How to make pinecone decorations for the holidays |

How to make pinecone decorations for the holidays

Artist Judy Day uses everyday objects to make her recycled mixed media art. She is a member of The Gallery on Keystone Lake.
Heather Jarvis / |


What: Pine Cone Decorations for the Holidays with Judy Day

When: Saturday, Dec. 10; noon to 2 p.m.

Where: The Gallery on Keystone Lake, 22174 US Highway 6, Unit 2, Lakeside Condos, Keystone. Parking is located at the Keystone Conference Center, use the tunnel to walk under the highway.

Cost: Free

More information: There will be cookies and cider in addition to the demonstration for the gallery’s Holiday Open House.

Day will also be teaching a class as part of Breckenridge Creative Arts’ MakeShift night on Dec. 8 from 6–8 p.m. Makeshift is a monthly makers night for adults featuring workshops with guest makers and other DIY-inspired activities on the Breckenridge Creative Arts District Campus. Admission is free and on a first-come, first-served basis.

When Judy Day sees everyday objects — buttons, safety pins, washers, cardboard — she doesn’t just view them for their intended purpose. Each piece, which normally would be thrown in the trash after use, becomes an essential element in her artwork. In a world where there is so much waste, Day appreciates the idea of giving these objects new life.

“We are such a throwaway society, I look at things and think, ‘What can I make out of that?’” she said.

The recycled mixed-media art takes on many forms, giving her pieces plenty of shape and textures, and the objects are blended into the piece so seamlessly it’s almost hard to decipher what it was originally. From a washer she found on the road that had been run over many times, to smashed bottle caps and old keys, Day never throws anything away.

For the holidays, Day has been creating decorations made out of pinecones found all over Summit County. Using an assortment of sizes, she makes everything from place card settings to ornaments to wreaths. A member of The Gallery on Keystone Lake, Day will be giving a demonstration of her pinecone art on Saturday, Dec. 10, from noon to 2 p.m.


Day grew up in a very artistic household, with a mother who was always crafting. In the beginning of her career as an occupational therapist in the Army, Day worked with patients using art as therapy, such as upper extremity strengthening with looms or weighted beaders, or developing fine coordination through macramé and leatherwork.

“I’ve always been interested in creating with my hands,” she said.

As her children grew up, she spent a lot of time working in arts and crafts with them in Cub Scouts, and never passes up a chance to give a homemade gift. Not only does she create recycled mixed-media art, but she also does watercolor paintings and jewelry. When she helped her mother move out of her home, Day added to her craft room with her mother’s collection of supplies. She joined the gallery in Keystone when it first opened in December 2010.

“I got involved here at the gallery because I wanted to continue her legacy,” Day said of her mother’s artwork.

“I love being a part of this gallery,” she continued. “There is such a diversity of art here, and all of the artists are so creative. … I think we are a hidden gem.”

She and her husband decided to retire in Summit County in 2007, spending most of the year here and a few of the off-season months at their home in Kansas.

“We’ve been coming and skiing at Copper for years,” she said. “When we were thinking about retiring and where we would like to be, we couldn’t think of a better place.”

Day and her husband have been ambassadors at Copper Mountain Resort for 10 years, and she has also been a member of Women of Watercolor since she moved to the county. On top of all the things she and her husband love to do outside — ski, hike, bike, kayak — she continues to create new pieces to add to the gallery. And, of course, saving anything and everything she comes across as potential pieces of art.

“Sometimes people think arts and crafts aren’t art, but I think the creative process of coming up with something and using your imagination — looking at supplies and how can I put those together — I think that’s art,” she said. “It may not be fine art, but it’s still art.”


Day made these pieces to go with place cards for a holiday dinner.

Materials for two decorations

2 lids from either a pill bottle or spice jar

2 wine corks

2 toothpicks

Glue gun

A handful of small pinecones


Acrylic paint


*Day said different sizes of pinecones can be found around the county. Most everything else can be found at the Wal-Mart in Frisco. Save a few corks from some holiday wine, and you’re good to go.

Step 1. Paint the wine corks and the lids to use as the base. For her decorations, Day painted a red cap and red cork, and green cap and green cork, alternating the colors of the base and lid.

Step 2. Glue the wine corks to the caps. Glue the ribbon around the base of the cap.

Step 3. Glue the small pinecones and beads around base. You can also add glitter if desired. If using a glue gun, Day said it sets up quickly and doesn’t need to sit. With tacky glue, however, wait a few minutes for it to dry.

Step 4. Break the toothpick in half. Using the pointed end, stick it down into the cork to make the wick for the candle flame. Using a decorative ribbon or felt, cut the material into the shape of a flame. You can also cover the flame in glue and dip it in glitter.

Step 5. Drip the hot glue down the side so it looks like dripping wax.

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