Pinecones are plentiful in art stores and in some backyards and parks, making them a cost effective way to decorate a home any season of the year. There are different ways to decorate pine cones, with bleaching being one of the most popular techniques. Using just bleach, water, and a bucket, you can make bleached pine cones of your own. The pine cones can end up having anything from a driftwood look to a blond tone, making this a way to add a unique flair to your interior design.

EditPreparing Your Materials

  1. Dress in old clothes and put on protective gloves. Because you will be working with bleach, which can permanently marr your clothing, make sure you are wearing old clothes that you won’t mind getting dirty. You also want to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the bleach, which can irritate and even burn your skin.
  2. Wear protective glasses, especially when pouring the bleach into the water. You don’t want any splashes getting into your eyes.
  3. Gather your pine cones. Make sure the pine cones are completely open and dry. Wet and closed pine cones will not bleach well.[1]
  4. Put the pine cones in your bucket. If you are working with a lot of pine cones, then a five gallon utility bucket will be best. It will have enough room to allow the solution to cover all the pine cones. But, if you are working with smaller pine cones, or with only one or two, then something smaller can work.
  5. Add 2 parts water to 1 part bleach to the bucket. Make sure there is enough solution to cover all the pine cones.[2]

EditSoaking the Pine Cones

  1. Put rocks or bricks on top of the pine cones to hold them down in the solution. The pine cones will start to float, so you will need at least two rocks or bricks. If some pine cones escape from under the rocks or bricks, then add another rock or brick to make sure they all stay down.

    • The pine cones will close up when they are wet. That is supposed to happen and will not affect the bleaching.[3]

  2. Let the pine cones sit in the bleach water for up to 48 hours. This will give the solution enough time to work.
  3. Check the pine cones after 12 hours. Some of the smaller pine cones might be ready.

    • Again, put on old clothes, the rubber gloves, and protective glasses to protect your skin and eyes.
    • Remove the rocks or bricks and start picking through the pine cones to see if any are ready. Your own preference for color will determine if they are ready or not.[4]
    • The longer you let the pine cones sit, the more bleached they will look. The bleaching can range from a driftwood appearance to a blond look depending on how long the pine cones were submerged in the solution for.[5]

EditDrying the Pine Cones

  1. Remove the pine cones after 48 hours. Put back on all the protective gear–the old clothes, gloves, and glasses– and gently take the pine cones out.

    • Remember that the pine cones will be covered in a bleach solution. Wearing old dirty clothes, gloves, and protective glasses is advisable to protect your clothing, skin, and eyes.

  2. Place the pine cones on a surface to dry. A tarp, baking sheet, paper towel, or old towel that you won’t mind getting bleach on all will work. The pine cones may take up to a week to dry.
  3. Take them off the drying surface when they are dry and open again. The pine cones should be as dry and open as they were before you poured the solution on them.
  4. Bake the pine cones if you don't want to wait a week. After you take them out of the bleach solution, let them dry for 24 hours and then bake them at 250 degrees until they open.[6]

    • Alternatively, if it is hot out, you can leave them in direct sunlight to speed up the drying process.


  • Wear old clothes to prevent the bleach ruining your good ones.
  • Work in a well ventilated area or outside. The smell of the bleach can be strong.

EditThings You'll Need

  • Pinecones
  • Bleach
  • Large bucket (a five gallon utility bucket works best)
  • Water
  • Rubber gloves
  • Large stones or bricks

EditSources and Citations

Cite error: tags exist, but no tag was found