DIY Winter Decorations

Let me begin with a disclaimer: I am not, not have I ever claimed to be, someone who is an authority on interior design or decorating.

But I do own (well, co-own with Tom) a house, and I do like to have something on the mantel, on the table in the foyer, and maybe in a few other places to tie it all together. Tom and I also budget our money. And right now, “decorating money” is pretty much non-existent. After all the Christmas decorations came down, I was a little sad looking at our boring, empty, undecorated space inside the house. I wanted to do something with blue, white, and silver for a wintry feeling. The problem with that is I don’t own a lot of wintry silver or blue. I have white candles (which can go with any season, really), but that was it.

So I was trying to think of how to acquire wintry, decorative items when I thought of this: Just collect a bunch of pinecones (and maybe some branches too), buy some spray paint, and make the decorations. Ok, I could do that. So I bought some white and silver spray paint from Wal-Mart for a whopping total of $5, and I headed out to the park yesterday morning with some empty shopping bags. In about 15 minutes, I filled 3 shopping bags with pinecones and collected a handful of pine branches that had fallen to the ground. Then I hightailed it back to the car because it is COLD outside right now.

Later, at home, I got out my handy-dandy shower curtain that I use for a drop-cloth when I paint things (like our china cabinet), and headed out to the yard.  I spread out the branches and some of the pinecones on the shower curtain and began to spray. Lesson number one: Patience is a virtue, and warm weather is a plus. I was very impatient about wanting the pinecones to be completely covered in paint.  I didn’t want to spray one side, wait for it to dry, go back outside, flip them all, and spray the other side. It was frigid outside, and my hands were freezing, so that might have contributed a bit to my impatience. So I went to town spraying the stuff, and ended up picking it up to spray it all over. Effectively coating my hands in spray paint and allowing the mist of spray paint to blow back against me…and my clothes. Dadgum it. After I had sprayed until there was almost no paint left in either can, I went inside, found some mineral spirits, and got the paint off of myself and my jacket. Lesson number two: Do not wear a Northface jacket or any other clothes you actually enjoy wearing when you are spray painting. Duh. Thank goodness for mineral spirits.

I only used about half the pinecones I collected.
I only used about half the pinecones I collected.
Before Painting.
Before Painting.
Whew, a bit overexposed. The light was reflecting off of the silver and white spray paint when I was done.
Whew, a bit overexposed. The light was reflecting off of the silver and white spray paint when I was done.

I left it all to dry outside. Then I began to wish I had thought of this in the summer. In the summer in Georgia, you can bake about anything outside. I could’ve spray painted those pinecones and had them dried in five minutes. As it was, I left them outside for hours to dry. I would have left them overnight to air out some, but I could just picture them, all wet and gross in the morning, so I decided to bring them in around 5 when Tom got home and could help me carry a couple corners of the shower curtain. We set them on the dining room table, and I went about setting them in hurricane lamps and on our mantel and table in the foyer. I noticed that the pinecones soaked in the white paint more than the silver, so the white could have used another coat. Lesson three: metallic paint shows up much better than white paint.

See the pinecone in the middle, left? It had white spray paint. Everything else around it had silver. The silver definitely shows up better.
See the pinecone in the middle, left? It had white spray paint. Everything else around it had silver. The silver definitely shows up better.
Mantel
Mantel
On the coffee table.
On the coffee table.
On the table in the foyer.
On the table in the foyer.
In the dining room.
In the dining room.

Then we went to workout. When I came out of our little home “gym” (it’s a bedroom with some workout equipment, a tv, and no bed) an hour later, I said to Tom, “…Do you smell that? What is that?” And my husband looked at me with a “you have got to be kidding asking me that” look and said, “It’s your pinecones.” Hmm….Lesson number four: Patience is a virtue, and rushing the airing out process is something you will regret when you have a headache from the smell.Stupid patience. I had to learn that one the hard way, twice.

This morning, I couldn’t take it anymore. It’s January. It’s cold. And the windows in the living room and dining room are open. I’ve got to air out this place. It reeks.  I also have lit all the candles that you see in the pictures above, because they are the “fresh cotton” scent, which I hope will counteract the smell in here. I’m just glad there weren’t enough fumes from the spray paint to blow this joint when I lit the candles. So I recommend using thriftiness and some spray paint to create home decor, but I definitely suggest you do it when you can allow the things you spray paint at least 24 hours to dry and air out, if not more. On the plus side, the candles being lit next to the silver and white branches and pinecones are very pretty.

Now, excuse me, I need to go rub the life back into my feet before I get frostbite. Brrrr….

~Meghan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *