As we move into the holiday season, one of the most frugal and easiest ways to decorate is to decorate with pinecones. I’m lucky enough to live in Colorado, where there are more pinecones and acorns than I have ideas for, and I’m constantly trying to make up ways to use them. One unique and beautiful way to use pinecones is to bleach them. Bleaching pinecones for decoration is fairly easy, although it takes a bit more time than I had originally anticipated.
Step 1: First Remove Debris
Pinecones are usually covered in pine needles, leaves and other sorts of debris. Make sure to remove all pieces of debris before starting. Be careful, pinecones can be sharp, and it’s no fun to be poked by them!
Optional: You Can Bake Them!
This may or may not be common knowledge, but tons of bugs make their homes in pinecones. The best way to get rid of bugs, sap, mold or mildew, is to bake your pinecones before starting. Head on over to Victoria at A Modern Homestead and read up on how to bake pinecones.
For bleaching pinecones, however, you don’t need to bake them, as bleaching will take care of all the issues above. However, if you’re painting them, using them as a wreath or garland, or just piling them into a vase for a centerpiece, baking the pinecones will be your best bet!
Pinecones can also be purchase pre-baked at stores or online. They aren’t too expensive, so if this step is too much for you, or just don’t have the time (or maybe the access to pinecones), feel free to purchase them!
Step 2: Submerge in Hot Water and Bleach
Take however many pinecones you collected, either baked or unbaked and place them into a large bowl. Submerge them in hot water and bleach (2/3 hot water, 1/3 bleach). I then place a plate over the top of the bowl to help submerge the pinecones.
Just a Note: If you did not bake the pinecones, bugs will start storming out of the pinecones and into the hot water. Don’t be alarmed, the bleach will kill them. Bleach will also kill off any mold or mildew.
Step 3: Soak the Pinecones
Bleaching the pinecones may take up to 24 to 36 hours to get the desired colors. Pinecones close when wet, so don’t be alarmed when the pinecones are much smaller and completely closed off.
Also, the pinecones will not appear bleached until after they have dried, they will maintain a darker brown while wet.
Step 4: Drain the Water and Allow the Pinecones to Dry
Drain all the water into the sink, then rinse off pinecones will cold water and lay on a flat towel to dry. I like to put the pinecones outside in the sun in order to help with the bleaching process. It’s not a necessary step, but it definelty speeds things along.
This part of the process will take another 24 to 36 hours. As the pinecones dry, they will become much lighter in color, and they will begin to open up.
Once completely dried, decorate with these beautiful bleached pinecones. Use them in a centerpiece, glue them to a holiday wreath, add them to garland. There are many ways to decorate with pinecones, bleaching pinecones for decoration is a cheap and easy way to do it!