Rustic Wooden Box Centerpiece with Gold Pinecones



Linking up with the Dare to DIY-Dare to Entertain party!

Every once in awhile a remarkable thing happens: I have this idea in my head of how I want something to turn out, only I don’t really know how to make it happen. So I just completely make it up as I go along, and….it works.

Usually, of course, it’s a big disaster.

But this time it worked.

When I talked about my Thanksgiving vignette, I mentioned that I wanted this year’s centerpiece to be shorter and more portable than last year’s. I’ve seen rustic wooden boxes holding pretty stuff used as centerpieces all over the place, and I’ve always loved them (like this one from Desert Domicile and this oneΒ (a not as rustic variation) from Shift Ctrl Art, to give a couple of examples).

I asked Dave to whip one up for me, and he did, using wood left over from our farmhouse kitchen table. This was super, super simple, so I’m not going to ask Dave to make fancy diagrams or anything. I showed him about how long and wide I wanted it (a lot of them I’ve seen go nearly the length of the table, and I love that, but since I wanted portable mine’s a lot shorter). He cut up a pine 2 by 6 board and kreg jigged it all together, then gave it a light sanding (perfection is not called for, because it’s supposed to beΒ rustic).


So that part was made up as Dave went along, but that wasn’t the tricky part (especially not for me, since I didn’t do it).

I didn’t want to leave it natural wood, because I didn’t think it would look good on the black table runner (or on our mid-tone wood finish table, but that will be covered up on Thanksgiving). But I didn’t want to just paint it, either. I decided I wanted kind of an aged, worn looking white-ish finish.

I read up on both whitewashing and dry brushing, and tried to figure out which thing I was going for. And I decided to stain the box a darker color first (even though I could not find much evidence on google that this was a good idea) because I liked the idea of darker wood showing through the white finish.

Any time I put dark walnut stain on something, I fall in love with it and don’t want to another thing to it:



But I pushed through this weakness of mine for the beauty of dark walnut, and, still unsure of exactly what technique I wanted to use next (for I have never whitewashed nor dry brushed anything), I decided to just mix up some whitewash and see what happened. I just kind of eyeballed it, but I think I wound up with roughly 2/3 paint and 1/3 water (I used some very thin cheap white paint we had sitting around).

I brushed it on, hoping it would stick to the box okay despite the stain. It did, but it was really light. I did not, it seems, take a picture. I contemplated another coat, but then I said to hell with it, I’m ALL IN! And went to work on doing a coat of dry brush OVER the whitewash. That’s right: I’m just crazy enough to do that.

I wiped the still wet excess whitewash off with a paper towel first, then got just a little paint on the brush and lightly went over everything with the tips of it. And I really like how it turned out. So score one for random experimentation.



Gold pinecones require even less of a tutorial. We sent the kids out to collect pinecones from the church behind our house. I put them in the oven at 200 for about half an hour to kill any little bugs (don’t skip this part. I learned that the hard way and accidentally spray painted a few bugs. And then after that I felt really guilty for killing bugs who were just minding their own business, making themselves at home in pinecones, so I set the bags of pinecones outside overnight to give the savvier bugs a chance to find new places to live. Umm).



The other nice thing about baking them is that it seemed to kind of open them up a little…before they were all tightly closed, and I prefer my pinecones more relaxed.

Then I got some gold spray paint:



And spray painted them (also our basement floor some. Dave isn’t thrilled about this. But I know that EVERYTHING is prettier gold):

gold-pinecones2 gold-pinecones3


And then I had gold pinecones, which are fun to take pictures of:





The only thing I’d do differently about this project is make a false bottom out of cardboard for the box before filling it with pinecones. I had plenty, but I could have done a lot less spray painting for exactly the same look if I hadn’t filled the whole thing.

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Gold spray painted pine cones


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Rustic Wooden Box Centerpiece with Gold Pinecones — 32 Comments

  1. I love it! I’ve been wanting a rustic box (just a bit longer than this) for an all-year decoration for our table. I love the whitewashed version. I’m also a bit of a pinecone nut. I have a HUGE garbage bag from our wedding 6 years ago and I still use them. I actually painted some yellow last year for our silver tree and love how it turned out.

    • Aren’t they great? Target…they were surprisingly cheap…I want to say something like $6 for the set. So of course I had to have them πŸ™‚

  2. This is something for me!
    Love it! <3

    And: "I prefer my pinecones more relaxed." HAHAHA!
    (Umm. Does it only sound that funny for me as I'm not a native speaker or was it planned as a joke?)

    Love, Midsommarflicka

    • thanks! yeah, people don’t usually refer to pinecones as relaxed :)….I was just trying to think of how to describe them all tightly closed up versus when their….whatever you call the little poky parts of pinecones….open up more and spread out.

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    • lol–oh well! this one’s simple enough I think I could probably have done it without his help, and I’m pretty woodworking-averse πŸ™‚ thanks for stopping by!

    • Thanks, Carolyn! I kind of feel like if they come in my house they’re asking for it, but these bugs had no way of knowing I was going to drag pine cones inside πŸ™‚

    • I’ve already changed it out to go with my Christmas stuff…I’m excited about how easy it will be to change seasonally πŸ™‚

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