Fresh pine cones are a beautiful, natural addition to your home decor. They are available for free in the great outdoors and are eco-friendly.
Many craft sites suggest the use of chlorine bleach on pine cones. Pine cones are porous and will absorb the bleach. They will continuously release these noxious fumes in your home.
Pine cones are available at many craft stores, but commercially purchased pine cones have often been treated with artificial scents that also contain noxious fumes that will be released into your home.
How to Prepare Pine Cones
- Collect pine cones. The pine cones pictured are Eastern White Pine (Pinus Stobus) from my yard. The white appearance is from the dried sap on the outside of the pine cones.
- Remove any debris or pine needles stuck on the pine cones.
- Soak the pine cones for 10-20 minutes in a bucket of water with ½ cup of white vinegar. This helps to kill any bugs or mildew and remove settled in debris. The pine cones will close up more tightly when they get wet.
- Place the pine cones on old newspapers to dry overnight.
- Line baking sheets with parchment or foil. Place pine cones on baking sheets and bake for several hours at 200-250 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the pine cones frequently while baking so they do not catch on fire.
- The pine cones will be fully open, dry and shiny when finished baking. The shiny finish is due to the sap melting into the pine cones. This acts as a natural finish and preservation agent.
- Cool the pine cones completely and use in your favorite crafts.