Pinecone Leprechauns

We have had an amazing winter this year. The snow has been at a minimum, there have been very few days of freezing temperatures, and there have been days of unseasonably warm weather. In fact, we had one day of 70 degree weather in February! In Indiana! That’s just unheard of. Typically we Hoosiers are bracing ourselves for the most grey, cold, ugly month of the year. But nope, not this year! And even better, this warm day came on a Saturday! There was only one thing to do. I packed up the girls, broke out my picnic backpack, and headed to a local state park where we spent the whole day outside running, skipping rocks, and exploring the woods for dogs (this was the girls’ idea; there were a lot of dogs on walks that day).

We also broke out an old Easter pail that I had in the back of my car (aren’t I glad I never clean that thing out!) and gathered a rather impressive collection of pinecones. Over the picnic lunch, we discussed what we were going to do with them. Riley’s creative juices were really flowing this day, and she got very excited about the idea of painting each pinecone a different color to make a rainbow. I suspect that they may have had a couple of discussions about rainbows at daycare recently because this has been a reoccurring theme. As excited about the endeavor as she was, she was insistent that Maddie and I not make the same thing that she was making. Oh, firstborns. So she assigned Maddie to the task of making hers into monsters. I, also excited, decided that we should make leprechauns out of them for St. Patrick’s Day. Thus, my assignment became leprechauns.

With the unseasonably high temperatures this winter has brought, it also brought with it a whole collection of germs. The week after our great adventure to the state park, poor Riley came down with a terrible virus and was home from school for a couple of days. Riley has just as much trouble being sick as I do. While feverish and coughing up a lung, she pleaded to take the dog on a walk, which we did quite a few times. We also found this to be a great opportunity to do our pinecone project. So she and I painted our pinecones. Riley made a really cool rainbow pinecone and then helped me assemble our pinecone leprechaun family. They are now proudly displayed on our mantel and are our first St. Patrick’s Day decorations.

Pinecone leprechaunsWhat You’ll Need

Green Paint
Black paint
Construction paper (yellow)
Toilet paper roll
Paint brush
Googly eyes

  1. Paint the pinecones green. Allow them to dry completely.
  2. Paint the toilet paper roll black. Allow this to dry completely. When it is dry, cut the roll into the appropriate-sized “hat” of the leprechaun. Cut the roll slightly bigger than you want the hat to be. Cut two slits a little less than an inch apart to create the top part of the hat. Cut from one slit to the other to create the top hat.
  3. Cut a square out of yellow construction paper. Cut out a square in the middle to create the buckle for the top hat. Glue this to the center of the hat.
  4. Glue the hat to the top of the pinecone.
  5. Attach two googly eyes to the top hat.Create fun #leprechauns with pinecones! #kidscraft #stpatricksday Click To Tweet

Your leprechaun is done! We tried cutting out an orange beard for the leprechauns, but it ended up very odd looking. We’d love to see any creative additions you make to this craft!

Nurture the Experience

In this experience, I learned that Riley did not have a great idea of what a leprechaun was, which was odd because last year we made some pretty elaborate traps for them on St. Patrick’s Day. On the other hand, we do only talk about them approximately one week out of the year, so it also made sense. I used this opportunity to teach her a little bit about leprechauns.

I needed to brush up on my facts, though, so through a little bit of research, I learned that leprechauns are actually fairies. However, this Irish fairy is much different than the Disney fairies that we are used to. By trade, they are shoemakers. While employed in this humble profession, they also have a pot of gold that they have hidden. According to legend, if you catch a leprechaun, he will grant you three wishes. However, they are quick-witted and tricksters by nature. Even if you catch one, he may still outsmart you and leave you without wishes OR the pot of gold.

You can learn more about leprechauns here and here.

Recommended Reading

 This book is near and dear to my heart. This tale of two elves who help a struggling shoemaker was one of my mother and her sisters’ favorites as a child. Now, my mom has this version that she shares with my girls at her house. It’s a wonderful story about a poor shoemaker who receives help from two naked (my daughters’ favorite aspect of the story) elves and finds himself rich. He remains humble and wants to thank the two elves so his wife makes them clothes. Having done their duty, the elves move on and the shoemarker and his wife continue to run a successful business.


 Leprechaun Luck is a collection of Irish stories and poems perfect for engaging children in the folklore of St. Patrick’s day. If your children are anything like mine, they will enjoy this wee book because, after all, it does rhyme with one of their favorite “potty” words and preschool girls are just like twelve-year-old boys.



Leprechauns are busy folk and when they notice a storm brewing, they know they need to get down to business. That means no time for pranks. But, how can you tell that to a leprechaun? It’s in their blood! Of course, much mischief is caused along the way, which is very fun for kids. Might this book cause a rash of mischief in your own house? It’s possible, but it’s all in good fun.