Acorn Cap Jewels

Guest post from Jen at Paint Cut Paste

I love the natural art materials the earth provides this time of year! My 4 year old daughter and I have been having a great time making all sorts of things with acorn caps – such as tiny acorn cap candles, felted wool balls with acorn caps on them, and little fairies acorn caps for hats. This time we created acorn cap “jewels.”

I have seen this idea around the web lately, so I thought we’d give it a try at home. We had all of the materials on hand, and I’ll bet you do, too. You’ll need:

  • Acorn caps
  • Elmer’s school glue (or any school glue brand that dries clear.)
  • Markers (we used Mr. Sketch markers because we love the scents!)
  • Rice, beans, or play dough to hold your caps in place while they dry (We used some old play dough.)

First, my daughter had a great time coloring the insides of the acorn caps with each color marker, and placing them securely in the play dough.

Then she filled each acorn cap up with the school glue.

There were lots of “ooooohs” and “aaaaahs” right away, as the colors started to seep into the glue.

We set our acorn caps aside to dry for 48 hours. My daughter was very excited to check on them periodically over these days and watch the colors begin to show through the drying glue. Once they were all dry, they looked like vibrant, shining jewels! We’ve had lots of fun playing with them since they were made. They’ve become jewels for indoor and outdoor treasure hunts, “money” in my daughter’s store-related play, and tokens used in our own game of memory (flip them upside down and try to match the colors and remember where they were – if you want to play this, be sure to make two of each color.) The uses are as endless as your child’s imagination… and when you’re finished playing with these little gems, they bring such a autumnal decorative touch sitting out in a bowl in your home.


26 Replies to “Acorn Cap Jewels”

  1. Yours are so vibrant! We tried this too, and another fun game is memory matching. You select two caps of each color. Then, you flip over two caps at a time – trying to make matches.

  2. Pingback: Acorn Jewels!
  3. Jen, I love these! Do they have to be non-permanent markers for it to work? So funny, last year we had a bumper crop of acorns, so many that I was sweeping them off the driveway every morning. Not so many this year–I’m going to go hunting for them though!

    1. good question, amy. i imagine they’d have to be non-permanent, but i haven’t tried with any other permanent type of market (like a sharpie.) i know mr. sketch works and i imagine crayola and others would, too. happy acorn hunting!!!

  4. I want acorns!! Amy, we had the same thing last year, and now where are they?? Maybe it’s too early yet? In any case, I’m pinning this for future reference. Lovely idea, Jen.

    1. thanks, rachelle! i totally can’t take full credit — i saw the idea online (pinterest??) before trying it out. we are still working off of old acorns over here, too. we have a bunch of tiny new ones from this year, but they’re oh so small.

    2. I’m not trying to “plug” any vendor but here is where I found acorn caps to use (we had been sick for three weeks and there was no way I was going to get ones collected on my own from outside):

      I think my order was for about 200 hundred of them for around $8 plus shipping (which I think was about $6). Totally worth getting them and avoiding the hassle of collecting them myself in the snow no feeling well.

  5. These are just gorgeous. The finish picture looks like the caps are empty and just have a lining of color. Do you pour the excess glue out at any time? I was wondering with the look of not being full of transparent glue.

    1. hi peggy – thanks! when the elmer’s school glue dries, it turns clear and shrinks down so the caps look empty. we didn’t have to dump any glue out at all. try it out and let me know how it goes – enjoy!

    1. simple mama! yes – the photo of your acorn caps must have been one of the ones i saw floating around the web this season (pinterest, i believe) because they look familiar! thank you for the inspiration!
      and i agree about the poor squirrels this year – we’re working off of acorns from last year.

  6. My three year old little guy and I tried this one rainy afternoon and what fun! I wasn’t able to get out to harvest the acorns so I ordered some off of Etsy- very inexpensive and tons of them! We even used some of the little guy’s Crayola glitter glue pens and put that in the caps- gave a really nice sparkle to the caps. To allow them to dry upright, I put rice in an old egg carton we had and used that to set the caps in to dry. He loved playing in the rice as well (yes, with his trucks, too!) – and you can even let the scattered rice that landed in the glue filled caps dry that way for added interest.

    As a note to one of the above posts, the markers do not have to be washable/non-permanent. I tried a few out before I turned the little guy loose to see how things worked. I tried highlighters, permanent and non-permanent markers and they all turned out really great. Made kind of a cool little side experiment :o).

    Thanks for sharing this great idea!!!

  7. Do you think you could place rice (as a holder) in a shallow pan and allow the acorns to dry in an oven on a very low temp to speed the drying time up a little. My almost 7 year old can wait. My feisty 2 year old…not really 🙂

    1. yes, you can definitely place rice as a holder (works better than play-doh actually, but we were outta rice when i did this last year.) not sure about the oven part, but i don’t see why it wouldn’t work at a very low temp. if you do it, report back and let me know how it went! it was hard to wait for these last year, and i’m sure my daughter would love to make more again this fall!

  8. We loved this so much, my daughter asked to do it again. Half the fun was looking for the acorns! Once our second batch is all dry we plan on using them to make some kind of fall wreath. Not sure if we’ll combine fall leaves, real or fake, with them.

  9. Awww, ours KINDA worked, but maybe our acorns tops were too big? the glue didn’t quite sink down all the way, and there were bubble holes in them… 🙁 ideas for next time?

    1. aw kristin… not sure what happened. maybe it was a different kind of glue? different climate yielding different drying time? (ours took several days) hmm… maybe try again with less glue in the caps and see what turns up… let us know!

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