An easy way to prepare pine cones for wreaths! I love adding a bit of nature into my fall, winter and Christmas wreaths by using pine cones. However, I also like to keep the cost of my supplies down so spending money on pine cones, which are abundant here in South Carolina, seems crazy. I have a few pine cones in my backyard and when walking the dogs, I take a bag with me to pick up cones from other peoples’ yards, which they NEVER seem to mind–free yard cleanup! Before using fresh pine cones, I take the time to prepare them because there can be sap and critters inside them… Um yea, don’t think my customers want live critters in their wreaths.
I found these beautiful pine cones when dropping off my daughter at Ebenezer Lutheran Church Disciple Camp at Camp Kinard here in South Carolina. They have a ton of pine cones ranging in different sizes and shapes. Jackpot!!
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Check out these these larger cones the hubs found. They will be perfect hanging on my living room Christmas tree, after I glitter them up of course!
How to Prepare Pine Cones for Wreaths
Here is my method for how to prepare pine cones for my wreaths:
Remove any debris, like pine needles and sticks. Shake off any excess sand and dirt. Then wash the pine cones in a sink full of water with half a cup to a cup of white vinegar. Just swish the pine cones around to wash off any remaining sand or dirt.
Drain the pine cones on a paper towel for a few minute so that the excess water will drain off.
Drying this way can take an hour or two depending on the size so check on them every 30 minutes or so, because they can burn. I read that if you try to rush the drying time, they become more brittle. Baking the pine cones also helps to remove any sap they may have.
During the baking time, the pine cones will close somewhat but then open back up. Once the pine cones are completely opened, they are done. Below is an example of how the cones were closed and then starting to open after one of my 30 minute checks. Let them cool for 20 minutes before handling them.
Now that the pine cones are baked and cooled, I prepare them to be wired into my wreaths. To do this, use gardening gloves, because these things are prickly and use an awl to punch a hole into the stem of the cone.
Screw a screw eye into the bottom of the pine cone. Some of the petals will fall off and that is okay.
Now they are ready to be attached to your craft, wreath creation or Christmas tree using floral wire or a pipe cleaner. You can also spray them with a clear non yellowing sealer to give them a shine. I recommend Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating/Sealer or use them as they are.
Since it is such a long process, I do a bunch at a time and store them in a cool dry place. I sometimes get so many, it takes me two years before I have to harvest more.
Here is a wreath using three of the pine cones pictured above.
Do you have any tips for using pine cones? If so, leave me a comment below.
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