Pine Cone Craft: Splatter Painting

This fun pine cone craft is the perfect way to finally use the 8 million cones your kids collected on your last nature walk. Using a traditional splatter painting technique, this project is delightfully messy and is best done outdoors on a drop cloth or tray.

3 pincones on a tray splattered with bright pink, teal, yellow, and purple paint.

Splatter Painting Pine Cone Craft

Around here we love getting outside and getting our hands dirty. With our two great loves, both accounted for in this project, I knew it would be a big hit with my son!

At least once a week, we take a leisurely walk through nature for pure enjoyment. As we walk, I allow my kids to spend time closely observing the items they find along our path. Of course, they usually pick a few items to bring home. Thankfully nature art ideas are endless. This painting project is just one of the many crafty ways we’ve found to make use of our nature collection.

an ice cube tray filled with paint and sitting next to a tray of pinecones splattered with a variety of bright paint colors.

Materials Needed:

  • pine cones, ideally collected via nature walk
  • washable paints in various colors
  • paint brushes
  • ice tray to hold paints, optional
  • tray or drop cloth for the work surface

Skills Addressed:

Like all art projects, this pine cone craft is a great way to boost creativity, perseverance, fine motor, and gross motor skills. Studies also show that kids who participate in the arts tend to do better academically, no doubt due to the benefits listed above.  As a parent or educator, never doubt the power of paint!

If you collect the pine cones yourselves, via nature walk, your kids will also have the opportunity to hone their scientific skills of observing, classifying, and more!

a child proudly holding a splatter painted pine cone in his hand.

Ways to Create:

For this project kids can try a variety of techniques for splattering paint onto their pine cones. Using a generous amount of paint, kids can fling paint onto the cones with a simple flick of the wrist.  Kids who don’t mind getting dirty can also try running their fingers across the tip of the brush, which will send a spray of paint out from the brush head. Both of these techniques are very messy (and fun), so be sure the kids are wearing smocks or clothes that you don’t mind staining.

Since the paint really flies during this activity, we found it best to use several pine cones at once. You can never be quite sure where all the paint drops are going to land. Using more pine cones gives the paint a better shot at a direct hit, which means less wasted paint and money.

Adapting for Special Needs:

muscle tone –  try paint brush handles of varying girth to accommodate students with high or low muscle tone.

ability – for kids who cannot easily manipulate a paint brush or become frustrated with the splatter painting technique, allow them to roll the pine cones in different colors of paint instead. The project will still look wonderful!

Additional Resources You’ll Love

A Spray Bottle Art Project For Nature Lovers

A Marble Painting Project with a Surprising Secret

A Fun Way to Practice Patterns With Nature

Transform A Picture Frame into a Vibrant Pine Cone Collage

An Affordable Birdfeeder Made From Nature

painted pinecones on a clear plastic tray.
a view of 3 painted pineccones from the top.

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