Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Something to Pine For

Now that the holidays are here, there are a ton of decor magazines and Pinterest pins full of fun crafts you can make using pine cones. Most of them tell you to purchase them from the store, but paying $5 or more for something I can pick up from my yard seems like a waste of money. Also, using my own pine cones makes any of the projects I create that much more personal.

I do know better than to just pick up any ol' pine cone and start a'craftin'. There are a couple of things you can do to avoid the bugs and sap that often come with bringing in these little hedgehog look a likes.


First, I went into my backyard and picked my pine cones. I tried to find ones that looked like they were in good shape and weren't covered in sap. A little sap is okay because it will take care of itself during the processing, but you don't want to have big gobs of it. I also avoided any that had a lot of pine needles stuck to them. All of mine had already fallen off of the tree, too. I gathered them all up in my plastic bag and brought them inside.

That white stuff is dried sap. That will disappear once you're finished.

After I had my crop gathered, I covered a cookie sheet in aluminum foil. This is going to make your life a lot easier when it comes to clean up. I wouldn't us a baking mat with this project, though, because it might ruin it. Stick with something that can be thrown away.

Then I emptied my bag of pine cones onto the cookie sheet and picked off the rest of the pine needles that may have still made it inside.

At this stage, you're going to see why you need to 'disinfect' these guys. You'll see little bugs emerge from them and walk around on the foil. The oven will take care of all the ones you see (and more importantly, the ones you don't). This helps prevent the spread of things like termites to your house. It's a reason to never use a 'raw' pine cone, branch, or other piece of the outdoors without making sure that it's been baked or sealed in some way.

While you are spreading your cones evenly on the baking sheet, preheat the oven for 200 degrees. When it's heated, place the pine cones into the oven. Let them stay at 200 for 5 minutes. Then increase the temperature to 350 and let them sit for 5 more minutes.

Unfortunately, this is when you will get your first whiff of the smell of baking pine cones. Christmas candles make you think that it's a warm fuzzy scent that reminds you of snuggling by the fire. This is a lie. It is in no way based on the truth.

The truth is it stinks. Not a skunky stink, but kind of a wood-burny-green-fire stink. I recommend having a door open and a fan on, just to reduce the amount of smoke and odor. I promise that it goes away once you've finished, though.

When your ten minutes are up, using an oven mitt, take your baking sheet out of the oven and let your pine cones cool. I wanted to make sure that they cooled off pretty quick so I could start to use them right away. They sat like this for about ten minutes.

You'll notice that the sap that was previously white has now melted and created a hard, shiny, polyurethane-type coating to the finished product. This is fine to touch and craft with. It can still be covered by paint with no issue. I just threw mine into a vase that I had hanging around and put it on the table. Instant centerpiece!

Total price? Free and from my own backyard! How cool is it to say, 'Oh, those? I didn't get those from Michaels, they are from our trees out back'. Pretty cool, hu? So grab some pine cones and start crafting!

1 comment:

  1. I still think you should glitterize some.