How to Bleach Pinecones

Pinecones are a great way to bring nature into your home. Learn how to bleach pinecones and give them a sun-kissed lift!

When our daughters were growing up, we routinely took a summer vacation in Colorado.

Oh, the mountains!

Crisp air…

…gorgeous mountain peaks…

…giant evergreen trees…

…and pinecones! Lots of pinecones!

What’s the Big Deal about Pinecones?

Fun fact: Pinecones have a very important job! They keep pine seeds safe from freezing temps by closing their “scales” in winter. Even animals can’t get to these precious seeds!

Design fact: Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring…pinecones are a textured and fragrant product of nature that is uniquely beautiful in home decorating!

And best of all, with a little location luck, they are free!


We happen to have one evergreen tree on our property. Just one…

But it is a very prolific tree and drops beautiful pine cones year round!

Every month or so, I step outside my front door and do a little pine cone foraging.

I pretend I am in Colorado!

I come inside with bags of them!

A bag of pinecones.

They are so pretty just as they are!

Great for display in the home or used in creative crafting.

A top view of a bag of pinecones.

But, sometimes it is fun to shake them up a little and change their color.

Kind of like when I get my hair highlighted…only it lasts longer!

Since summer is the time of sunshine, beaches, and light, bright decorating, how about bleaching them!

Supplies Needed

Bleaching pinecones is super simple and requires supplies that are possibly already in your home. Here is what you need:

  • Pinecones
  • Large Bucket
  • Bowl (Slightly smaller in diameter than the larger bucket)
  • Bleach
  • Water
  • 1-2 Bricks or Large Stones
  • Rubber Gloves
The supplies needed when you know how to bleach pinecones.

How to Bleach Pinecones

Place the pinecones in the large bucket.

The pinecones in a large red bucket.

In a well-ventilated area and wearing rubber gloves, add 1 part water to 1 part bleach. (I initially tried a weaker bleach solution and hardly noticed any color change in the pinecones.)

Pouring bleach into the water and pinecones when you learn how to bleach pincones.

Now, it is important to keep the pinecones submerged in the bleach solution.

Place the smaller bowl on top of the pinecones and then put the brick in the bowl.

And walk away…

…for at least 24 hours!

After waiting a day, put those rubber gloves back on and start to remove the cones from the bleach solution.

Lay them out on paper or fabric to let the fumes dissipate and for the drying to commence.

The pinecones will have closed up and will still look dark. (I thought I made a mistake, but this is prime pinecone self-protection!)

No worries!

As they dry, they will open up and you will start to see the bleached effect.

Pinecones drying on a piece of fabric.

Can’t Wait?

If you can’t wait several days for them to day, you can put them in an oven on the lowest setting for a couple of hours.

Or, if you are like me and are doing this project on a 100-degree day (and don’t want to turn on the oven)…set them in front of a fan for a few hours.

One minute a pinecone will be closed and the next…it has opened up!

So pretty!

Bleached pinecone are lovely because you can still see elements of the dark within the cone.


A pinecone that has opened up after drying. "How to Bleach Pinecones"

Pretty in a light-colored dough bowl on the front porch!

Bleached pinecones in a dough bowl on a white porch railing.

Here is another Summertime Dough Bowl Idea you might like!

I know we don’t think of pinecones on a beach but these are giving me a “beachy-mountain” vibe.

Which, in land-locked Nebraska, is pretty cool!

Close-up of bleached pinecones. "How to bleach pinecones."

The blonde pinecones take on a different look altogether when piled into a bold, blue bowl.

Makes me want to get my hair highlighted!

Bleached pinecones in a blue glass bowl. "How to bleach pinecones."

So, start gathering those pinecones and have fun bleaching!


If you are looking for another summertime project, you might like this!

A Citrus Decoupage Bottle

Or maybe Winter Pinecone Decorating is more your thing!

Some of My Summertime Favorite Things


  1. Hey Missy! I have several pine cone projects on my calendar this summer! I have been using vinegar to kill the bugs and prep for indoor use. I love the idea of bleaching some of them to lighten the color! If I decide to bleach some of mine, I will link to this post! Pinning it now! Thanks for the inspiration! Happy Day, Donna

    1. Hi Donna! Aren’t pinecones fun to decorate with? Bleaching them was so easy! Thanks for reading and pinning!

  2. Hi Missy, these are just gorgeous! I’ve never tried it, but I love the look and need to give this a try! Never too soon to start getting ideas for Christmas.

    1. I think I might paint the tips of the bleached cones for Christmas! Thanks so much for reading!

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