These pinecone animals are an easy DIY project to do with kids (or not-lol) and just require one person who can use a hot glue gun without burning too many finger tips. I’ll show you everything I used to create these guys (penguin, owl, and mouse) and provide some tips for adapting with materials you may already own.
Keep in mind that nature crafts like these ones are fairly fragile and not really suitable for play. They are lovely as decorations or ornaments. If you’d like more pinecone project ideas also see: 15 Pinecone Craft & Decor Projects.
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Scroll down for details on making each of the animals.
1. Hot glue gun
2. Glue sticks for hot glue gun
3. Self-adhesive styrofoam circles – dollar store (owl eyes)
4. Walnut (mouse head)
5. Wool fleece (owl face and belly) | I use this stuff for all sorts of toy making – see them here
6. Small Christmas tree balls (penguin head) | wood beads or paintable styrofoam balls would also work (they just need to be the right size for the pinecone)
7. Acrylic craft paints
8. Paint brush
9. Pinecones | The owl is made from the rounder pinecone. The penguin and mouse are made from long, narrow pinecones.
10. Wooden craft sticks – dollar store | toothpicks would be fine too
11. Pre-twisted rush twine (mouse tail) | I was given a huge roll of this stuff free. You could use twine string, craft pipe cleaner, or felt
12. Wool felt (penguin scarf) | I strongly prefer wool felt to acrylic. It looks and feels much nicer
12. Cardboard (feet, beaks, hands)
This guy is my favourite!
Tips for making a Pinecone Penguin
1. Everything is joined together using hot glue.
2. Use a narrow pinecone. Position it upside-down (see how the seeds are facing up, not down–just looks better in my opinion).
3. Trim off both ends of the pinecone to provide a flat surface for attaching the head and feet. I use garden pruning shears to clip the pinecones (they can be tough to cut!).
4. Head is made from a small, painted Christmas ornament. You could use any round item (like a wood bead) that can be painted. Paint the entire ball white, allow to dry, then add black details as shown in photo (top of head and eyes).
5. Nose is a piece of wood craft stick painted orange. If you want a baby penguin, use a triangle of orange or black cardstock.
6. Wings can be made from any black paper or cardstock.
6. Red wool felt scarf hides the glue holding the head on. It’s simply a rectangle of wool felt with the ends cut to look like fringe.
Related: 12 lovely nature craft ideas here.
Related: DIY repurposed owl wreath
Tips for making a Pinecone Owl
1. Everything is joined together using hot glue.
2. Use a round / oval pinecone for the owl.
3. The head and belly are defined with wool fleece. You could also use cotton balls or toy stuffing (tease it first with your fingers so it forms one piece). Use a chopstick to push the fleece into the crevices of the pinecone or hot glue it in place. The head area is smaller than the belly. When it looks good, you’re ready for the next step.
4. I used self-adhesive styrofoam for the eyes. I painted them a chestnut orange, let the paint dry, and then added black pupils with dots of white paint. You could also use eyes ready made for toy making.
5. The beak is a triangle of cardstock painted brown and folded in the middle. Hot glue them on and you’re done!
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I used to make these when I was a kid. Truthfully, I find them kind of goofy looking but little kids seem to find them very sweet.
Tips for making a Pinecone Mouse
I made my mouse standing up but you can also make them standing on all four hands and feet if you prefer (there’s lots of images online to refer to).
1. Everything is attached together using hot glue.
2. Use a narrow pinecone, upside-down (just looks better this way). Cut off the tips of the pinecone to allow good gluing surfaces.
3. The head is a walnut. I’ve also seen this done with dry corn husks. Use anything that looks right to you. I glued on pinecone seeds for ears, used dabs of black paint for the eyes, the nose is a dab of pink paint, and I used a black sharpie to dry fine whiskers from the nose. Walnut warning: the walnut is quite heavy for the head and may make your mouse tip over. It’s fine if you’re using it as an ornament or can pose it with something propping it up though.
4. The hands and feet are plain corrugated cardboard. I’m sure they have almost no resemblance to real mice hands and feet but this is a craft, not a science project.
5. The tail is a piece of pre-twisted rush twine. Use anything you have that looks tail-like.
Add a loop of string to hang it as an ornament or pose it as a decoration. It would look very cute on a cheese tray at a party!
More Craft Ideas
- Earth-wise Owls – made entirely from recycled items
- Storybook felt toys – make a mouse, dog, and more
- DIY Golf ball Garden Buddies – create fun creatures from unwanted golf balls
- Paint COOL Shoes – turn plain shoes into something wonderful
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