How to Clean Pine Cones in 3 Easy Steps

I'm going to show you how to clean, prepare and decorate pine cones in three easy steps. Lucky for me, I was able to find pine cones right in my backyard.  Actually, the pine cones came from my neighbors trees, but they fell into my yard. I walked around the yard and collected several that were perfect specimens. 

First, I had to clean them. They had a lot of grass and dirt on them, so I wet them a little bit to see if I could get rid of some of that gunk . During this rinsing process I noticed that the pine cones started to close up. This is natural. They usually open up again during the baking process. 

So let's talk about the cleaning process. 

One of the tutorials I researched suggested letting the pine cones soak for a couple of hours,  so soaked my pine cones for about 3 hours in a mixture of water and vinegar. Use 3 parts water/1 part vinegar.

After about one hour of soaking, wipe as much sap and dirt off each pine cone, then let them soak a while longer.

Next,  place all the pinecones on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. It's important to use aluminum foil because you don't want any sap falling onto your cookware or even onto your oven.  Next, pop the pine cones into the oven.

Bake at 250 degrees for three hours or until the pine cones open. Check often. I checked on mine like every 30 minutes just to see how they were doing and to make sure that they weren't burning.

It's amazing to watch the pine cones slowly open and stretch out as the oven gets hotter! As they transform, they take on a really shiny coating.

Mine came out really well!  I'm thinking, pretty nice for something that I found in my own backyard, right? 

So let's recap:

Step 1: Soak/clean pine cones in vinegar and water

Step 2: Place pine cones on a lined cookie sheet

Step 3: Bake at 250 degrees for 3 hours or until pine cones open up

Once cooled, decorate your pine cones with paint or glitter or leave them neutral. They make great accessories in a basket, on a garland, mantel or under a holiday tree. 

I hope you get to try this.  Let me know how it turns out!

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