I made these giant acorns to hang on my natural themed Christmas tree this year. Pretty simple to make over a few evenings (drying time) at the coffee table.
A box of old pine cones
Hot glue sticks
Step 1: Make an "egg"corn
Loosely ball up some newspaper into a general large egg shape and wrap it into form with bits of masking tape. Then use paper mache (mix 1 part white glue to 2 parts warm water). Dip or soak bits of paper in the glue mix and put two layers on the "egg".
At this point its a lumpy acorn, to make it smooth add some lightweight drywall mud and sand it smooth. Not a necessary step and I didn't do it here, but it would have made it nicer.
Paint a base color on the paper mache before gluing on the scales in the next step; spray paint or brushed acrylics work just fine.
Step 2: Cone Collection and Glue
I collected some limber pine cones in the Sangre De Cristo Mountain area of Colorado; they don't have the spiny bristles of some other pine cones, but other cone types can work too. The old grey cones on the ground come apart much easier than fresh cones. Once the first "scale" is pulled loose the others seem to come out easily.
Hot glue the scales starting near the upper 1/3 area. It took about two pine cones and two glue sticks to form the top. When complete with the scales, glue in a little stick at the top to make a stem. Pull all the glue spider webs.
Step 3: Paint and Glitter
Decorate the giant acorns with acrylic paints, or textiles, or glitter, etc. I made mine Christmas-like to hang in the tree. Attach a ribbon to the stem and hang.
It would be cool to make a bunch of these in natural colors with waterproofing and hang them in a real oak tree. Would giant squirrels come?