A walk on the beach can inspire in numerous ways and one is to collect beautiful, fragrant pine cones and pine needles and use them to wrap a gift.
Gift: A book
Wrapping supplies: Pine cones, pine needles and raffia.
While I think it’s clever to add to a gift “mystique” by wrapping it in paper, sometimes there are other attributes that have added value too, like a personal touch and originality, so you can forgo the paper. A book, being of a simple geometric shape, with an intrinsic magic of its own, can be particularly grateful in that regard. If you like eco-friendly and simple solutions like I do, you will recognize that less is even better.
- For the first design, assemble four similar-size bundles of pine needles.
- Bind each bundle with raffia (1).
- Form two pairs of needles by joining the two bundles, slightly overlapping them at lower side, using raffia to tie them together. You will now have a bundle that points in opposite directions with its spikes. Do the same thing with the second pair (2).
- Tie together the two pairs so they form a cross. Spread the needles (with the help of raffia), so they resemble a star-like shape. If needed, add more needles until you’re happy with your star (3).
- Wrap raffia around the pine cone (4) and tie securely, leaving enough length to be able to wrap it around the book. Repeat with another string of approximately same length.
- Place the star on the book and secure it by pulling raffia through its center and then wrapping it around the shorter side of the book (width). Place the cone on top of the star and wrap raffia around the longer side of the book (length). Use another string of raffia to wrap around the shorter side. Tie ends securely, cutting off any loose ends.
- Find three pine cones of similar size and assemble four similar bundles of loose pine needles (pulled from the stalk).
- Measure the longer side of the book and calculate the length that can “accommodate” three cones and two pine bundles arranged at identical distances. Tightly wrap raffia around the first cone, then around the first group of needles, second pine cone, second group of needles and end it with the third pine cone.
- Wrap this whole arrangement around the longer side of the book and tie securely at the back side.
- Then, by using a new raffia string, bind tight the third group of needles (1) to the first group of needles (2), forming an “X” shape. Tie securely and trim off any tails. Repeat with the second and the fourth pine bundle.
- For the shorter side, take another piece of raffia, wrap it around the cone, and the book, tie in the back.
- Don’t forget to trim raffia tails on the other side too, so it looks neat.
- For the third design, start by finding two small bundles of pine needles with stems that are similar in size. Measure the width of the book and bind each bundle tight with raffia (1) taking care that the distance between the left and the right bundle is 1/2 of the book width. Center the bundles with respect to the width of the book (so much easier to do than to write this).
- Use this string to wrap around the shorter side of the book. Wrap another string of raffia around the pine cone and then the longer side of the book.
- Tie securely on the back side. Trim any loose ends.
- To make sure that pine needle bundles (which may be quite loose) lay flat and don’t move, secure each with another string of raffia (2) that will be pulled under the existing string and wrapped around the book as shown.
- Trim all extra ends of raffia in the back or make a nice bow tie if you wish.
That’s it! I had fun and only a few, tiny blunders: scales from one pine cone fell off (and I needed to replace it), I discovered (and awoke) a sleepy bug hidden in the cone, and, yes, raffia broke more than once. But I was in high spirits even during the cleaning-up process.
If you decide to challenge your creative side with pine cones or other beach finds, and you come up with a creation of your own, please share!