An Easy Way to Bleach Pinecones

I love using different textures and natural elements in my home decor, and several years ago I had this idea to try bleaching pinecones. Even though they are neutral already, I thought it would be fun to experiment and see if I could get them a lighter color, so I wanted to share an easy way to bleach pinecones.

These are beautiful in you fall decor, but also a perfect way to bring some texture to you winter decor!

supplies for bleaching pinecones

pinecone bleaching supplies

To bleach pinecones, you will need to gather your pinecones. You will also need a gallon of bleach and a large plastic container.

How to bleach the pinecones – step one


You will mix 3 parts bleach to 1 part water in your container. You need enough of the liquid mixture to cover your pinecones.

step two

bleach mixture for pinecones

To make sure the pinecones stay submerged, you will need to weigh them down. I just filled my empty bleach container with water and laid it on top of the pinecones.

step three

bleached pinecones

I left my pinecones submerged for a couple of days, then drained the bleach water off. You may not have to leave them this long, but I wanted to make sure they had soaked in the bleach really well.

Sitting the container in the sun, helps too.

step four

After I drained them, I laid them out in the sun until they were completely dry (forgot to get a pic of that step).

Don’t be fooled by the color when you drain the bleach/water mixture off. Because they are still wet, they will still look like their original color. The color will fade as they dry out.

There have been a couple of times they didn’t bleach out as much as I liked, so I repeated the process.

finished bleach pinecones

bleached pinecones

When your pinecones are fully bleached, this is what they will look like.

bleached pinecones

Beautiful natural elements to add to your fall, holiday and winter decor!

ways to decorate with bleached pinecones

white footed bowl filled with small bleached pinecones

They look amazing just stacked in a bowl or container, or ….

fall tablesetting with bleached pinecones

use them on a place setting for a beautiful fall table!!

fall tablescape with bleached pinecones

They would be beautiful for any fall or Christmas decor.

I can see them piled into a dough bowl for an amazing centerpiece or even wired into a wreath or garland and draped over a fireplace mantel or front door.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing “an easy way to bleach pinecones” tutorial. Please share if you try this. I love hearing from you!

blessings and happy decorating,

If you like the reclaimed candleholder featured in this post, you can find the the tutorial on how to make it by clicking the link below.

You might also enjoy this beautiful fall tablescape idea where I incorporated bleached pinecones in the tablescape centerpiece.

fall place setting with white dinner plate, brown transferware plate, and a large dried wreath on top of the plate.  A plaid napkin tied in a knot is to the left of the plate.

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  1. Debra Matcovich says:

    Good morning?
    I’ve been wanting to do this for years but I procrastinated about it. It’s going to be a beautiful weekend in the Northeast so I’m going to take the plunge and do it.
    Thank you

    1. Oh good!! I hope they turned out amazing and I’m so glad this was a helpful post for you!

  2. Beautiful and such a fantastic idea. Simple enough I can do it! We have plenty of pinecones around! LOVE this. Pinned 🙂

  3. Judy Varnell says:

    Great idea! Will do this for Christmas decor . Thanks for this craft idea .

    1. Of course! So glad you found it useful. They will be beautiful Christmas decor!

    1. Thank you! I hope you get to try them. It’s a fairly simple project and they look so good!!

  4. Michele I can’t wait to try this! Thank you for the inspiration! They are beautiful!

    1. Oh, good! It is a pretty simple project and I love how they turned out.

      I hope you try them!!

  5. Michele, that picture with the soup tureen (I think) filled with pinecones, that wood of the table apron looks very much like the joint compound technique we were talking about. Is that it? Have you tried it yet on your countertop?

    1. That piece of furniture is not the one I tried joint compound on. I did use it on the top of my island though, and it worked great. Working on a blog post to show the before, after and the process.

      Very good eye to notice that!!

  6. I love the look, but do they smell like bleach ? It’s nice to have something other than orange for the season.

    1. I have actually never smelled the bleach after they dry out. And yes, I love the color of them for fall.

      Thanks so much for commenting and following along.

  7. I love this idea. I live in New Mexico, and my yard is full of pinecones! I’m going to try this. They are beautiful!!

    1. Thank you! So glad you enjoyed it, and that’s awesome that you already have the pinecones.

  8. I would love to try this…do I need to rinse them after the soaking in bleach?

    1. No, just let them dry out after your pour the bleach off. They will bleach out after they dry.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Diane!!

      Merry Christmas!!

    1. Oh, so glad you liked it!! Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing!

      Happy New Year!

  9. These are so cute. I’ve been wanting to do this since I previously saw your tutorial!

    1. Thanks Rachel! They are super easy and such a fun addition to fall and holiday decor.

    1. Thanks Renae! They are so easy and fun to make!

  10. Love this Michele! I have a yard full of pine cones that I could try this on! Thanks for sharing. I will be sharing this post in my weekly post called All Things Vintage! Pinned 🙂

  11. I’ve never tried this…and I have a zillion pine ones in my back yard!! They are so pretty!!

    1. Oh, you should give it a try! Super easy and fun to watch the color transformation!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing my bleached pinecones DIY! It is super easy and so fun to watch the transformation!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing my bleached pinecone DIY! Hope you enjoy trying them!

  12. Debra Matcovich says:

    Hi, I finally bleached my pine cones. They must be tough New York pine cones because I did them twice and only a couple got lighter. I’m going to the farm to buy more pine cones that are more opened like yours. I love they way yours look so I’m determined.

    1. Oh, I’m so sorry you’re having trouble with them! Let me know how the next ones turn out. Good Luck!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing my bleached pinecone DIY!

  13. After bleaching and drying them, do they smell strongly like bleach? Should one rinse them after drying?

    1. Actually, they don’t smell at all. Not sure why, but I have never smelled bleach on them after they dry. But you could always rinse them if you prefer.

  14. I did this many years ago. I am definitely going to do it again. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. I just love the transformation it makes on them! Have a lovely week.

  15. love this idea…but wanted to ask where you poured off the bleach water…if i poured into yard will it bleach the yard and bark dust??? did u pour down toilet/?? thanks so much for the great idea..

    1. I actually poured it out in a vacant lot area that is part of my backyard. There isn’t much grass there, so I’m not sure, but I don’t think I would pour it in my yard. Pouring it down the toilet is actually a good idea.

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