Preparing pine cones for crafts

How To Prepare Pine Cones For Crafts

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When you’re ready to get crafty, don’t forget about pine cone crafts! Using pine cones in crafts is a great idea for adding a natural touch, and they can be used in all sorts of projects. In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips and tricks on preparing pine cones for your next project.

Gathering Your Pine Cones

The first step is to collect a few pine cones. If you have a backyard full of pine trees, then this should be easy enough. Just make sure to wait for a dry day so that the pine cones will be easier to work with. If you don’t have any trees in your yard, don’t worry! You can usually find beautiful pine cones at your local craft store.

Best Time To Find Pine Cones

The best time to find pine cones is in the late fall and winter when they have fallen from the trees. However, you can also find pine cones at craft stores or online.

Best Pine Cones For Crafts

Not all pine cones are created equal, and some are better for crafts than others. The best pine cones for crafts are the ones that are fresh and have not been dried out. If you can find fresh pine cones, that is the best option. However, if you cannot find fresh pine cones, you can also use dried pine cones.

Can You Use Real Pine Cones For Crafts?

Yes, you can use real pine cones for crafts, but there are a few things you need to do first. First, you need to clean them off. You can do this by brushing them off with a brush, or you can wash them in a bowl of water. Once they are clean, you need to dry them off. You can do this by putting them in the sun, or you can use a hair dryer. Once they are dry, you can start crafting!

How Long Do Fresh Pine Cones Last?

It is best to use your pine cones as soon as possible after they are opened. If you need to store them, put them in a dry place and make sure they don’t touch each other. They should last for a few weeks like this. If you want to store them for a longer period of time, you can put them in a plastic bag and keep them in the freezer.

Do Pine Cones Need To Be Cleaned?

The answer is, it depends! If the pine cones are for indoor use, then you will probably want to give them a good cleaning. This will remove any dirt, dust, or debris that might be clinging to the cone.

If you are using pine cones for a project that will be displayed outdoors, then you don’t necessarily need to clean them beforehand. However, if they are particularly dirty, you can give them a quick cleaning.

How To Clean Fresh Pine Cones For Crafting

Pine cone cleaning is the first step in preparing your pine cones for decorating or crafting. You’ll want to remove any dirt, debris, or sap that may be on the cones.

Use a nailbrush or an old toothbrush to scrub the cones clean and get rid of visible dirt. If they’re really dirty, you may need to give them a quick rinse in the sink. Once they’re clean, let them air dry on a towel or rack.

How To Remove Pine Cone Scales And Needles

The scales are the small, thin leaves that grow on the outside of a pine cone. They can be removed easily by hand or brush, so you can get to the pine cone’s core. For tougher scales, you can use a knife or tweezers. Just be careful not to damage the cone itself.

Once all the scales and pine needles are removed, it’s time to clean the pine cone. You can do this by gently brushing away any dirt or debris with a soft brush. If the pine cone is really dirty, you can soak it in warm water for a few minutes. Then, just rinse it off and let it dry completely.

How To Remove Sap From Pine Cones

The sap in pine cones is a sticky, tree resin that is used to seal the cone and protect it from pests and weather. It is also what gives pine cones their sticky texture.

If your pine cones are particularly sappy, you can remove the sap with a few methods.

Bake Them

Placing your pine cones in the oven will cause the sap to melt. Make sure you use an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet to catch the sap. Bake them in a 200F oven, turning them every 15 minutes. Remove them when you think the sap is all out, and allow them to cool. Repeat if necessary.

Boil Them

You can loosen the sap by boiling them. Just place the pine cones in a pot of boiling hot water for a few minutes. Then, remove them and let them cool completely. The sap should peel right off!

Soaking Them

If you don’t want to use heat, you can also soak your pine cones in a solution of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and water. Just mix equal parts vinegar and water, and place the pine cones in the mixture. Let them soak for a few hours, then remove them and let them dry overnight until they are totally dried out.

The vinegar smell will dissipate once the pine cones are dry. However, if you want to get rid of it faster, you can place them in a warm oven on low heat for a few minutes. The heat will help the vinegar evaporate faster.

How Do I Make Sure Pine Cones Are Bug-Free?

Pine cones can be a tasty treat for bugs, so you’ll want to make sure they are free of any pests before using them in your crafts. Here are a few tips for how to prepare pine cones for crafts:

To clean your pine cones, start by giving them a good shake. This will help remove any loose debris or small bugs that may be hiding inside. Next, you can either rinse them with water or place them in a colander and give them a quick blast with the hose. If you’re using them for a project that will be going outside, like a bird feeder, then you can skip the rinsing step.

If you have baked your pine cones or soaked them in a vinegar solution, then they should be free of any bugs. However, if you’re still concerned, you can place them in the freezer for 24 hours. This will kill any pests that may be lurking inside.

Once they are clean, you’ll want to let your pine cones dry completely before using them in crafts. You can do this by either air drying them out in the sun or placing them on a cooling rack in the oven (set to the lowest setting) for a few hours.

Do Pine Cones Open And Close?

