I can never get over how lovely conkers are. The sudden appearance of these smooth, almost warm, incredibly tactile little delights all over the ground – free to pick up and to keep – amazes me somehow every year! I love their rich brown colour, the swirly patterns on some, the mix of satisfyingly round and completely flat surfaces… I could go on!
As you may have guessed, I love to collect conkers, it almost feels wasteful to just leave them lying there. However then comes the challenge of what to do with all my treasures. Firstly it’s a good idea to use a preserving method to harden them and make them last longer. Then one of the simplest ideas is to pop your conkers into a bowl or vase and enjoy them as they are, maybe even with some of the spikey pods to give some contrast, or a candle in the middle.
Wreaths are a popular way to decorate with conkers – carefully making a hole in them with a drill, nail or small screwdriver (you will want to do this before preserving them), then threading onto some wire strong enough to hold them but thin enough to bend into a circle, heart or whatever shape you’d like… old wire coat hangers work well. Or you can make a shape from card or polystyrene and glue the conkers on. Of course you can add in other natural bits – leaves, twigs, other seed and nuts – go for a wander and see what you find!
You can also decorate the actual conkers themselves, making patterns and designs with permanent markers, paints or paint pens (I used Posca) before you display them. Or have fun making cute little characters like these hedgehogs!