I don’t know if it was just my upbringing or everyone in the Midwest. But I remember while my my family and I were out camping in the summer months. My mom would tell my brother and I to go pick up as many pine cones as we could! I ended up turning it into a game! Maybe just for myself- I don’t know if my brother ever participated in my crazy schemes for finding the MOST perfect pine cone. And I remember my mom would decorate the house for Christmas with our prize wining pine cones we had found earlier in the year.
Now that I’m an adult myself- I still can’t help but look down when I’m out in the mountains during the warmer months.
Pine cones are a great filler for decorations! You can do anything you want! Make a garland, stick in garland on your mantle, put in a bowl, or you can go down a completely different route! You can- use them for crafts! The possibilities are endless!
Any craft sell some amazing smelling pine cones this time of the year. But why spend the money when you can make them yourself? And more times than not- the pine cones you find while have fun out in the woods or park are better than the ones you buy!
However; that being the case- these little guys are of nature they are homes of little bugs and etc. You don’t want to spend all this time on a craft and then have little colonies of bugs ruining your Christmas decorations. Or your crafts not holding their glitter or paint because of the little bugs eating away.
To clean them is super easy! All you need is a third of white distilled vinegar and water in a bowl. Then place your pine cones in the bowl. Once they are saturated run your hands over them to get the rest of the dirt off them. Leave them in the vinegar bath for 45 minutes you will now they are ready when all the pine cones are closed instead of open.
Helpful hint- if you might get sap on your hands. Soap doesn’t always get sap off. The best solution? Use cooking oil as soap and ta da- good bye sap!
Once your pine cones are free from dirt and little insects place on paper towels to dry rotating them every hour to make sure every side is dry. I left mine out for a day and by the next day they were completely dried.
I know waiting for them to dry can be hard- if you want to decorate or craft that day you can put them on a single baking sheet lined with aluminium foil and put them in the oven at 150 degrees for a half hour- but if you want to take that route you have really pay attention to them or else it can be flammable! The best approach? Just be patient and leave them out to dry.
Once they are dried and clean they are free to be used for whatever you want to use them for weather for a craft or leave them all natural for a more realistic look to them.
Finally- if you pick up anything else on the ground outside such as sticks or conkers do the same thing not just pine cones. And save yourself a little extra cash this Holiday season!