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How We Bleached Pine Cones for our Holiday Pop-Up

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One of the most enjoyable things we did to prepare the #f52market for its grand opening was to add homey finishing touches throughout:

I want all this to be mine. 🍾🎄 #f52market

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A photo posted by Annie M (@alloannie) on

On the pine cone front, there were large ones that our art director brought all the way from Florida, minis from fall decorations in the office, and a handful that we bleached white!

As evidenced by how frequently they're cropping up in your pictures of our holiday market (see here), you love them:

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At #f52market

A photo posted by Kristin Johnson (@kristinjohnsondesign) on

Loved stumbling on the @food52 pop up market. #f52market #nycinspiration @figindustries

A photo posted by Fig Industries (@figindustries) on

Lots of tempting household items at the @food52 Holiday Market. I might have gotten myself a few presents...

A photo posted by Charissa Fay (@charissa_fay) on

I just want to live where I can eat dinner at beautifully set table #f52grams #f52market #f52life #dearfood52

A photo posted by the gowanus ambassador (@thegowanusambassador) on

[13 Dec 2015] holiday tablescape of my dreams. 🎁🍽 #f52market

A photo posted by Est Meehyun (@meehattan) on

Here's how to make your own:

Cover pine cones in straight, undiluted bleach. They'll float to the top, so you'll want to set something in the bucket that weighs them down. (I used square plastic bins—pictured below—that fit inside one another, pressing one on top of the pine cones in bleach to submerge them.) After a few hours, the pine cones will close up their branches like startled porcupines; don't feel too bad, just leave them this way for 24 hours.

Closed-up pine cones, post-bleach bath.
Closed-up pine cones, post-bleach bath.

After a full day in bleach, remove the closed-up pine cones and set them out on paper towel-lined baking sheets in a sunny spot like a windowsill. They'll still look brown but they're bleached on the inside! It might take as long as two days for them to open back up, but eventually they will, revealing all white branches and their formerly perky disposition.

If you want to speed up the drying out process, you can supposedly place them on a baking sheet and put in the oven at 275º F for an hour or so, until they open up—but I didn't test this method, preferring to see them "bloom" over the course of a few days.

Half-white pine cones (I used 50-50 bleach and water for these).
Half-white pine cones (I used 50-50 bleach and water for these).

Yes, it'll take a just a little bit, but bleaching pine cones is a largely hands-off process that gets them all ready for acting like wintry decor.

What are your favorite wintry crafts? Share your favorite decor projects in the comments.


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Tags: DIY, decorating, bleach, pine cones, winter decor