Did you know that there are female and male pine cones? The female pine cones are the ones that open and close.

Why Do Pinecones Open And Close?

In the forest, the female pinecones open so that the seeds inside can be distributed. The opening occurs when conditions are favorable for the seeds to germinate. The best environment for germination is in dry and warm conditions.

How Do Pine Cones Open?

Pine cones close when conditions for germination are not good. That’s when it’s snowing or when it’s wet and humid.  If the cones get wet, they will close again.

If you need your pine cones to close, you need to place them in water. This video shows what happens when a pine cone gets wet; please note there no sound on this video – your computer is not broken.

How To Keep Pine Cones Closed

To keep your pine cones closed, they need to be kept in humid conditions, keeping in mind that dry conditions will cause the pine cone to open.

How To Open Pine Cones

To get your pine cone to open up, you need to emulate those conditions, and an oven is the quickest and easiest answer.

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
  • Place your pine cones on a cookie sheet covered in tin foil with none touching each other.
  • Bake for 30 to 60 minutes; there will be a lovely pine scent in your house!
  • Turn your pine cones every 15 minutes so they won’t burn on one side.
  • When the edges are all open, take them out and allow them to cool.

How To Keep Pine Cones Open

To keep your pine cones open, you need to keep them in dry, warm conditions. But if they close, you can always put them back in the oven for a few minutes.

How To Preserve Pine Cones

Supplies needed

  • Pine cones
  • Vinegar
  • Brush
  • Bowl
  • Paper towel or newspaper
  • Spray varnish
  • Thread
  • Tin foil
  • Baking tray

Step-by-step instructions

  • Heat your oven to 200F.
  • While it is pre-heating, brush your pine cones in water to remove insects and dust.
  • Line your baking tray with tin foil.
  • Put the pine cones in a single layer on the tray. Space them out so none are touching.
  • Place in the oven.
  • Shuffle them every 15 to 20 minutes to prevent burning or even catching fire.
  • When they are fully open, leave them to cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Pour one-quarter of a cup of vinegar into a bowl of water.
  • Soak the cones for 10 to 15 minutes; stir them every 5 minutes.
  • Rinse in water.
  • Leave them to dry, or put them in the oven again. To be completely ready for crafts, they need to dry out for about 2 days. It would be quicker to wait for several hours until they are nearly dry, and then put them in the oven again.
  • At this point, the pine cones are ready for your craft project.
  • If you wish to preserve them as they are, loop a thread around the stalk.
  • Hang them in an area that is safe for spraying.
  • Spray multiple coats of clear varnish, allowing them to dry between coats.

What Do You Spray Pine Cones With To Preserve Them?

If you want to preserve your pine cones, you can spray them with a clear varnish. This will protect them from drying out and will keep them looking nice.

Does Hairspray Preserve Pine Cones?

Instead of buying spray varnish to preserve your pine cones, as in the method above, you could use a few coats of extra-strength hairspray.

You could also use the glossy wood version of Design Master Spray. This is used by florists to preserve floral pieces, and that includes pine cones. It will give your pine cone a polished look with a woodland tinge.

How Do You Preserve Pine Cones Without Baking?

There are a few different ways to preserve pine cones without baking them.

  • One way is to coat them with clear sealant or varnish to give them a natural look. This will help protect them from the elements and keep them looking shiny and new.
  • Another option is to use a sealant with a colorant, which will give your pine cones a bit of color while still allowing their natural beauty to shine through.
  • If you want to try a more natural method of preservation, you can coat your pine cones in wax. This will help keep out moisture and pests. You can either use beeswax or carnauba wax. Both will give your pine cones a nice, glossy finish.
  • Finally, if you have a particularly large batch of pine cones, you can freeze them. This is a great option if you want to use them later in the year, when they aren’t in season. Just be sure to thaw them out before using them in your craft project.

Whichever method you choose, be sure to follow the instructions on your chosen product carefully.

What Can I Do With Dried Pine Cones

Pine cones can be used in a variety of crafts, including wreaths, garlands, swags, and centerpieces. You can also use them to make Christmas ornaments, name plates, door hangers, and more. Get creative and let your imagination run wild!

There are so many different ways you can use cleaned pine cones in crafts. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Use cinnamon oil or other essential oils to make them smell aromatic.
  • Use as part of a nature-themed mobile or garland.
  • Create a pine cone wreath with hot glue or wire.
  • Paint them and use them as Christmas ornaments.
  • Turn them into cute critters by adding googly eyes and pom-poms.
  • Use them as part of a nature table display.
  • Make a pine cone bird feeder by coating the cones in peanut butter and rolling them in birdseed. Then, just hang them up outside! Bluebirds, chickadees, jays, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and wrens love peanut butter.

The possibilities for Christmas home decor are endless! So get creative and have fun crafting with your pine cones.


Now that you know how to clean and preserve pine cones, the sky is the limit when it comes to crafting with them. Get creative and have fun! And if you’re looking for more ideas, be sure to check out our other blog post on craft ideas using pine cones.

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