How to Prepare Pine Cones for Wreaths

2 Hours

I love adding a bit of nature into my fall, winter and Christmas wreaths by using pine cones. However, I also like to keep the cost of my supplies down so spending money on pine cones, which are abundant here in South Carolina, seems crazy.

I have a few pine cones in my backyard and when walking the dogs, I take a bag with me to pick up cones from other peoples' yards, which they NEVER seem to mind-free yard cleanup!

Before using fresh pine cones, I take the time to prepare them because there can be sap and critters inside them... Um yea, don't think my customers want live critters in their wreaths. I found these beautiful pine cones when dropping off my daughter at Ebenezer Lutheran Church Disciple Camp at Camp Kinard here in South Carolina. They have a ton of pine cones ranging in different sizes and shapes. Jackpot!!
Check out these these larger cones the hubs found. They will be perfect hanging on my living room Christmas tree, after I glitter them up of course!
Step 1 Soak in water and vinegar solution.
Step 2 Drain.
Step 3 Spread the pine cones in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet and place bake. For exact instructions, head over to my blog using the link below.
Drying this way can take an hour or two depending on the size so check on them every 30 minutes or so, because they can burn.
Step 4 Now that the pine cones are baked and cooled, I prepare them to be wired into my wreaths. To do this, use gardening gloves, because these things are prickly and use an awl to punch a hole into the stem of the cone.
Step 4 Prepare them to be wired into my wreaths.
Now they are ready to be attached to your craft, wreath creation or Christmas tree using floral wire or a pipe cleaner.

You can also spray them with a clear non yellowing sealer to give them a shine. I recommend Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating/Sealer or use them as they are.

Since it is such a long process, I do a bunch at a time and store them in a cool dry place. I sometimes get so many, it takes me two years before I have to harvest more. Here is a wreath using three of the pine cones pictured above.
For complete instructions, head over to my blog using the link below.

Do you have any tips for using pine cones? If so, leave me a comment below.
Happy Wreathing,

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 10 questions
  • Tex5622149
    on Jul 21, 2017

    What is the purpose of the vinegar and water?I missed that part.
    • Sherry Taylor- Petten
      on Sep 8, 2017

      If you soak them in a covered bucket in a bleach mixture of 1 part bleach 4 parts water, soak for a couple of days, rinse and let dry, they will turn more of a driftwood colour. The pinecones do close up in the water but open again as they dry.
  • Lil27767747
    on Jul 21, 2017

    Instead of using an awl, have you ever thought of using a small drill bit and a cordless hand drill to save time in doing your pilot holes for the eye screws? Of course safety first, but just my opinion in hurrying your project along a little.
    • Dianne
      on Oct 24, 2017

      The cordless drill will work very well, and probably easier on your hands too. I drilled a number (100+) and used hot glue to put the cones on skewers to use in floral arrangements.
  • Shirlet
    on Nov 16, 2018

    I have had cones in a bag, put away for a year now. Can I still use then and do I still need to put them on the oven?

    • SpudBread
      on Dec 9, 2019

      I have cones that are OVER 40 years old-- good to use at any time!!!! GO FOR IT! Merry, merry, and all of that too! Ho, ho ho ...

Join the conversation

2 of 259 comments
  • Jen33235128
    on Apr 21, 2018

    I snip the pokey things off of mine. They still look great and so much raised to handle. My hands swell where I get poked by one. Yes I will try this. Thank you for sharing.

  • Nde33943838
    on Aug 15, 2018

    Now thats a great idea!

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