How to bleach pine cones and make a rustic centerpiece or dress up a decorative lantern.
Decorative lanterns are one of my favorite things. They're so versatile. You can fill them with colorful balls at Christmas, small pumpkins for Halloween, a large pillar candle, some greenery, a few branches. The list goes on and on!
Here, I've added some bleached and natural pinecones and then topped it off with some pearlized picks. You can load up on colorful picks and greenery during the holiday season and especially right after the holidays when everything is on clearance.
I like to think about shape, height and color when I'm decorating. I look at the space and try to determine if I need something tall like a lantern, or something low profile like a bowl. Then I go around the house and look for something that fits the description. If I don't really have what I want, then I may have to go shopping!
This is a more rustic lantern that I've dressed up with a black and white buffalo check bow. And pine cones! This is also one of those transitional decorations. You can put this out at Halloween with pumpkins in and around it, then pull those out after Thanksgiving and add Christmas balls, pine cones or greenery. After Christmas, just take out anything that screams Christmas and leave the rest. You're set for as long as you are enjoying looking at it.
Here's a link to to a gray runner just like the one pictured here. I got this black and white one just this past Christmas, but I didn't see it listed. It also comes in green, pink and navy.
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Look how these pine cones sparkle and shine! This is an arrangement in a tobacco basket. If you don't have a tobacco basket, get one. Or two. They're extremely versatile. They can be used empty as easily as with something in them. Use a tobacco basket, like this white-washed tobacco basket, when you need a pop of white, or whatever color you happen to have, or when you need something with texture or pattern or some height or width. It's that go-to piece that you can prop up behind anything that needs a back-drop. It's perfect to lean against a wall or in a shelf to hide an electrical outlet, or at least camouflage it a bit. This basket probably cost between $10 and $15. I get more than my moneys worth of use out of it!
In this arrangement I've included some pops of color. A green, rustic vase and a red metal ball. Just throw in whatever you have that you like. It could even be a a chunky candle or a colorful bowl. Maybe a picture or just an old picture frame with some character. I can think of a zillion things! Just holler if you're having trouble!
How To Bleach Pine Cones
Since I didn't have anything better to do, I decided to bleach some pine cones. The truth is, I bleached and baked pine cones instead of doing the laundry. I find lots of things to do so that I don't have to deal with the laundry.
I read several how-to's on bleaching pine cones and then I got started.
I filled a 5 gallon bucket with pinecones,
I added about 3 gallons of bleach and 1/2 gallon of water.
I put bricks on top of the pinecones to hold them down and then waited. (I read that you could use less bleach and water. A ratio of 80/20, bleach and water. I'm sure that would work, and the cones would all be submerged eventually, as they soaked up the bleach water, but I covered them completely. I'm sure either way would be fine,
About 48 hours later I freed the pinecones using tongs. The bleach water was COLD! I just jiggled the tongs around in the bucket and the cones floated to the top.
I fished them out, rinsed and drained them in the sink and put them on foil lined pans.
I baked them in the oven on 250 degrees until they fully opened. It took several hours, and some opened sooner than others.
They are beautiful. I just love them so much!
The 5 gallon bucket is still on the back porch. Hmmmm.
These are a few of the finished products. I've mixed some bleached ones in with some natural ones. I like the contrast of dark and light. Especially the way the tips of the bleached ones are still dark.
These pine cones were completely opened when I picked them up. They closed up in the bleach bath. This is just before I popped them into the oven.
This is what some of the bleached pine cones looked like after an hour in the oven at 250 degrees. Baking them helps to dry them out and they open as they dry. You can get the same results if you put the pine cones out in the sun for a few hours.
This project was a lot of fun! I'm not really a "crafter", so I don't have any big plans for my pine cones. I just enjoy looking at them, and arranging them in different containers around the house. I'm sure that they would make a beautiful wreath, so I might do that at some point!