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DIY Pine Cone Zinnia Flowers

Painted Pinecone supplies. 3 cans of spray paint, a paint brush, a toilet paper roll, yellow acrylic paint and pinecones

Summer flowers are a beautiful part of your garden, but why let them wilt away in a vase? We'll show you how to make long-lasting faux flowers from nature's other offering: pine cones! These zinnia inspired pieces are great indoor or outdoor decor, plus they're easy and inexpensive to make.

For this project, you'll need:

  • Pine cones (any type, size, or shape - just make sure they're dry!)
  • Rustoleum Painters Touch 2X Ultra Cover Spray Paint + Primer in Blossom White (satin finish)
  • Rustoleum Painters Touch 2X Ultra Cover Spray Paint + Primer in Ocean Mist and Coral (gloss finish)
  • Rustoleum Painters Touch Ultra Cover Premium Latex Paint in Sun Yellow (gloss finish)
  • Paint brush (2" or smaller)
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Drop cloth

Step 1: Prepare your pine cones

three pinecones sitting on a wooden board

Any type of pine cone will work, as long as it has the floral shape on the bottom. We recommend using a range of sizes, and making sure that the entire pine cone is as clean as possible. Use your dry paint brush to remove any dirt and debris before getting started.

close up of a pinecone

One thing to consider is the 3D shape of the pine cone. For best spray paint results, it is ideal to stand the pine cone upside down so you can spray 360° around it. We used a paper towel tube cut into pieces as a holder for the cone.

Pinecone upside down in a toilet paper holder ready to be painted

We also recommend covering your work surface with a drop cloth, or a layer of paper to protect it from over-spray. When using with spray paint, always work in a well ventilated area and use proper safety equipment. Safety goggles, and gloves are a good start.

Step 2: Spray a white base layer

Can of spray primer and a pincone in a toilet paper holder

Before you spray the white base layer of paint on the pine cone, you'll want to consider the final product. We chose to spray only the base of the pine cone and a few of the first layers so that some of the natural brown color will still be visible at the end. This gives the 'flower' a nice vintage look and preserves some of its natural beauty. You may prefer to cover the entire cone in color for a more dramatic look. Either way is just fine.

If you're in a hurry, lacking cardboard tubes, or simply trying to get a lot of 'flowers' made, you can also lay them out assembly line style and paint one side at a time. While this technique won't give you as precise results, it will help speed up the process.

Step 3: Let the first coat of paint dry completely.

a row of primed pinecones

Step 4: Apply color

Pink spray paint on the bottom of a pinecone

Remember: don't hold the can too close, and use short strokes! You will need to rotate the cone to get paint in all of those nooks and crannies. Be sure to keep the spray can upright at all times to avoid splatters.

completed coated pinecone in pink paint

Again, the assembly line technique will work here, and might be easier if you plan to cover the entire cone. Just be extra careful to avoid spraying too much paint, which will ultimately cause the cone to stick to your surface. You will still need to paint one side at a time and rotate the cone after it dries to cover the other side.

Don't forget to let the paint dry completely before moving to the next step! Repeat as desired for multiple colors.

Step 5: Details

shimmering pink paint on the bottom of a pinecone

Of course, this step is completely optional, but we think it adds a lot to your finished piece! After our color was completely dry, we lightly misted our 'flowers' with white spray paint one more time. To achieve this look, hold the can farther away than usual, and spray the cone in very light and short strokes. It's better to start too light and build up your white layer than to spray full-force and end up with too much.

Don't forget to let the paint dry completely before moving to the next step! Repeat until the desired look is achieved.

Step 6: Add the yellow center

paint brush being dipped into a small can of yellow paint

Feel free to experiment with different brushes, or other application tools, on your surface covering. We used a pencil eraser as an alternate application method for small cones. You could even use a sponge for all-over texture!

applying yellow paint to the bottom center part of the pinecone previously painted

Apply the yellow paint while holding the cone or using one of your cardboard stands. Again, start light and build up to the amount of yellow you prefer.

Step 6: Let your 'flowers' dry overnight

four painted pinecones to look like zinnia flowers

Your paint will be dry to the touch in about an hour, but it should be left to cure until it's completely hardened. Be sure to read the back of the can for ideal drying times and conditions. It may not need a full 8 hours, but we think leaving them overnight helps quell the temptation to touch them before they're completely dry.

Step 7: Show off!

Final product. Zinnia painted pinecones around a wire lantern sitting on a wooden table

These faux flowers can be used in many different ways. We chose to use ours as filler for an outdoor lighting* display. Get creative! Tie some string around them for a garland, fill a vase with them for a bold accent piece, or attach them to a round form for a festive wreath.

*This decorative lantern is available seasonally at select Valu locations. Please call ahead to your local store before visiting.

Decided to get creative and take on this DIY project? We would love to see your photos! Share them with us on Twitter, or Instagram using #DoItYourSELFIE and we’ll share them with our fans!

Need some help, or more supplies? Visit your local Valu and speak to our knowledgeable Associates today.