There are a lot of pine trees in the common areas of our community, and with that comes pine cones! While I had been thinking about what types of materials I needed for some Christmas projects, I thought these would be perfect. After asking the people in charge of our community if I could use them, I got an emphatic, “YES, please you use them!” Awesome! So one morning while I was taking my walk, I brought a bag and filled it up. What picky little things they were. I took them home and read up on what to do to get the bugs out and dry them. I definitely don’t need any unwanted, pesty critters in my home! 🙂
During my research, I found that they needed to be placed into a water and vinegar solution first. I grabbed a pail and went outside to work on it. The ratio I used was a cup of vinegar in a bucket of warm water. To keep the pine cones submerged, I put a heavy pan on top of them. Bugs scurried everywhere…that meant the process was working. And, I left them in the water for about 30 minutes.
After that, they needed to be dried out. I pulled them out of the pail and strained the excess water out. I grabbed a couple of cookie sheets, placed aluminum foil on them and set the oven to 300 degrees F. After the oven was heated, I placed the pine cones on the trays and put them in the oven. The whole house smelled like pine scent! I was a little afraid that my oven would contain that scent, but later realized that it was fine! The sap, dirt and any remaining bugs needed to be burned off. This process was a bit of trial and error. I ended up leaving them in the oven for about an hour and a half. It really depends on the type of pine cones you may have and your oven. I checked on mine about every 15 minutes after about the first 45 minutes to be sure that they were not getting burned. I reminded myself to have patience. It seemed like every time I peeked at them, they looked the same. After the hour and a half timeframe was up, I noticed that they had not fully opened up, but I felt like I should take them out of the oven. After doing so, I left them on the counter to dry overnight. I was so hoping that they would be ready and all dry the next day.
And, what I had hoped for came true. I was really pleased the next day to see that all had opened and were dry. Exciting and so pretty!! They were now ready for my projects. This whole process was a little time consuming, but they are beautiful and I feel worth it! I hope that this article helped you, especially if you decide to try it too. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading! Happy holidays, everyone!
P.S. Read about my Christmas decorating process (and Sylvester helping me) this year.