Fall Craft: Painted Acorns

By Nikki Gass November 9, 2017

Did you notice the mass amounts of acorns that fell this year? I live around trees, so for weeks I heard them smacking on the roof and bouncing off the deck. It only took about three times of sweeping them off the sidewalks and deck, for me to start thinking that these could make cool projects! The painted rock thing has been huge in our area and it gave me an idea. How about painting some acorns? This could make a fun activity for the girls to do and could make great fall decorations for the house and for our table for Thanksgiving dinner! Or how about outside in a fall planter or fairy garden? The possibilities are endless. 
I did a little research on the way that you could best “keep” acorns for decorations. Inside the acorn is a little nut and after a while the acorn could begin to rot inside the shell. I read the best way to use acorns for decoration is to bake them in the oven first. If you are tight on time and want a quick activity, then by all means go ahead and paint your acorns! If you want to keep your acorns around longer or even use them again next year, then you might want to pop them in the oven for a couple hours to dry out.

Here is what we needed:

  • Acorns (try to find ones with the little caps still attached, this was a challenge)
  • Bowl of water and towel to rinse off any dirt and dry the acorns off
  • Acrylic paints and paint brushes (I used a variety of types)
  • Newspaper or paper plate (to protect your table from the mess and to allow them to dry)
  • Optional- Clear coating spray (if you plan to use them where they might get wet or outside)
  • Optional- Foiled pan and oven (if you decide to bake the acorns to preserve them)

Here is how we did it:

  • I sent my girls on an acorn hunt to try to find the best acorns they could. We made it into a game of who could find the most in 2 minutes!
  • We weeded out the bad acorns or the ones that were broken. We took them inside and put them in cool water to rinse off any dirt.
  • We preheated the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and we dried off the acorns with a towel.
  • We foiled a tray and cooked the acorns for about 2 hours, checking periodically to make sure none were burning.
  • We let the acorns cool for a while until they were no longer hot to touch.
  • Finally, it was time to paint, we used newspaper and a paper plate to help protect our table. I let the girls do whatever they wanted. My oldest took her time and did some with details, where my youngest did her own quick 3-year-old’s designs.
  • I let the acorns sit for a couple hours to allow the paint to dry and then I took them outside on the plate and sprayed them with a gloss finish spray paint (I used Krylon’s Triple Thick Gloss since I had it sitting around the house for other craft projects, but any gloss or satin clear spray will work)
  • I let the acorns sit overnight to make sure they were dry and then they were finished and ready to use.

Lessons Learned: As always, I like to look back at my projects and see if there is any advice I could give to make this easier or the outcome any different. I think overall it came out pretty good! It was a good activity to do on a fall afternoon when there is not much going on! It took a little longer then my impatient children wanted with the whole drying of the acorns in the oven, but they still had fun nonetheless! Also, as I said earlier, you can totally skip the oven part if you want a quick activity to keep the kids busy. The only thing I would do differently next time is buy some colors that were more fall appropriate or even some gold or silver. We just used the little dollar acrylic paint pallets that I had laying around the house from previous crafts, so it was nothing special and made for some bright designs, but we probably won’t be using as “fall decoration”. If you wanted to plan to incorporate them into some décor, then plan ahead with some different colors. Another thought was that since a lot of the acorns were missing their caps or some the caps fell off during the baking process, you could always use a hot glue gun to glue the missing caps back on! Lastly, how cute would these acorns be as little jack o lanterns?! Or how about little Easter eggs?! If you have extra acorns, you could always save them to use as other holiday crafts!

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