25+ Seasonal Accents Featuring Acorns {Tips & Tutorials}

If there are oak trees nearby producing an abundance of free acorns that you have access to, lucky you! They can be used in numerous ways and turn out lovely pieces for both Fall and Winter decorations.

Acorn Napkin Holders, Hurrican Vase Filler, Topiary Ball & Autumn Place Setting

Today I’ve put together a nice reference page for you to browse through and get ideas from:

  • First up is a sample of quick and easy decor items.
  • After this are step-by-step directions for cleaning and prepping acorns for crafting purposes.
  • Next you’ll find a large collection of lovely (and free) DIY tutorials for projects that are quite creative, I’m confident you’ll spot at least one or two that inspire you.
  • Finally at the bottom of the page, I started a “Bonus” list. Just a couple so far, but this is where I’ll stash anything interesting regarding how to use them around the home (other than crafts).

A few quick & crafty ideas to start with:

For Fall table decor, filling the bottom of a glass vase with acorns then inserting a candle (or votive) in the middle is really pretty. For added interest and contrast, begin first with a layer of dried black beans and a layer of brightly colored dried lentils.

An ornamental hanging ball, bowl filler or topiary top can be made by spray painting a styrofoam ball in a dark color then gluing acorns one by one all around the surface. To jazz it up, try painting them first (glitter or paint), either whole or just the caps.

Holders for fabric napkins are super simple to put together and can be done in a variety of ways. To make things easier (and reusable for next season’s holiday table), twist tiny screw eyes into the cap end, tie three together with a little piece of ribbon or slide onto small split rings.

This dangle will slide on and off any napkin ties you choose (ribbon, twine, string, elastic, etc.). If the caps come loose, just glue them back in place. For a 12 place setting, make 40 (this will give you a few extra if future repairs are ever needed).

Oak Leaves And Freshly Washed Acorns

Before getting started with any project though, it’s important to wash and debug them before using in crafts (just as you would with pine cones). The process is super simple:

How To Prep & Clean Acorns For Crafting

  • Pour them into a large bowl & cover with water. A bit of mild liquid soap can be added if they are quite dirty.
  • Scrub each one with a nylon scrubber or toothbrush to remove any insect larvae & debris.
  • Examine as you are washing them, look for cracks & tiny holes in the shells (holes indicate the presence of insects such as weevils) & discard.
  • Rinse clean then arrange in a single layer on a large, absorbant towel. Pat dry as best you can.
  • Leave for about an hour then arrange in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Preheat oven to 200°F.
  • When oven is ready, place the sheet on the middle rack & bake for approximately 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so with a wooden spoon.
    • Some recommend keeping the oven door open so the moisture escapes quicker.
  • Remove from the oven & allow to cool completely before using.

Quick Tips:

  • If the caps came off during the prepping process, simple glue them back on after they’re cooled from the heating process.
  • If you’d like a shiny finish, apply a coat of clear acrylic sealer before crafting (spray one side, allow to dry, flip & do the other).
  • Initially I had the heat setting higher & bake time lower, but find this method better as the nuts would sometimes get darker than I liked with the higher heat.

Crafty DIY Inspiration {Free Tutorials}

As always here on Tipnut, only those projects that are 100% hassle-free are included. This means there are no fees charged to access instructions, no email addresses to submit and no memberships to sign-up for. I also focus on text and image-based tutorials though there may be videos provided as additional support. If that has changed since being added to this page, please let me know in the comments area below so I can remove it.

Directions: Click on images to view project page, a new browser tab will open & save your spot here


Floating Candles

There are a few tutorials online for making these but I think this method is easiest. It recommends using uncooked rice to hold the shell caps in place while pouring hot beeswax to fill them. Once the wax has hardened, separate the candles & gently reheat the rice/wax spillover. This enables you to strain out the rice & reuse the leftover wax.

Source: abrokenumbrella.wordpress.com


Candle Wreath

Inspired by the Better Homes & Gardens Holiday Book, this replaces some of the shells with pearls. The base form is a small grapevine wreath. Also provides instructions for coordinating napkin rings with ribbon.

Source: hearthsong.blogspot.com


Hanging Mason Jar Lanterns

Inspired by Pottery Barn, a votive candle holder is placed inside a mason jar, filled partway with acorns then hung from wire handles (which you can buy or whip up yourself).

Source: livelaughrowe.com


Wreath

A 14″ straw form is covered with acorns (you’ll need 16 cups) using hot glue, then a pretty ribbon is looped around the top for hanging on your door.

Source: mariebostwick.com


Christmas Decorations

Shows step-by-step how to clean & prep then apply spray paint. Decorative elements are added with acrylic paint pens. These can then be used for ornaments, garlands, whatever you like! To hold in place while working on them, she has a clever tip to use wooden pushpins & styrofoam to stand them upright.

Source: pillarboxblue.com


Ornament

Styrofoam balls are painted then covered with just the caps (glued on). The whole piece is then decorated with glitter, ribbon & jute twine. Lovely as Christmas tree ornaments or bowl fillers.

Source: sweetsomethingdesign.blogspot.com


Picture Frame

A simple 1-hour project covering an inexpensive Dollar Store frame (uses hot glue).

Source: 320sycamoreblog.com


Garland

Since they’ll be painted, both green & brown varieties are fine. Recommends using an awl to poke into the cap end so it can be held comfortably while working on. Small screw eyes are attached with pliers then strung together with sturdy thread or twine.

Source: mudandbloom.com


Bonus

  • Did you know that you can start a seedling indoors in a vase? See this article for more details: Grow Your Own Oak Tree.
  • It’s possible to make flour from them which can then be used for a variety of goodies. Here’s an excellent article to get you started: How To Make Cold or Hot-Leached Acorn Flour. The page also includes a few recipes.

Related Posts

Comments

    • Chris
    Reply

    OK, it’s the perfect time to gather acorns, they are dropping like slow rain. Yesterday I spent a happy hour doing so. Today I baked them, and more than half split open vertically from end to end on one side. It’s as if they were expanding and had to split. What does that mean? Can I still use them if I glue the split side down, or not? I am so disappointed. The ones that are whole look great, but that’s only about a third of them.

    • kathymace
    Reply

    maybe try 175 degrees and longer time in the oven

    • Cheshirecat
    Reply

    I found that soaking them overnite in some water with dish soap, letting them dry and then putting them in a zip lock bag in the freezer for 24 hours does the same thing, and they don’t split. I also polish mine with furniture polish afterwards!!

    • Judie
    Reply

    I did the same thing, and lost half of the acorns even though I was careful not to bake any cracked ones. Lost about 1/3 of them, but worst was the microwave suggestion. Oh my gosh, they were like popcorn but made a big mess in the micro oven! Don’t do it! lol Next time I am doing a 175* oven for 10 minutes. If they are oily looking I’m guessing they are hot enough to kill critters!

    • Sheena McGuire
    Reply

    After cleaning the dirt chunks and soaking acorns, after laying them out to dry (1hour-overnight) preheat oven at lowest temp. (I did 170 degrees) bake them on a covered cookie sheet w a lip. Leave them in there for ab 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Give them a good shake every 30 mins to flip them some. Let them completely cool before handling them.

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