Bleaching Secrets | How to Dye Pine Cones and Prepare It for Crafts?
The possibilities for crafting with pine cones are endless. Bleached pinecones have the ability to add a touch of woodland whimsy to any room in your home. They come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from almost-round stubbies to massive oblong cones.
Begin with pinecones that are in good shape, brown instead of green, and have so far started to open when dry out. A completely dry pine cone will take bleach better than one that has a lot of moisture in it.
Many tutorials show the use of a bag of purchased craft pinecones. Those pinecones in the package have been baked and are extremely dry. They are an excellent alternative if you do not have access to natural pinecones in your area.
A pine cone is a pine tree organ that contains reproductive structures. Like other conifer reproductive organs, Pine cones come in male and female types. Male and female cones develop on the same tree in most pine species. Some tree species have cones predominantly of one sex, with a few of the opposite sex.
Female pine cones protect their seeds with their woody structure. They defend their seeds so that they can be pollinated and grow. Each female pine cone has countless spirally arranged scales with two seeds.
Male pine cones yield pollen, which is a powdery substance. The pollen from the male cones is carried around the air by the wind and, hopefully, to another female pine cone on various pine trees. Pollination occurs when pollen from a male pine cone reaches a female pine cone.
Bleaching pine cones
For a simple, pretty way to dress up your home for the season, gather some pinecones and give them this easy transformation. Bleached pinecones can add a touch of woodland whimsy to any room in your home. They come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from almost-round stubbies to massive oblong cones.
Pinecones are iconic natural items for seasonal decor, whether you adorn a wreath with them or display your collection in a pretty basket. Instead of painting or decorating them with glitter this year, try bleaching your pinecones to give them a softer, weathered appearance.
Cleaning and bleaching pine cones
1. Use a small brush to remove visible dirt, dust, and debris.
2. Soak for 30 minutes in a large bucket or sink filled with warm water and about a cup of white vinegar.
3. Remove from water and air dry for 1-3 hours in a filter or paper towel.
4. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake at 250-275 degrees for 1-2 hours, turning halfway through.
5. Remove from the oven and set aside for at least 30 minutes to cool.
How to bleach pine cones
Bleaching pinecones is a simple project that requires few supplies. Nonetheless, it takes time.
Type and materials needed to bleach the pine cones
Pinecones (various shapes and sizes)
- Bricks or large rocks
- Large bucket
- Rubber Gloves
The results of this project will vary depending on the pinecones used, and I recommend trying a variety of them until you find one that you like. Fresh pine cones, in my experience, do not bleach well, and it is better to use those that are older, dry, and completely open.
It makes no difference what kind of pinecones you use. Each pine cone species bleaches differently. Also, bleaching will not wholly whiten them. They will lighten but not completely white. It has a more patinated or weathered appearance (kind of like driftwood).
Combine two parts of water and one part of bleach. Because of the fumes, doing this part outdoors or in a well-ventilated area is best. Wear clothes you don’t mind ruining in case you get splashed with bleach water, and wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.
Fill a large bucket halfway with pinecones.
Fill the bucket halfway with water, then halfway with bleach. The cones are going to float. Return them to the bleach water and place the bricks or stones on top. You may need to add another rock or two; any floaters should be tucked back under the rocks. Allow the pinecones to soak in the bleach solution for 24 hours.
Pine Cones close when wet, so just because you can’t see any difference because they’re closed doesn’t mean it’s not working. Allow them to soak in the bleach water for 24 hours to get the full effect. Any longer, the pinecones will begin to deteriorate in some areas.
Put on your gloves and work/craft attire after 24 hours, and start by removing the bleached pinecones. I spread them out on a large piece of paper outside to let the fumes dissipate. I poured my bleach water slowly into a bathtub, watchful not to let any twigs or mud go down the drain.
Drying pine cones
The bleached pinecones will begin to open up after they become dry. Perfect if it’s a sunny day! Allow them to dry entirely outside. They may take several days to open fully. If you’re in a bit of a rush or have a period of rain, you can dry them in the oven. Set lowest temperature (usually 170-200 F) and leave the pinecones to dry for a few hours. Remove them when they are open.
You’ll be amazed at the difference as the pine cones dry! Bleached pinecones dry with a silvery sheen, making them great for any holiday crafting. Pine cones also look lovely on their own in a tall vase or bowl. Making bleached pinecones is a very simple and fun project that produces beautiful results, no matter how you use them.
Are my pine cones going to smell like bleach?
They do not smell after they get dried. Because bleach dissipates quickly in the air, even though making pinecones is a funky activity that should be done outside or with good ventilation, the bleach smell will be gone once they are dry.
Is bleaching pine cones safe?
End product is very okay, but just like as other bleach projects, take necessary safety precautions. Work in a good aerated area, and store the pinecones in a location that is not easily available to children or animals.