How to Bleach Pine Cones ~ Shabby Decorating

Always a winter classic in decorating your home for the winter, I am seeing the humble pine cone all over in the home decor catalogs for the holidays. A very simple, beautiful and natural way to add the outside to the interior.  But let's kick it up a notch, and lighten up the color of these beautiful gifts from nature, adding a pretty touch to the  modern, shabby, farmhouse and cottage style of adornment.  These would be so pretty piled in a mercury glass bowl,  tied with ribbon and hang on the tree, or use a single one as a place card at the holiday table.  You will love these.

It's a simple process but time consuming,  so start now for the your seasonal decorating.  If you are lucky, like me, you may have  cones lying around in your yard. If not, they can be purchased at the hobby stores.  The only other item you need is bleach. I used half water, half bleach  for my process. 

 Definitely work outside for this crafty job as it's messy and wear your rubber gloves.  I used the scented bleach  purchased at the $ store.  Fill your bucket with the water/bleach solution slowly so as not to splash and add pine cones.  You don't want white dots on your nice black blouse. :)  Make sure the cones are totally covered.  I placed a plate over top of mine to keep them submerged.  I did this in the late afternoon and kept them in the water over night.  In this photo, you can see they have almost turned completely white and the scales have closed up.  This process also cleans them and gets rid of any critters that may be hidden. :)

The next morning, I removed the cones, using a strainer and laid them on foil to dry a bit.  At this point you can leave them outside to completely dry in the sun, but I found the process took more days than I was willing to wait, so in the oven they went.  Line your baking pan with foil and lay the cones on it.  Bake @ 250 degrees for 4 to 5 hours or until the scales have totally opened up.  Also, I could detect no noticeable bleach smell at all in the kitchen during this process.

No longer white, they have turned a beautiful cafe-au-lait hue and are ready to decorate with.  You can sprinkle a bit of glitter on them if you like, but I like the totally natural look.  Not into messing with this whole process, I will have a few bags of these for sale at 

elements needed for this project
rubber gloves
spoon for stirring
cookie sheet
Pine cones
have fun
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Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Fabulous tutorial. I need to do this. Thanks. Hugs, Marty

Junkchiccottage said...

This is great. I love this idea. I am going to try it. Do you think you could put a scented oil on these after they are dry? I love when pinecones have that nice cinnamon scent. Great Idea.

Unknown said...

I just finished bleaching some bottle brush trees so I'm in the mood to try the pine corns. I only have the tiny ones in my yard so I'm going to try those. Your cones came out very sweet.

Anne said...

What a cool technique Lynn! Love your pretty pine cones.Hey did you think of a name yet?

Anonymous said...

Lynn, what a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Lynn, Now I need to find pine cones! I love this idea and especially if it gets rid of the critters that live inside them.
Thanks for sharing this at the Open House party.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME!!! I love them and I love you for sharing the process with us!!!

L, Dana

Michele said...

Thanks, Lynn!!!!

SImple and Serene Living said...

Love this idea, Lynn. Thanks so much for the tutorial. Pinning. xo Laura

All About Vignettes said...

Oh Lynn I love this. Thanks for the inspiration. I'm doing this.

Anonymous said...

Nice idea. Even I could manage this, although I would probably get the white spots on the blouse!

poppilinnstudios said...

Hi Lynn, I love decorating with pine cones for the holidays. I'll have to try your idea this year. Thanks for sharing!

Susie Q said...

What a wonderful tutorial Lynn! Thank you!

Christine @ Rustic-Refined said...

Such a great idea! I am going to try this....thanks for sharing it :-)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Lynn, those are really cool! Great idea!



The Polka Dot Closet said...

Oh Lynn, I wish I had them laying around in my yard! When I lived in Minnesota they were everywhere, not so much here in Florida. I love how you bagged them. So glad you will be under cover for your show. I will think twice about doing an outside show again! I finally met Sherry! It was so good to meet her, we are going through the same thing with our aging parents and had a lot to talk about!


Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

What a great tutorial!

So glad that I stopped in to thank you for your visit!!


Nicole said...


I found your lovely blog a few days ago, during one of my lonely evenings in a tiny village in the southwest of France (the magic of internet...).
Of course, I love everything you made, and especially the "homespun ribbons", and the way you presented them an clothespins.... And then, I saw the tiny safety pins, with a rounded bottom you used to secure the ribbons.... I have been looking for that sort of pin for ages, in France..., and again since I saw them on your blog, but I couldn't find any.
So, may I ask you where you found them, is there an american website where I could buy them ?
I'm sorry to annoy you with that... I sew a lot, anything, from bags to babies clothes, I make my own labels, and I always wanted that sort of pin to attach the labels...
I'm looking forward to your answer
Amicalement from France
Nicole Schmitt

Lynn @The Vintage Nest said...

Hi Nicole, you have your settings on "no reply" and you didn't leave me an email so I have no way to answer your question. I truly hope you return here and read this answer. :) You can find these types of pins on ebay or etsy.com.
They are called pear shaped pins and here is a link to the page. https://www.etsy.com/shop/waytobead/search?search_query=pear+shaped+pins&order=date_desc&view_type=gallery&ref=shop_search

Hope this helps and please visit my blog anytime. Love to have you. ~ Lynn

Nicole said...

Thank you very much, Lynn, for your answer!and for the link.
I have ordered the "pear shaped pins" (what a funny name...).
I've tried to write to you through the mail address in your "blogger profile", but it doesn't seem to work! As for me,I have checked the box with my email,will that be enough?
Thank you again
Nicole schmitt

Lynn @The Vintage Nest said...

Nicole, no that doesn't work. You can find my email on my blog under the blog banner on the tab "contact". If you email me that way I will then have your email. I have the @ sign written out as "at" so spammers can't use it. :)

Audrey said...

Love your bleached pine cones. I tried to bleach some but was not very successful. Will try again and use a stronger solution. I bleached some leaves and just love them.
Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

Unknown said...

I was already planning on using pine cones for decorations for my Christmas wedding and now I have a beautiful and different way to display them. We see getting a snow storm tonight so I am going to collect them today so we will have a project when snowed in. Think you do much for the instructions!

Unknown said...

I was already planning to use glitter covered pine cones for decorations for my Christmas wedding. Now I have another way to use them and add interest. Thank you for the instructions and suggestions!

Unknown said...

I recently tried this and it did not work at all. I used pinecones that I found in my yard along with an equal ratio of bleach to water. Any suggestions or recommendations? I really want to try this again.

Thank you!

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