Today I have some tips on how to dry and debug pine cones.
Or…as I prefer to call it…how to make pine cones pop.
Okay…some will make popping sounds and some won’t. Anyways….
What we’re really trying to do is take those recently gathered pine cones, all closed up, damp from the rain and ground, dry them out and help them bloom (pop open) to their full potential.
Pine cones are the flowers of the evergreen family. You gotta love any flower that stays beautiful almost indefinitely after it blooms. I have boxes and boxes of pine cones. Many of them are from the Scotch Pine trees that used to rim my yard to the north when I lived in West Michigan. I even have a few big ones from a visit to Florida several years ago. I know…who carts pine cones from state to state? Me. Now you know how much my husband loves me. [wink]
Next door to where I’m currently living, is the home of a landscaper. All the conifer plantings are mature, so his large yard has trees yielding a variety of pine cones right now. I collected some the other day just after a rainy few days.
Because I am impatient, I decided to speed up Mother Nature’s process and bake my pine cones in the oven to make them bloom fully. And because my collecting bag contained bugs as well as pine cones, I decided to roast any free riders.
I took a few cake pans and lined them with aluminum foil and placed my damp pine cones in the lined pans. When you do this….allow plenty of room because your pine cones might double in size. Then I covered the lined cake pans with more foil and snugged the aluminum foil around the pan.
The oven was preheated to 300 degrees and the pans were placed in the oven. If you’re looking for exact times….this isn’t the place. How long does it take to dry and debug pine cones? That’s anybody’s guess. It depends on how wet or dry the pine cones are. At some point when the pine cones were opened considerably, I removed the foiled ‘lids’ and returned the pine cones to the oven. Essentially what I was doing was steam cleaning them. Followed by a drying out. Check the pans periodically…or if you get lost in your project like me, pull them out when you have baked the life out of your pine cones. [wink]
The beauty of my system is that all that sap on the pine cones melted off or melted on the pine cones and becomes a hard resin. No more stickiness. Yay! Those that were really sticky originally looked all shiny and glossy after their sauna.
Now it’s time to decorate with pine cones!
I don’t do this because I don’t think it’s necessary. But, if you want to have them be a little glossy, lightly spray them with a clear poly coat.
Yes…I can hear you ask the question. “What are you going to do with all those pine cones?” Good question. There’s a wreath nearly finished and it’s nothing like you would expect. It’s not even what I expected. I guess you’ll have to come back to find out all about it. [wink]
Edited: Here is the finished “wreath.”
Don’t miss my post, Tips for Preparing Acorns for Crafting and Decorating.
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