There’s nothing better than a simple, straight-forward Christmas craft that even a busy mum can do.
And we’ve got one that’s better than most.
Yes, pine cones are as integral to the traditional ideal of Christmas as trees and candy canes. Even the smell of them makes you think about lovely long days spent happily enjoying the Christmas cheer with friends and family. But they can be a little dark for our taste, and we do so love making things lighter and just a tad more rustic.
Enter our friend bleach, and you have a Christmas match made in the North Pole.
Here’s how to bleach your pine cones…..
1. Collect Your Pine Cones
In many places around Australia pine cones can be found out in nature, just waiting for someone to make use of them. When you’re out picking them up, try to pick ones that are the most whole and of a size suited to your final project. Obviously if you want to use them in a wreath, you might want to get several different sizes, while if you’re interested in just displaying them, the same size is ok. If there’s nowhere around you where you can find them underneath trees, consider buying them in craft stores or online. Just make sure they haven’t been varnished or sprayed.
2. The Materials
Once you’ve got the pine cones it’s time to get everything else together. For this project you’ll also need
- a very large bottle of bleach,
- a thick plastic bucket,
- some rubber gloves,
- newspaper to cover the surface and prevent stains,
- a dinner plate (ceramic or glass)
- and a brick
3. Setting Up
Take the newspaper and cover all of the surfaces around where you’re doing this project. Remember that you’ll be using bleach which can cause havoc with stains even for small spills. Once you’ve done this put your pine cones into the bucket. You don’t want to put too many in the bucket, as they need to be totally submerged in bleach for this project to work. If you want you can do the pine cones in smaller batches, but you can use the bleach for more than one batch.
4. Fill The Bucket
Once the pine cones are in place, fill the bucket up with bleach and cover the pine cones. The first thing you’ll probably notice is that they float. Bummer. But we’ve got a heavy plate and a brick. Put the plate face down on top of the pine cones, with the brick on top. This will weigh them down and keep them submerged into the bleach.
5. Now We Wait
The pine cones will take about 24 hours to bleach, so don’t take them out before that. Some bleaches aren’t as powerful as others, so if there appears to be no colour change at all, leave them longer or try a different bleach. The pine cones won’t look totally white when they’re in the bucket, but they will lighten as they dry. Once they’ve sat in the bleach for about 24 hours, fish them out using your rubber gloves and put them on paper towel to dry. We’d recommend drying them outside to get rid of the bleach smell.
Now, the pine cones can take some time to dry, but you can speed the process up by putting them in the oven on a low heat for up to an hour. You’ll also notice that the pine cones close when they’re in the bleach. They will open as they dry, but it might take 2 weeks before they’re fully open so don’t make this a last minute project.
6. Decorating Time
Once the pine cones are properly dry, and you use them in your Christmas decor. They can be painted or simply given a light glitter spray if you want to make them stand out more, but their light colouring should do a pretty good job. Use them as table settings, make them into ornaments, or simply spread them around the house.