In the run-up to Christmas I started to see lots of lovely bleached pine cones on Pinterest. I loved how they looked and thought to myself "how hard can this be?" and thought I could probably give this a go myself. The only thing was, I was short of pine cones...
Luckily though I spotted a source of pine cones one weekend at my in-laws as they have a Christmas tree of old planted in their garden, which is now, well it's much larger than a Christmas tree. I asked my FIL if he could save me some pine cones as they dropped and to my amazement - and to the amazement of my MIL and MOH too - he told me he had a bag that I could have which he'd collected a while back. So off he went and came back with a carrier bag of pine cones.
Result. This year was going to be the year I'd bleach some pine cones.
Rather than just plonk the pine cones into bleach I decided to do some more research and found this How to make gorgeous bleached pine cones post on Garden Therapy, and it looked just the thing. It gave more detail to my planned method and reminded me to take it all outside.
So sensibly attired in clothes-I-could-cope-with-if-they-got-splashed-with-bleach (they didn't) I set out to bleach some pine cones of my own.
I mixed some bleach and water and chucked in my pine cones and gave them a stir with a stick that had blown down in the recent winds. I wasn't expecting it to foam like that, but then again I'm not a bleach aficionado as anything to do with bleach is usually on MOH's list of jobs. And I only braved it for this as I thought there was zero-to-no chance of him seeing the point of bleaching pine cones, let alone be part of it.
So pine cones in a mixture of bleach and water, and stirred with the stick. And it was true, my pine cones floated to the top. I remembered reading that weighing them down with some bricks would help keep and increase their chances of lightening. So off I went to find some bricks.
Now all there was to do was wait. Hmmn.
In the end I managed to leave them overnight. I popped out the next morning in the rain to check on them, and couldn't tell if it had worked at all. I wasn't convinced, but rinsed them anyway. It did make me smile when I thought of how excited I was to find out, and how daft I must look smiling to myself...
I'd forgotten how pine cones close up when they're wet. I hoped that as they dried their new whiteness would be revealed.
And it did. For most of them.
I'd also forgotten - if I knew at all - how long pine cones take to dry and open, but as they started to dry, some were looking distinctly whiter.
They were also taking much longer to dry than I'd anticipated. When I started out I had no idea what I was going to use them for but soon thought I might add them onto this year's Christmas wreath as decoration. However it soon became clear this idea was pure folly as they were still not open. As we left for our Christmas break I moved them off the newspapers and onto a shelf above the radiator, hoping that it would give them a helping hand.
It certainly did, they are now dried and open.
They are all lighter in colour than when I started.
And I guess that like anything some pine cones take more to bleach than others. I quite like the mix of shades though. Now I just need to work out what to do with them, or at least find somewhere to store them where they are safe from MOH, who's most likely to want to throw them out. My other challenge - well that's remembering where I put them in time for next Christmas!
My top tip if you plan to try this: Don't leave it until 18 December before you start!