I’m mad for elaborate step-by-step instructions (especially Jennifer Murphy’s!) and since the velvet acorn instructions were so popular, I had a go with my pinecone turkey. As if creating these funny little beasts weren’t reward enough: fresh pinecones give off the most wonderful, sweet sap smell when drilled.
Tools and Materials
Pinecone (about 1 1/2″ in diameter)
Brown crepe paper
White chenille stems (pipe cleaners)
Acrylic paint in white, brown, red, orange and black
1/4″ wide paint brush
Scalloped pinking shears
Dremel drill with 3/64″ drill bit or similar
(Supplies and instructions for one tom turkey. Make multiples of the components if you are creating a flock.)
1. Cut 1 1/2″ tall strips of brown crepe paper, 10″ wide. Make sure the grain is top to bottom so it has a little stretch from left to right. Scallop the top.
2. Paint the tips of the “feathers” with brown acrylic paint.
3. Paint a highlight with white paint on top of the brown paint. Cut the 10″ wide piece into one 6″ and one 3 1/2″ inch wide piece.
4. Fold the “feathers” into an accordion and press them firmly together to pleat.
5. Gently spread out the feathers, without flattening the pleats.
6. Using a Dremel fitted with a 3/64″ drill bit or similar, drill a 1/2″ hole in the bottom of the pinecone for the pipe cleaner neck.
7. Holding a glue bottle flush with the hole, squirt in a dab of glue. Insert the tip of a 3″ pipe cleaner: gently push into pinecone.
8. Shape the turkey’s neck and wattle.
9. Wrap a 6″ pipe cleaner around the circumference of the pine cone, as tightly as possible. Under the belly of the turkey, twist the two ends of the pipe cleaners together, then shape into legs.
10. Trim legs as desired. Using a pliers, form 1/8″ feet by making a crook in each pipe cleaner end.
11. Dot a few dots of glue where the 6″ wide feather piece will go. Beginning in the center, place the feathers bottom into the pine cone, being sure to catch some glue. Continue down one side of the feathers, then the other, until completely nestled into the pine cone’s glue.
12. Turn the turkey around and repeat the process for the 3 1/2″ wide tail feathers, with the painted detail facing out.
13. Using a small paintbrush, paint the wattle of the turkey using the poncing technique to fill the voids of the pipe cleaner with red paint. Use black paint for the eyes, and orange for the beak. (I use black nail polish for the tiny eyes and t-shirt paint in an applicator bottle for the beak, which helps make the beak shape.)
14. Once the glue and paint has dried, shape the feathers as desired.
Using a pinecone that is about 1 1/2″ in diameter, the finished turkey will be about 3″ tall.
These little guys look great at Thanksgiving placesettings for kids of all ages. Prefer to outsource? These are available in my etsy shop.