DIY Specimen Art: Painted Pine Cone Plaques

DIY Painted Pinecone Plaque

Specimen art is everywhere: botanical prints, antique scientific illustrations, apothecary jars with metallic taxidermy. But it’s expensive. Here’s a way to get the look on a budget: Painted Pine Cone Plaques.

We made these for our Home for the Holidays party with HGTV’s Design Happens blog, and it was truly a group effort. Kayla Kitts, from DH, dressed up the pine cones (from Kelly Smith Trimble’s backyard) with glitter and paint. Kelly painted the plaques and gave the trim a little metallic shimmer. And Farima Alavi, also from DH, helped me apply craft paper backing and attach the pine cones. Click through the photos below to learn how to make your own!

DIY Painted Pinecone Plaques

The pine cone plaques look amazing over the HGTV HOME gray tufted chair and copper side table.

When grouped together, these plaques look like they came from a holiday catalogue. I think Kayla, Kelly, Farima and I need to scheme on more pine cone decorations. There’s so much you can do, like these scented pine cones that make your fire smell good or this adorable pine cone and berry wreath.

What’s your favorite pine cone craft?


Step 1

 Open Gallerycreating whitewash paintPaint your plaques in the color of your choice. We wanted a natural, casual look, so we painted the bare wood with watered-down latex paint. To get this whitewashed effect, mix about 3 parts paint to 1 part water, then apply.

Step 2

 Open Gallerywiping paint off plaques Let the paint sit a few minutes, then use a rag to rub the paint into the wood and then to wipe the excess away. Let the paint dry.

Step 3

 Open Gallerycopper paint for trim Add a little sophisticated touch by painting the edges of the plaque. We chose copper metallic paint for some shimmer.

Step 4

 Open Gallerycopper edged plaque Use a small-tip brush and paint carefully for a clean edge. Let the paint dry completely.

Step 5

 Open GalleryCrease Craft PaperTake a craft paper or wallpaper you like and place over the plaque. Press along the edges to create faint creases.

Step 6

 Open GalleryCut Craft PaperWith an X-Acto knife or box cutter, cut along the creases.

Step 7

 Open GalleryAdhesive Spray Craft PaperSpray the back of the paper cutout with spray adhesive. One light coat is all you need.

Step 8

 Open GalleryPress Craft PaperPress the cutout on the plaque. Even a light coat of spray adhesive is the real deal. Be very careful when lining up the paper before you press down. If you need a redo, you’ve got about a three-second time window to peel the paper off (slowly!) without ripping.

Step 9

 Open GalleryArrange Pinecones on PlaqueArrange your pine cones how you want them on the plaque. Play around with sizes and bunches. One is very specimen art, but two or three together can create a fun, preppy crest-like design. (Kayla pre-painted these pine cones. Simply paint the tips, sprinkle glitter over them and let dry. Or use glittery craft paint from the start.)

Step 10

 Open GalleryHot Glue PineconesAttach a small push-in picture hanger on the back of the plaque. Do this before glueing pine cones so you have a flat surface. With a hot glue gun, dab a little glue on a couple of the pine cone scales that touch the plaque. Gently press into the plaque.

Step 11

 Open GalleryHanging Painted Pinecone PlaquesHang your plaque and admire your new specimen art!



  • Small-tip craft paintbrush
  • Rag for wiping paint
  • Hot glue gun
About Deanne Revel 


I manage social media for, and When I'm not instagramming and pinning, I'm dancing at Zumba and failing at the shimmy. I love vanilla chai, ...

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2 Responses

  1. pixperf says:

    Unique but inexpensive way to do creative party settings!!! I want to try different glassware and different paints and techniques. My mind is busy already! Thanks for a wonderful easy demonstration!! Rich looking results!
    <a href="">Kunstler Print

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