Sunday, 12 January 2014

1:12 scale Pine cone tutorial

You will need:-

  • Fine pointed tweezers
  • Heavy stock paper (I used paper from a scrapbook, I think it would be described as heavy)
  • Pva glue
  • Fimo
  • Wire
  • Flower paper punch
  • Nail scissors

I used a Woodware paperpunch, though any flower paper punch will do, so long as the petals are fairly narrow. 

Make a small ball with fimo, then carefully pinch one end, rolling it roughly into this shape, and then insert a wire into it. You can make them a little bit bigger than this, it just takes longer to stick the scales on. Then bake, according to the instructions on the fimo packet. Though, when the fimo is this small, I think you can bake for half the time the instructions say.

Punch out some flowers, I only used the petals from two and a half flowers of this lot, for the fimo base above. Use a stylus tool to cup the tips of each petal.

Using nail scissors snip the ends off, of each petal........

...and store in a receptacle of some sort. Do not cough or sigh heavily with boredom (involuntary around the second or third pine cone) or the scales will fly all over the show :D

You won't need to do this for the first row. Hold the scale in the tweezers as shown, with the concave side facing upwards.

Then using your fingertip and thumb pinch the sides up the way.

Apply a line of glue near the base as shown. I use a fine tip applicator, which makes gluing a lot easier.

Arrange the scales as shown, with the convex side facing out. You do not need to pinch these scales, before attaching. Moisten your fingertip, ok, I dab my fingertip on my tongue, and then lift a scale that way, and then you can manipulate the scale with the fine tip tweezers more easily. Lifting a scale using tweezers from a flat surface is nightmarish.
When doing each row of scales, it is best to make sure the glue in the last row has dried, otherwise you might dislodge a few scales. Having a couple of pine cones in the making gives you something to work on, whilst a row dries. 

Add a second row of scales, (with the concave side facing inwards, and the convex outwards) and layer these so they have the effect of roof shingles. Instead of applying glue to the fimo, as in the first row, I put a blob of pva glue out, on to the nearest non absorbent surface usually, and dip the base of the scale in to it, before attaching to the fimo base. These scales should be pinched lightly first. Position the scale so just the cut edge is attached. I also put the wire into a brass tube off cut, to make the pine cone easier to work with, which I can put into a small glass or likewise, when I need both my hands for pinching the scales or something.

At about the third row, on my fimo base, you can see the ball is disappearing. In nature the pine cone scales would be getting smaller and fewer as they spiral inwards toward the top (and at the base too, but I just ignore the base) and still maintain a regular spiral overlap. Anyway, because the scales are all the same size, you will have to use artistic judgement to decide where to put the scales, so you have the appearance of regular overlaps, this is why the pinching of the scales is important, particularly near the top.

Once the glue has dried, you can paint them with slightly watery acrylic paint, though work quickly as the water will soak through and soften the glue, which may cause the scales to fall off or move from position. 

You can also roll the pine cone between your fingertips, to close the scales. I used some water colour paint on this one, which has caused the paper to swell, my acrylic paints are in the attic, and I was too lazy to go up and get them :D So avoid using water colour paint.

You can leave the wire in the pine cone, if you want to attach it to something that way, or just snip it off.

These are larger pine cones, than the one in this tutorial, and take a bit longer to do, as they have more scales. They are about 8mm high. That would make them about 10cm high in real life. I painted these with slightly watery acrylic paint, and dry brushed the scales with white acrylic paint, and used the tweezers to bend the scales back a bit.


  1. Amazing work! Thank you for the tutorial ;)

  2. Another great tutorial! Thanks for sharing.
    Hugs, Drora

  3. Totally cool. I think I might go blind doing it, but...totally cool!

  4. How amazing! I always think of myself as patient but not sure I could handle this. Hoowever, it is a very clever technique. I wonder how many you plan to make.
    Regards Janine

  5. les pommes de pin sont superbes. Votre tutoriel est excellent, merci !

  6. These look fabulous. So clever and realistic. Thanks for sharing the tutorial =0)

  7. Your cones are wonderful well made. I am very impressed. Thanks for showing how.

  8. Fabulous!! Very realistic pinecones, Sarah, thank you for sharing this tut!
    Hugs, Ilona

  9. Awesome! Thank you for the tutorial!

  10. Que buen tutorial. Gracias y un beso

  11. Danke für diese nette Idee! Liebe Grüße Hannelore

  12. Your pinecones look awesome! Thanks for sharing the how-to!

  13. Ingenious! Thanks for sharing.
    Greetings, Faby

  14. These are wonderful!!! Great work and thank you for sharing!!

  15. Wat mooi. Ga ik zeker proberen.
    Groetjes, Monica (NL)

  16. Hi Amber! I just started to follow you. Your miniatures are incredible and your tutorials very clear.
    Thank you for sharing your ideas
    Greetings from Italy!


  17. making pine cones is on my wish list... thanks for a great tut!

  18. I remember I left a comment when you posted this tutorial and I was writing about having the same small puncher and about how cute your pine cones are but I cannot see it here!!! Probably one of Blogger's problems!! Thanks for the tutorial!

  19. I love the realism of these cones, very nice! I will definitaly try your turorial one day, thanks for writing it for us!

  20. Спасибо за прекрасный урок! Я обязательно попробую сделать такие шишки! Мне они очень нравятся!

  21. The couch is gorgeous!! You are by far amazing in this scale.

  22. Oh wow, that is incredible! Such detail (and also such work)
    thank you :)

  23. Fantastic tutorial! Great work and thank you for sharing!!

  24. Wow, I love it. It's fantastic. Thank you.

  25. fantastique, merci pour le partage


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