First, gather up some dried pine cones and give them some cleaning. Nothing major… just get any dirt or dust off them. You’d never get everything there is on these things off, and you don’t have to.
Get yourself a bucket, some bleach, and water.
We’re doing three here, because ours are pretty substantial in size, and you want to be sure that your pine cones will be completely submerged in the bleach and water solution.
Fill your bucket with 50 percent chlorine bleach, and 50 percent water. Put the pine cones in. They’ll be floating to the top, so you’ll need a ceramic plate turned upside down, or something else to keep them submerged.
Let the pinecones sit in the bleach/water solution for a minimum of 10 hours. More than that is okay, but unnecessary.
Wearing rubber or latex gloves, remove the pine cones. They’ll be all closed. up, and some parts of the cone (mostly the hardest ends) will still look dark brown in this state. You can see here that the smallest of the cones really bleached out almost entirely.
It can take a few days for the pine cones to finally dry, but as they do, you’ll notice the ‘petals’ of the cone slowly opening up, from the bottom up. When they’re dry, they’ve returned to almost the same shape entirely. Check out the results!
At left, the pine cones before we started. Beautiful still, but dark.
After, the pine cones after bleaching. Beautiful and light!