Creativity: Foam Cone Christmas Trees

Last year I bought 5 foam cone Christmas trees thinking it would be fun for the girls and I to decorate them together with buttons or ribbons, papers or fabrics, but Christmas came and went and those cones were dumped into a box of craft stuff, a black hole of possibilities that grows exponentially in this house of projects hoped for. But… I went into our storage room lately to look for something and ended up staying down there for nearly two hours cleaning with my tween. She was happy and helpful and totally ready to take anything I didn’t want off my hands. I’d always more fun to help when you’ll end up with hand-me-down “stuff.” She likes “stuff” and my Aria is as much a art supply pack rat than I am.

Anyway, we found the cones and I asked her to take them upstairs immediately so that we wouldn’t forget. In that same hour, I found an old Chubs diaper wipe box full of pistachio shells that I saved oh, about 8 years ago and decided it was now or the trash bin.


There were no instructions given. Just decorate it. Arianna made a salt dough star to glue on top of her yarn-wrapped tree. Luci covered hers in fabric, added a trunk, glitter glue garland, and a snow base made of salt dough. Elise turned her Christmas tree into a kitty cat with a candy cane tail and pistachio shell ears. And I dyed my pistachio shells green and yellow created a tree with those.

I was told that I should put my pistachio tree on Pinterest, after all, that’s how we found a lot of our ideas, but this one wasn’t there. So here’s a photo and some basic instructions. Truly, it’s just fun to hang out and get messy with the kids, so get a cone, find something you have already like beads or old crayons, dried leaves or tree bark, yarns or buttons… it doesn’t matter. Glue or wrap it all on and voila! It’s magic and Christmas-y all at once.

The Pistachio Tree(Instructions Below)



1 foam cone, 1 piece of fabric big enough to wrap around your cone, a bunch of pistachio shells (I used about 2 cups for this), food dye, vinegar, water, and a hot glue gun with extra glue sticks


  1. Fill a medium pot half-way with water and heat on medium heat.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 15 drops of green food dye – more or less to adjust for color.
  3. Add your pistachio shells, stir, turn your heat off, and let rest off of heat for at least an hour. More time will intensify the color. Less time will give you a paler color. For small amounts of other colors, I skip the pot and just add a bit of water, vinegar, and food dye into small bowls and add the number of shells needed.
  4. Allow your shells to dry.
  5. Wrap your cone in fabric using hot glue to hold it together. This gives a buffer between the shells and cone as hot glue tends to melt styro-foam.
  6. Begin at the bottom and glue pistachio shells all around your cone. Continue with a ring of shells just about those over lapping them slightly. Continue in this way until you’ve reached the top.
  7. Add yellow shells if you’d like, then fill in with green where your “foliage” looks sparse.

Enjoy!  This would looks great with white glitter or fake snow.



About Tiffany

I'm eclectic. Sometimes that's a good thing because I can do bits of everything. Sometimes it's aggravating because I get distracted by so many amazing things. Mostly, I love photography and family, travel and writing, cooking, reading, art, and coffee. Sundays are church days to regroup and refocus. God's in charge here.

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