How to prepare pine cones for crafting
I'm still searching for the perfect blend of natural and bling in my Christmas decorating style. I decided to add pine cones to our tree, but didn't want to bring in bugs or resort to soaking them in bleach. Pine cones are porous and any harsh chemicals you might use to kill bugs will continue to be released into the air long after you think you've dried them out.
It's fairly easy to prepare your pine cones but be prepared to spend quite a while drying them out.
1. Gather pine cones. I used ponderosa pine cones but whatever you have access to should be fine.
2. Soak them in water and 1/4 cup vinegar for 30-45 minutes.
3. Cover a baking tray in tinfoil and spread out your pine cones. I found that mine dried more evenly/symmetrically when I was able to stand them upright. You may have to dry them for a while initially before they will stand up.
4. Heat the oven to 200 degrees and bake until pine cones are dry. Mine took about 5 hours - you could also air-dry but it would take significantly longer (probably a few days).
This is the scary part. As the pine cones are soaked and start drying, they will shrink and close up, look terrible and just overall convince you that you've ruined them. Don't worry, as they fully dry they will re-fluff, although they might be a little darker than before.
And that's it! Your pine cones are ready to use!