Lucky me to have so much abundance in my life and trust me these acorns that fall from the indigenous scrub oak in the yard are VERY ABUNDANT. I collected a good amount this year with plans to create some interesting or fun things with them. I painted several using a variety of paint, and markers. They can be used in a variety of ways and make lovely pieces for both fall and winter decorations. The #1 rule is anything that comes in from the outside needs to be baked or frozen to kill any little bugs that may reside in the natural materials. I also sorted through hand through out any I found with bore holes or fractures.
Step 1: Rinse and drain the acorns. Place the acorns on a foil covered, flat backing pan (cookie sheet works great) and bake at 350 for 10 minutes, stir and bake another 10 minutes. I've also read you can soak them overnight in some water with dish soap, letting them dry and then putting them in a zip lock bag in the freezer for 24 hours does the same thing, and they don’t split.
Step 2: The nut is smooth and although the paint sticks well I found that paint with transparent properties required more coats. The opaque paint covers best and has a flat appearance. I have a big collection of kraft and fine art acrylic paint and used what I had on hand. The kraft paint work as well as the more expensive Liquitex acrylic paint so don't bother buying expensive paints. Brush strokes will show so follow the grain of the nut. I placed the painted nut on a sheet of wax paper to dry but the nut rolls so I ended up painting one side at a time. I used inexpensive brushes to paint the nut and a fine liner brush to create the circles. After the first coat of paint dried, I applied a second coat of paint and let it dry completely. I used the opposite end of the brush to make dots. I took them outside and laid them on newspaper to give them a final scary of polyurethane clear coat (hardware store). You could also give the nut a coat of modpodge. Once they were dry they were ready to display!
For the jack-o-lantern pumpkins I painted the caps with black paint and while wet sprinkled black glitter onto the wet paint. Using a black Pitt pen I drew the face - this was difficult as the nut is so small.