DIY Wishing Tree: create magic with this Yule craft

I’m beyond excited to share this post with you today because we’re making a DIY wishing tree. 

I saw them on Pinterest along with pinecone fire starters so I thought integrating the two crafts into one would make for a better wishing tree. Not that any of those crafts sucked, but because if the wishing tree acts as a firestarter, then it’ll burn better when the time comes.  

These wishing trees are absolutely adorable, use only a few ingredients, and it’ll help you with your Yule ritual. You can read more about Yule HERE along with the symbolisms and rituals that coincide with it. 

And the best thing? It’s FREE to make. Yup, you read that right. Because the pinecone can be taken from anywhere outside or if you have extra ones laying around from previous holidays. 

The melted wax is from a candle. If you have a few laying around that are almost burned down, they would be perfect as scrap for this project. 

And the bottom of my tree was from a wine cork. I’m still sober so it wasn’t from me. I was at my mom’s house one night when she was drinking wine and I asked if I could take the cork for a project. I wasn’t sure then what it would be good for but I was following my intuition and it worked out great. 

If you don’t have a cork, you can use something else that’s small and flammable for the base of the tree. A wood disc would work great. You know the ones you can use to paint your own ornaments? They would make a great base. 

Again, get inventive so you don’t have to purchase anything for this. Yule has many meanings but one of them is making do with what you have. So you might as well get a head start now. 


You want to clean the pinecones and debug them. There are some posts on the internet that tell you to not bother rinsing them and just placing them in the oven to clean them out. 

But I found the pinecones were so much cleaner when I soaked them in a bucket of water with some dish soap for about an hour and then placed them in the oven. 

I tried both methods- straight into the oven and rinsing them and then putting them in the oven. 

Trust me, I know the hour seems like a long time to take just to clean something you’re going to burn but I’m so much happier with the pinecones I rinsed before putting them in the oven. Besides, pretty crafts make us feel better. 

Now that’s out of the way, let’s get into the method of cleaning them. 


Take the pinecones and soak them in a pot or bucket of water with a tiny bit of dish soap. 

Let it sit in the water for about an hour. 

They will close up but they reopen once they’ve been in the oven so you don’t have to worry about them being closed. 

When the hour is up, line the pinecones on a baking sheet, preferably with two sheets of foil. You definitely want to line the baking sheet because the sap really oozes out of them. 

Bake them at 250° for about 30 minutes to an hour and a half. 

Do NOT bake them at a higher temperature because wood burns at 300°.

The reason the drying time fluctuates so much is because depending on how wet your pinecones are, the shorter or longer it’ll take in the oven. For reference, mine took about an hour.

You can tell when your pinecones are dry by how much they’ve opened up in the oven. If you’re not sure, please be careful doing this- take the tray out of the oven and wait a few minutes before touching the pinecone. If it’s dry to the touch, then it’s ready. 

Now, we get onto the fun part of this! 

DIY Wishing Tree

What you’ll need:

  • Clean AND open pinecones (they need to be open because we’re going to be placing our wishes in between the “branches”)
  • Candle wax
  • Heatproof bowl for the wax
  • A pot with about an inch and a half of water 
  • Wax paper (this works like a charm) 
  • Base for the pinecone (I used a wine cork cut horizontally into a quarter of the original size) 
  • Knife to cut the cork
  • Glue gun
  • 12 Bay leaves or small scraps of paper
  • Glitter (optional) 
  • Paper plate (optional)
  • Mod podge (optional)
  • Small foam brush (optional) 

How to make the base: 

  • This part is completely optional so if you don’t want a glitter base, then skip down to “how to make the waxed pinecone.” 
  • Put some glitter onto a paper plate and set aside. 
  • Cut the wine cork down horizontally to a quarter of the original size. This is going to act as your base. Make sure you cut as straight of a line as possible. 
  • Then take the foam brush and dip it lightly into the mod podge. You don’t want a ton of it. Only a light coat for the base of the pinecone. 
  • Gently brush the mod podge onto the wine cork. 
  • Once you’ve got the mode podge on the cork, roll it onto the plate with the glitter, making sure you cover all the parts you want. I left off the bottom because no one’s going to see it.
  • When the base is covered with glitter, set it aside to let it dry. 

I’m really not good about taking pics or videos of the process so if you need some visuals, HERE is the link. For reference, I used fine glitter and mod podge. This post used chunky glitter and a different type of glue but the process is the same and gives you the pics.

Let’s move onto the next step. 

How to make the waxed pinecone:

  • You’re going to melt down the candle wax in a heatproof bowl that’s been placed in a pot of water with about an inch and a half of water in the pot on the stove at medium heat. 
  • When the wax is melted, dip the pinecone in the wax, turning it around so the wax covers the pinecone. You may have to dip them a few times into the wax so you can cover the entire pinecone. 
  • Once the wax is on the pinecones, place them on wax paper to dry. Set aside. 
  • If you’re inclined, you can scatter some glitter onto your pinecone. I left mine as is because I loved the rustic winter look of it. 

There was no way I could have taken a pic or video of this process because both my hands were occupied. So HERE is a link if you need a visual. Fast forward to 1:48 to see how. 

Attaching the wishing tree to the base:

  • Once both the pinecone and base have been dried, you can attach them.  
  • Before you do that, if your pinecone has a tail, snip it off with a pair of sturdy scissors. 
  • Then all you gotta do is take your hot glue gun and place a small dab of glue onto the bottom of the pinecone. It’s easier to put it onto the pinecone rather than the base because you’ll get a better idea of the surface area that needs to be covered. 
  • Attach the pinecone onto the base and gently push the pinecone down onto it so that it secures in place. 

Viola! You’re very own wishing tree. 

Let’s move onto when and how to use the wishing tree. 

When to use the wishing tree:

Starting on Yule/Winter Solstice for twelve nights.

How to use the wishing tree: 

For twelve nights starting on the Winter Solstice/Yule, you’re going to write one wish on a bay leaf or scrap piece of paper per day. 

THESE are the bay leaves I used for this project. I do NOT get commission from you clicking on the link. These bay leaves are pretty big- nearly 4 inches AND they don’t crumble in a bunch of pieces when you’re rolling them up. Hence why I’m recommending them. 

Once the wish has been written, carefully scroll up the bay leaf or paper and place it in between the “branches.” If you’re using bay leaves, it’s ok if they flatten out. Some of mine did. Some didn’t. The important thing is that they didn’t crumble in a bunch of pieces. 

When the twelve nights are over and all your wishes have been written down, it’s time to burn the wishing tree. 

Take the wishing tree outside and light up the bad boy or place it in your fireplace. 

I used bay leaves because they represent purification, strength, divination, prosperity, enhance psychic abilities, and are amazing for wish magic. Plus, it’s more witchy to use an herb than a piece of paper, don’t ya think? 

Ok…so that sums up this post on your very own DIY wishing tree. 

Let me know your thoughts about this and how you plan to celebrate Yule/Winter Solstice in the comments below. 

Please be sure to share this with anyone that may benefit from it. 

I’ll see ya soon…in the meantime, stay zenspired!

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