How to Paint Acorns

A few weeks ago, I gave my boys Asher and Zephan a mission to find as many perfect acorns with caps intact as they could possibly find. It gave them something to do and it gave me some beautiful natural fall decor to play with! My boys didn’t fail me and brought back a huge bagful of gorgeous acorns. I dumped the bag into my fillable glass table lamp until I was ready to work with them.

acorns in lamp

As I was admiring how they looked through the glass, I noticed a creepy little bug traipsing along up the glass. Eek! I forgot rule #1 of bringing outdoor things like pinecones or acorns indoors—bake or freeze to kill the bugs!

fall acorns

How to Paint Acorns

How to paint acorns

Step 1: Place acorns on foil-lined cookie sheet and bake at 170* for a few hours. I baked mine for about two hours just to be sure everything was good and dead. One acorn cracked and was a bit burnt looking but the rest came out looking good.

bake acorns for crafts

Step 2:Use acrylic craft paints and a paint brush to paint your acorns. Brush strokes will make a difference in the acorns’ appearance so brush with the grain of the nut. I didn’t remove my caps in order to paint them. A few caps had fallen off, and I used hot glue to re-attach them. I found the acorns much easier to paint with caps intact. I have a TON of acrylic paint in my craft room and used different shades of green, blue, orange, and gold on my acorns. I didn’t bother giving any of the acorns two coats of paint but you might want to if you prefer a more opaque look.

paint acorns

Set the acorns aside to dry and don’t worry too much about the wet paint. Most of the acorns will naturally roll back to their caps when you set them down.

how to paint acorns for fall

And that is all there is to it!

acorns painted

I placed my acorns on my table in a decorative leaf holder that I’ve held onto for eons. I love how delicious they look. Maybe it’s because I’m dieting right now, but don’t they look good enough to eat? They remind me of foil-wrapped chocolates. Yes, I think it’s safe to say that it’s the lack of sweets talking here :).

paint fall acorns

I think these would look adorable glued to place cards for Thanksgiving, or you could hot glue small pieces of twine to the caps to make ornaments for a centerpiece of sticks. There are many possibilities of how I might use these this season! For now, I’m just enjoying them on my table. Thanks for stopping by! If you want more quick fall decorating ideas, be sure to check out 10 Easy Fall Crafts.

painted acorns

Share this:


  1. says

    Oh my goodness, Beth, those are the fanciest acorns I have ever seen! Especially the glittery ones! Your bug story reminded me of collecting seashells at the beach. One time, I brought them home and was cleaning them out in the sink one day and found that something had actually been LIVING in one of the shells! I thought I had checked to be sure that all tenants had vacated the premises! It was a bit scary and a bit gross, but all’s well that ends well I suppose!

    • Beth says

      Ha! I’ve had that happen many times as well :). I found a lovely large shell in the Bay at my mom’s house and gave it to my son. A few minutes later he screamed and dropped it because a ginormous hermit crab poked his head out. The only drawback to bringing nature indoors is all of the unexpected tenants!

  2. says

    Beautiful! I will have to give this a try. I have some nuts in a glass jar in my home … my kids found them underneath a tree that had long, skinny leaves. The nuts aren’t acorns — I don’t know what they are, but they are pretty! Now I want to bake them, ASAP, though!

  3. Angie K. says

    They are lovely – great DIY idea! I’ll have to fight my pesky squirrels for some of these, but I am so gonna do this!

  4. Natalie says

    Great idea!! We have some woods in NE Missouri… …full of oak trees. So we have 100’s of 1000’s of acorns right now. This is a pretty, & easy thing to do with them to decorate for Fall. Thanks.

  5. says

    I love these painted acorns! They are just beautiful. I have some wooden ones I am going to paint. The squirrels have kidnapped all of the acorns already around here. Thanks for an inspiring project.


  6. Kathleen says

    Beth: I love how metallic the paints looks. Do you mind sharing which acrylic paints that you used? Beautiful!!

    Thank you.

    • Beth says

      Thanks Kathleen! All of the glittery and gold acorns are Martha Stewart acrylic craft paints which you can find at Michaels and I think Joann’s.

  7. Wendy says

    These are gorgeous Beth ! However, I would love to know if you have any good ideas for all the sweet gum balls we have by the millions every year.Well, maybe hundreds. Perfectly round, spiny and sharp.

    • Beth says

      I think they would make a cute wreath. I would glue a bunch to a foam wreath form and spray paint the entire thing a fun color.

  8. Sandy Diehl says

    What an awesome idea! I painted some to look like Santa one year but I didn’t bake them first. Next time I will!

  9. Tabi says

    this is awesome! How long can you keep the acorns? Will they be forever friends to use year after year, or do you have to dispose of them?

    • Beth says

      Thanks Tabi! Acorns are just like any other nuts, so they will decompose over time. I think you might be able to get two seasons use out of them if you store them in a dry cool place.

  10. Hovawart says

    This is a sweet project, but I’m going to stick up for Mother Nature. I’m thinking that little bug was not at all creepy. I’m also thinking baking them for two hours was [pardon the pun] overkill. It’s unlikely that all, or even most, of the acorns had inhabitants. Even if a few did, it would be unlikely to cause any problems. It probably wouldn’t justify the gas/electricity for all that baking. In my neck of the woods, most acorns are sound.

    • Beth says

      There were bugs crawling out of my acorns. It may have been overkill but to me it was worth the peace of mind. To each her own ;).

  11. Krystal says

    This is so cool! I have a TON left over from my son’s birthday party(Wild Kratts and I did a natural decor for everything). I will for sure be doing this!
    Also, could you tell me if you made the coasters? Are they sealed? I could not find a tut on your site for them. Maybe I just missed it!


    • Beth says

      Thanks Krystal! The coasters are actually a Target Threshold find from last fall. I had wanted to make some but when I found these I figured I’d just snag them and save myself the trouble :).

  12. tracie c. says

    fantastic idea! i love that you used metallic in the mix! i can hardly walk by an oak tree without scanning for these gems which has lead to quite a collection. i will even snag the caps without the acorn just because i love them. thank you for the inspiration!

  13. Susan R. says

    This is such a cute idea. I love the metallic and glittery acorns mixed in with the matte colors. Well done. Now I just need to find acorns. I don’t think I’ve EVER seen an acorn around here. Would it defeat the purpose if I went and bought acorns for this project?

    • Beth says

      I don’t think it defeats the purpose at all. The purpose is to create something beautiful :). If I were to buy acorns though, I might look for faux/wooden ones to purchase because they will last. Regular acorns are like any nut and will decompose with time.


  1. […] Between having a new home to decorate and feeling the need to do something creative with my life, I actually wanted to have at least some autumn decor this year. I bought a wreath for my front door, even though I hoped to make one, but it was 50% off at Hobby Lobby post-Halloween so I gave myself a break. I also bought some pumpkins to put out front to add some color to our brown landscaping, thanks to Snowvember. I have been trying to figure out a centerpiece for our dining table to leave up year-round, so I figured I might as well figure out a Thanksgiving one. My friend told me she came across painted acorns on Pinterest and I loved the idea. Especially since it was hard to walk around our backyard in the fall without fear of getting hit on the head by a falling acorn! I ended up following this simple tutorial. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *