How to Easily Bleach Pine Cones at Home

by Sarah - Craft Invaders

We test out how to bleach pine cones at home.

Does it really work and how long does it take? We have all the answers here!

See our bleached pine cones turned into a beautiful centre-piece.



I am a huge fan of Pinterest. Every visit, I find something new and different that inspires me.

Whether it be a craft project, recipe, fantastic nail art or a beautiful holiday destination. It’s like the perfect, endless, glossy magazine full of amazing images.

I am aware, of course, that some of these glorious images must have teams of designers behind them, and that not everything that we see on there has been thrown together on a kitchen table, in the way you and I might!



There are a few pins that I come across again and again, and each time a little voice in my head says ‘I wonder if that really works?’

Well, there is only one way to find out. Welcome to the first investigation in our series of Pin-Tested; where Craft Invaders try out crafty pins that inspire us and find out how easy it is to recreate that pin at home.


We test out how to bleach pine cones at home. Does it really work and how long does it take? We have all the answers here! See our bleached pine cones turned into a beautiful centre-piece.


How to Bleach Pine Cones.

We took a mixture of dry pine cones, plus a couple of pieces of bark for good measure, and divided them equally into two.

To help keep the pine cones submerged under the bleach, we used chicken wire.



We used what I would describe as a good quality, thick bleach, and used it neat.

The plan was to treat both groups in exactly the same way but to leave one sample of cones in the bleach for 24hrs and the other for a few days.



24 hrs after we started our investigation, I tipped one lot of the pine cones out of the bleach and left them on newspaper outside in a covered area to begin to dry.

The second sample of bleaching pine cones was left for a full five days before being drained in precisely the same way.

The picture below shows the 24hr pine cones in their bleach, just before I tipped them out.



Our Pine Cone Bleaching Results.

And here are the 2 groups of pine cones two weeks after the second batch also came out of the bleach.

The group on the right is the batch that spent 5 days in the bleach (the long odd shaped cone is our marker).

As you can see leaving the cones the extra time made no real difference to the final results.



So it’s true, bleaching pine cones at home is simple and quick! The traditionally shaped pine cones were the ones that responded best to the bleach, and it appears that any colour loss that is going to happen, takes place in the first 24hrs.

I will be honest and admit that I am delighted with the results we achieved, I was a little sceptical that this was going to work, but as you can see from the photos, the pine cones look really rather pretty.


We test out bleaching pine cones at home. Does it really work and how long does it take? We have all the answers here! See them turned into a beautiful centre-piece. Would be perfect to use in winter crafts and for Christmas decorations.


Now that we have all these beautiful, bleached cones, we wanted to start making things with them straight away!



Making a Bleached Pine Cone, Candle and Succulent Centre-piece.

And here is our first project using home-bleached pine cones.

We painted a terracotta pot with cream acrylic paint, stuck a lace ribbon around the rim, and planted it with a candle, pretty little succulents, moss and our beautiful cream pine cones.



The bleached pine cones really are pretty. I think this would be perfect for a winter table centre-piece.



If you have enjoyed this Pin-tested Post, why not check out our Pin-Tested! Homemade Vanilla Extract and our Pin-Tested! Homemade Firelighters Posts.

We have a couple more pins ear-marked to be tested over the coming months. If you have any ideas you’d like to put forward we would love to hear them. The kids and I love a challenge!



For more rustic craft ideas, check out our How to Make Birch Bark Covered Flowerpots and our Stunning Twig Chandelier.


We test out how to bleach pine cones at home. Does it really work and how long does it take? We have all the answers here! See our bleached pine cones turned into a beautiful centre-piece.

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Nilgun Tansun November 23, 2020 - 10:19 am

It looks very beautiful can you learn how do it to me please

Sarah - Craft Invaders January 3, 2021 - 11:15 am

All the instructions are in the post Nilgun, let me know if theres anything that doesn’t make sense :)

BJ Palmer September 9, 2017 - 8:55 am

This is lovely and will make wonderful gifts for my family! I have a huge white pine, and more pine cones than the squirrels and I can use! Four tiny trees were found last week, so there will be even more in the years to come! Thank you for this beautiful project!

Sarah - Craft Invaders September 14, 2017 - 9:23 am

How lovely to have an endless supply of pine cones, I’m so pleased you like our project :)

Mary-the boondocks blog December 5, 2016 - 2:07 pm

Sarah they look really gorgeous. I’ve never tried this technique or any technique for pine cones. But I really l like what you’ve achieved here.

Sarah - Craft Invaders December 7, 2016 - 2:30 pm

To be honest I wasn’t convinced it would work Mary, so we were delighted with the results :)

Michelle December 5, 2016 - 6:59 am

Your pine cone experiment turned out lovely Sarah. I always loved the look of natural bleached pine cones, it really looks like you left them outside in the elements for a very loooooong time.

Sarah - Craft Invaders December 7, 2016 - 2:29 pm

Thanks Michelle, I love how they look too :)

Linda at Mixed Kreations December 4, 2016 - 10:16 pm

Sarah, I love how they turned out! I wish my little 6″ pine tree that I found while pulling weeds one day would hurry up and grow and give me some pine cones. LOL. I really love what you did with the pine cones in your winter table centre-piece. It turned out Beautiful!!!

Sarah - Craft Invaders December 7, 2016 - 2:28 pm

Thank you Linda, how lovely to have a baby pine tree – one day you’ll have all the pine cones you could ever want :)

Claire January 13, 2016 - 6:39 am

This is such a great idea, I need to try this one :)

pinning :) thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays

Sarah - Craft Invaders January 14, 2016 - 12:27 pm

They do look lovely pale Claire, we used them in all sorts of crafts over Christmas. Thanks for pinning!

Deb Mahoney January 10, 2016 - 10:49 pm

Did you rinse the pine cones well after bleaching to remove the bleach odor?

Sarah - Craft Invaders January 11, 2016 - 8:10 am

Hi Deb, No I didn’t rinse them, I left them outside under cover for a few days to dry out and air. When I bought them in there was no odour. Thanks for popping by :)

Betty January 10, 2016 - 5:21 am

I am so glad you did this Pin test, I have seen this pin and have always wanted to try it, like you, not really sure it would work and now you have convinced me to try it. We have many pine trees on our property and have always used the regular pine cones, no treatment, so this will be a fun different thing to try, again thanks for your testing, I look forward to your other tests.

Sarah - Craft Invaders January 10, 2016 - 9:59 pm

So pleased you found it useful. Like you, I see loads of pins and wonder whether they really work. I am planning to try the growing moss one as soon as the weather warms up, as I’ve always wondered if that one works too :)

A Patchwork Life October 21, 2015 - 1:22 pm

I’ve a pile a pine cones gathered from walks, and I was going spray them, but think I’ll try this instead. They’ve a kind of lovely washed-out driftwood look about them. Thanks for sharing :)

Sarah October 21, 2015 - 5:01 pm

They do have a driftwood look about them, I’m really pleased with how they turned out. I’m planning to embellish a few with glitter for Christmas arrangements :)

sarah October 6, 2015 - 9:49 pm

who would have thought you could take the colour out of pinecones….weird!

Sarah October 7, 2015 - 1:18 pm

I wasn’t convinced it’d work before I did it, but turns it works :) Thanks for popping by x

Coombe Mill October 5, 2015 - 7:58 pm

I clearly don’t spend enough time on Pinterest as I’ve never seen this done before! What a lovely effect, I want to ti the ends with gold sparkle and make Christmas decorations from them too! Such a great experiment and interesting what you discovered over the length of time the cones were dipped for. Thank you for sharing with me on #Trash2Treasure

Sarah October 5, 2015 - 8:29 pm

Think I spend way too much time on Pinterest lol. I’ve been thinking exactly the same about the glitter for Christmas decorations – they’d look really lovely. Thanks for having us this month on #Trash2Treasure

Random Musings September 23, 2015 - 11:53 am

I love how these have turned out! Looking forward to the rest of the series :) #myfavouritepost

Sarah September 23, 2015 - 1:30 pm

They did turn out well didn’t they :) Really looking forward to trying out some more pins – got 2 earmarked so far! Thanks for visiting x

Su {Ethan & Evelyn} September 22, 2015 - 8:13 pm

Wow! This is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. My boy’s school have loads of pine cones. I think I will start collecting these now that I know what to do with them. Thank you! :) #MyFavouritePost

Sarah September 22, 2015 - 8:27 pm

Perfect to be able to collect some at school – I love collecting pine cones :)

Cheryl @ ReimerandRuby September 22, 2015 - 2:33 pm

Wow! that flower arrangement looks beautiful… it’s amazing what can you make out of pine cones. I love Pinterest, gives you loads of ideas. #MyFavouritePost

Sarah September 22, 2015 - 3:08 pm

I can spend hours of Pinterest :) Thanks for visiting and your kind comments :)

Caro | The Twinkles Mama September 16, 2015 - 3:45 pm

Gosh — this is SUCH a lovely thing to do!! They look amazing don’t they? No wonder you’re thrilled with the end results! My only question is — do they smell of bleach?? I absolutely hate the smell of the stuff so any residual odour would put me off making them!! Thanks so much for linking up with us xx #TwinklyTuesday

Sarah September 16, 2015 - 4:54 pm

Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. No they don’t smell of bleach at all (I just sniffed one close up as well to double check!) I did leave them outside (but undercover) for a while so they got a good airing. I have seen some tutorials on pinterest showing how to make pine cones smell of cinnamon which would be a fun thing to try if that was a smell that appealed to you. Thanks for having us on #TwinklyTuesday!

Verily Victoria Vocalises September 12, 2015 - 10:40 pm

These are beautiful – they make perfect autumn decorations and I love the candle decorations. Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo x

Sarah September 13, 2015 - 8:58 am

We’re really pleased with how they turned out. Thanks for having us on #PoCoLo

Kirsten Toyne September 11, 2015 - 10:24 am

These look lovely. My mum flower arranges and would be really interested in these. Thanks for sharing. Kirsten

Sarah September 11, 2015 - 11:04 am

They’d be lovely in a flower arrangement. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment :)