November 18, 2014

How to: Preserve Acorns & Pine Cones for Decorating

I've seen a number of projects online that utilize pine cones and acorns for the holidays and there are a couple I'd like to try; things that I am certain will inspire future posts. In addition to this, I'm currently working to acquire some birch branches to use on a few crafty things without purchasing them because, as we've all come to recognize, I am in a word: cheap.

Although to be fair, I don't think not wanting to pay for stuff that can be found in nature should be considered stingy. The thing is, I saw a half stack of maybe six birch logs outside a store the other day and they were selling them for $14. What? They're glorified sticks! No, no I will not be buying those.

Anyway, while I await my birch, I decided to kick off the up-and-coming projects by gathering and drying some items which luckily, I was able to procure from my yard for free. I took a handful of pine cones from under the awful tree that we share with our neighbor and a few cups full of acorns and their caps from under our oak tree, which teeters precariously over our roof and chimney (and will be coming down in the next 6 months to a year). If you can't acquire these items in your own yard, come see me. I've got a whole bunch. And you can have them. FOR FREE. 

Doesn't that statement make you tingle inside?

What You Need

•  Acorns
•  Pine cones
•  Cookie sheet or two
•  Bowl of water

What You Do

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F.

2. Cover cookie sheet in tin foil (or aluminum foil for those who are not old school like me) and stand pine cones up on it.

3. Soak the acorns in a bit of warm water for a few minutes to loosen up dirt particles and little bugs (NOTE: DO NOT RINSE THE PINE CONES - ACORNS ONLY). *Pine cones will close up when wet (and deteriorate a little), and in most decor cases, you want them to be open anyway. 

4. Rinse and lay out your acorns in a single layer on a foil covered cookie sheet.

5. Bake! We do this to mercilessly kill all the living things that have made their little insect homes (with their little insect kids and little insect pets) in (what they previously considered the safety of) the nuts and cones. Poor little murdered bugs. They didn't know I was a shameless DIY-er. Pine cones should be baked for 20-30 minutes. Acorns should be baked for 45-60 minutes. PETA is going to have a fit about this.

6. Remove from oven and let cool.

7. Store for future projects or just craft away!

I haven't made anything with mine yet, but I think I will be painting some of them, glittering-up some others and making a big crafty mess. I can't wait!


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