Bleaching Pinecones and Boxwood Wreath

Cottage Craft DIY Tutorial, Cottage Home, DIY, Featured, Winter Decor

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Bringing in the Natural to your Christmas Decor

bleached pinecone tutorial

Time is flying by so very fast and Christmas is just around the corner. So is our Christmas party.

Bleaching Pinecones has been around for years.

But this year it is new to me.

When I saw past projects shared by others, I thought, ‘how cool is that!’ And immediately took a 5-gallon bucket outside to collect my pinecones. Quickly, I filled the bucket and brought it indoors.

Bleached Pinecones Magnolia Brances in bread dough bowl

My first try.

I bought at the dollar store a gallon of bleach. That doesn’t go too far in a 5-gallon bucket! So, I removed the ones that were not submerged and set it on the side porch. My first suggestion – do this step outdoors – bleach has a very strong odor and some people are very sensitive.

Boxwood and Magnolia branches - Christmas Decor

Pinecones close up when wet.

That’s natural. The next day, I used a sieve and took out the soaked pinecones – no sign of the bleached color I’d been excited to see. They need to dry.

Pinecones will dry naturally…over time…for this project they need a little assistance.

bread dough bowl magnolia leaves bleached pine cones

They needed to be dried in the oven. You’ll find instructions to place the pinecones in a 250° or 300° oven. Start early – this step will take hours. This will also give off a strong odor – keep doors open if it bothers you. Over time, the pinecones will dry and begin to open up. Keep an eye on them – they’ll push each other out of the way – I had a couple to fall off the foil-lined cookie sheet onto the element. You know, pinecones are great for starting fires!

fireplace Christmas vignette

Then, your beautiful, bleached pinecones will be ready – and very quickly you can begin to use them – they won’t retain much heat.

My second try  produced great results. I filled another 5-gallon bucket, poured 1 1/2 gallon of bleach and filled the bucket with water until all pinecones were submerged – I placed a heavy garden pot on top to weigh them down. And I followed the 24-hour then oven drying steps (this time I did increase the temp to 300° and had no problem)

A Bleach Alternative – Hydrogen Peroxide

Bleached Pinecone bread dough bowl living room

If you’re sensitive to the odor of bleach, you can try Hydrogen Peroxide – I did – and found it will bleach them – not as bright – but, you’ll have to consider that it will take a lot of Hydrogen Peroxide – you can only do small batches at a time. There’s no odor when oven drying. Sadly, I cannot show you my 3 pinecones. I followed all steps, dried them for hours and turned the oven off. Later that night Dearest was at work late. When he called to let me know he was on his way, I turned the oven on broil to cook the Salmon I had planned. I’d forgotten the pinecones. Yep! They began to burn up. They make great fire starters! Fortunately I caught them in the smoking stage, I did not burn down the kitchen!!!

bread dough bowl filled with bleached pinecones and magnolia branches

So, I’m beginning to decorate for Christmas.

To my Bleached Pinecones I added Boxwood trimmings and Magnolia Branches. I’m considering adding lights or color. Or just leave it as it is. This is the fluid stage of my Christmas Decor.

candle boxwood wreath topiary vignette

The Boxwood Wreath was easy.

I used another embroidery hoop. I cut several stems from a Boxwood bush. I grouped these branches in three or four and bound them with floral wire. I took my bunches and attached them to the hoop. I layered the bunches closely pointing the branches in the same direction until completing round the hoop. I attached three sturdy branches to the bottom securing it with a lot of wire. Into the pot I placed floral foam to secure the wreath. A simple bow of gold and silver ribbon complete the look.

This chair I found at Goodwill!

goodwill chair living room fireplace vignette

I don’t find very many furniture pieces at our local Goodwill. One day my eyes were drawn to this petite chair – I loved it’s shape and the tapistry fabric. It folds! The price was $25. I tore off the part to take to the cash register. I didn’t pick up the chair. I took two steps and picked it up. A woman asked me, ‘are you going to buy this?’ I smiled and replied, ‘Yes, yes I am.’

A simple start to my Christmas decor. Remember, this is the fluid stage – just trying things out…what do you think?

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