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,
Southern Charm Wreaths
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 10 questions
  • Tex5622149 Tex5622149 on Jul 21, 2017
    What is the purpose of the vinegar and water?I missed that part.

  • Lil27767747 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.

  • Shirlet 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?

Join the conversation
2 of 259 comments
  • Jen33235128 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.

  • N**33943838 N**33943838 on Aug 14, 2018

    Now thats a great idea!