

Or you go one-and-a-half times around the cone, then up over the top to the origin. You get one loop over the top, not two, but the cone still hangs straight.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:32 PM on December 15, 2011

For any future pine cone ornamenters in the future, I wound up using peagood's suggestion of bead caps. I went with a sort of filigree kind. They come with little holes in the top, through which I ran a piece of wire with a bit of a knot on the bottom end. I hot glued that onto the stem end of the little pine cones. Since the glue is transparent, you couldn't really see it through the filigree. They looked great and I strung a bead and a bow on the wire sticking up out of there and formed the end of the wire above that into a little bitty loop through which you stick an ornament hanger. I've got 11.5 months to come up with next years ornament...
posted by Askr at 12:21 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

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