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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

DIY - beautiful bleached pinecones.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, pinecone gathering can be done with your eyes closed.

I mean, they're everywhere.

Since I love decorating with natural elements, I've got a pretty big stash of these guys.

I love them natural, painted...and now bleached!

I first read about bleaching pinecones on Country Living Magazine's website.  Their instructions are wonderful and really basically boils down to this:

Step 1: place pinecones in a glass container; I chose a glass cylinder vase:
[step 1].

Step 2: fill the container 2/3 full with bleach, fill the rest with plain water
Step 3: pinecones float! place something inside your container that will keep those rascals submerged. I used a juice glass:
[step 2 and 3].

Step 4: leave pinecones submerged in the bleach mixture for 24 to 36 hours.  You'll notice I've got mine down in the garage.  No sense smelling that stuff inside the house for 2 days, am I right? Plus yikes you wouldn't want to spill it inside.

Step 5: remove the pinecones and rinse with clean water. the pinecones will be closed up.
Interesting sidenote: even after 36 hours, most of my pinecones still looked pretty dark brown and I'll admit I was disappointed because I thought it hadn't worked. so I left a couple in the bleach mixture for an extra 24 hours and the rest I put in the dryer to dry.

Step 6: dry the pinecones. I have a rack for my clothes dryer so I put them on the rack and ran the dryer on medium, checking on them regularly. After about an hour, they had turned a lovely shade of light tan and had started to open up again:
[step 6].

Step 7: display your beautiful bleached pinecones!

Aren't they the most gorgeous creamy tan color?
Here's a closeup, I love how the tips still have a bit of darker brown on them:

Remember the couple of pinecones that I said I left in the bleach for an additional 24 hours? They did indeed get whiter, but you can see this one came pretty close to disintegrating:
[creamy white pinecone left in bleach an extra day].
So I think I'll stick to the 24-36 hour rule in the future!

Have you tried this project yet? I'd love to hear about it in the Comments below and as always I'm happy to answer any questions you might have.

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