We love succulents, especially faux ones for crafting. But wow can they be expensive! Then it hit us that succulents look a lot like pine cones. So we set out to see if we could paint pine cones to look like succulents. We think they turned out great!
For this project, we made the faux succulents into a succulent vertical garden. We think they are just so cool! As we worked on the vertical garden, we kept thinking of other projects we could do. Make faux succulents and “plant” them in a teacup. Cover a wreath with them. Fill the back of a toy truck. Even do a birdcage. Now, we want to do all those projects!
How To Make Faux Succulents From Pine Cones
Ornate Picture Frame (14″ x 17″)
Pine cones: small, medium, and large (65 total)
Acrylic craft paint: Jade Green, Turquoise, Light Aqua, Medium Green, Forest Green, & Chartreuse
Hot glue gun & glue sticks
Long-handled rose bypass loppers or a handsaw
1. Collect Your Pine Cones
Start by collecting all kinds of pine cones. Go for a nice walk in your neighborhood and look for ones that look like succulents. Look at the bottoms too! Try to gather a few large pine cones, a lot of medium-sized pine cones, and many, many little ones. If you can’t find enough pine cones in your neighborhood, you can buy bags of pine cones at the craft store. (Now we see terrific pine cones everywhere we go. We want to collect them all!)
2. Cut The Pine Cones
Cut a few of the large pine cones in half. That way you can use both the top and a bottom. (The bottoms of pine cones look like succulents, too!) It took us a little while to figure out the best way to cut the pine cones in half. A handsaw worked okay, but required a little elbow grease. The bypass loppers that we use on our roses actually worked the best. They cut the pine cones right in half. So if you have loppers, start with those!
(A word to the squeamish: If bugs give you the willies, let your pine cones rest outside to give any hitchhikers a chance to get away.)
3. Paint The Pine Cones
Next, paint the pine cones to look like succulents. We chose shades of frosty blue and green. (Pull up photos of real succulents on Pinterest to see some color ideas.) You can use the craft paint straight from the container with no added water. Let the painted pine cones dry, then brush on touches of lighter colors to the tips of the pine cones.
4. Paint The Frame
If your frame has glass, remove it. Pick one of the paint colors from the succulents and paint the frame. Paint the backing board inside, as well, in case it shows through the pine cones and moss.
5. Glue The Pine Cones
Hot glue a large painted pine cone to the backing inside the frame. Then add medium-sized pine cones around the big one. Glue them in place. Fill in the spaces between with smaller pine cones. Then add another large pine cone to the frame and keep going in the same way. Let the pine cones run over the edge of the frame so it will look like the pine cone succulents are growing right out of the frame. Tuck little pieces of Spanish moss into any open spaces. You can put a dab of hot glue on the moss and then poke it in with a craft stick. (Don’t burn your fingers!)
Didn’t it turn out so cool?! We love that we can have a succulent garden that will stay green all year. No watering required at all!
Do you think you’ll try making some pine cone succulents? We’d love to hear what you do with them. Leave us a comment. We’d love to hear from you!
Jennifer & Kitty
Love the Faux Succulent Vertical Garden? Pin it!