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How to Bleach Pinecones

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How to bleach pinecones. This was a lot easier than I first thought.

I’m really kicking myself that I only did this project as a test run. I’ve never done it before and I was concerned that it wasn’t going to turn out. Pinecones are plentiful in my neighborhood. We have a wide variety of pine trees and there are always loads of pinecones on the ground. They come in lots of sizes too. Well, the project did turn out and the pinecones are beautiful. Let me show you how to bleach pinecones.

Bleaching pinecones

When I first did research for this, there were tons of conflicting tutorials. I mean – it’s ridiculous. One tutorial had people using 5 gallons of pure bleach.That seemed like definite over-kill to me. Others seemed even more dangerous than this. I just decided to use common sense and now, I’m adding my own tutorial to the mix LOL.

Luckily, I had this 4 foot tall glass cylinder with a seal lock lid. This made for easy bleaching.

How to Make Beautifully Bleached Pinecones


    • Use very dry, brown, fully opened pinecones -approximately 30-50
    • 2 gallon bucket
    • 1 gallon of bleach
    • water
    • bricks or rocks for weighting down the pinecones
    • tarp or heavy duty paper for drying
    • rubber gloves or tongs

Step 1: Make sure you are outside in a well ventilated area. Place pinecones into the bucket.

Step 2: Pour 1 gallon of bleach over the pinecones. 

Step 3: Place bricks or rocks on top of the pinecones to prevent them from floating. This step is very important. Otherwise the pinecones will not be submerged and will not be bleached.

Step 4Add water to completely cover the pinecones and fill bucket. A good ratio is 75% bleach to 25% water. Just make sure you have way more bleach than water in the mix.

Step 5: Leave in the bleach solution for 24-36 hours. 

Step 6:  Using rubber gloves or tongs, remove pinecones from bleach solution to tarp or paper. Leave out in the sun to dry for several days.

Remember, the pinecones will close up again after sitting in the bleach water solution.

Also, they will not be visibly blonde when you remove them from the bleach.

If you want them to be more blonde it is best to repeat the process. Don’t leave them in the solution too long, as you run the risk of the pinecones falling apart.

**Full disclosure** After leaving my pinecones outside for several days, they never opened. So, I baked them in the oven. This is like a miracle cure 🙂

Forcing the pinecones back open

  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees
  • Place the pinecones on multiple baking sheets making sure that the pinecones are not touching.
  • Put the baking sheets in the oven.
  • After 1 hour, check the pinecones and see if they have opened. (At this point, mine were)
  • If they are, turn the oven off. Leave the pinecones in the oven until they have cooled.
  • If the pinecones are not opened, check every 15 minutes.

Aren’t they beautiful?

Now you see why I am so disappointed why I only did a test.

I made approximately 20 pinecones. These will make gorgeous ornaments for Christmastime.

They will even be beautiful placed in a wooden bowl.

I need to get another batch going soon. This is why I wanted to share with you how to bleach pinecones. If you want to have them ready for Christmas you really want to start them now so that you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.

Let me know if you give it a try. I would love to know if they turn out and what you make with them!

Don’t forget to Pin this to your favorite Pinterest board!

Have a great weekend!




  1. These are so pretty ladies! Love the way you baked them a bit to force them back open too. Pinecones always remind me of home so I can’t wait to try this technique. Hugs, CoCo

  2. I have bleached pinecones for 2 years now and this is my 3rd year.I am going to do your oven method they look beautiful a lot more lighter love them will put them in see through bags with gold and mocha colored small Christmas balls with a season Holiday scent and a Gold and Silver Ribbon for a boutique in November it was a good seller last year.I am addicted to pinecones it was a childhood tradition to gather every year.

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