Nothing says winter woodland like an arrangement of pinecones, but you don’t have to be a craft-master to make your home feel more woodsy. Just try one of these insanely easy ways to make your whole house fit for a squirrel. Read on for ideas.

girl with pinecone photo: amanda timpton via flickr

Pinecone 101: If you are gathering pinecones from the great outdoors (as opposed to a craft store) you’ll want to bake them before use. This helps to dry them out, reduce the sticky pitch drip, kill off unwanted wrigglers and gets them to “relax” so that they open out to a nice pineconey shape. Bake on a covered cookie sheet at 250° for about on hour for about 30 minutes (or longer if they are very wet).

cropped-10-woodland-inspired-engagement-shoot-tyler_rye_photographyphoto: Tyler Rye Photography courtesy Mountain Side Bride 

Once you’ve prepped your little pretties, here’s a few simple ways you can trick out your home with minimal effort.

1. Pile the cones in a large large apothecary or candy jars. They needn’t all face the same direction.

pinecone decor holiday christmas stockings

photo: Jen Kim via flickr

2. Find a decorative wooden or glass bowl and fill it up with pinecones as you would fresh fruit. Place it in the center of the table with a few boughs of green and you’ve decked your table out, woodland style.

3. Ditto that for a basket. If it has a handle you can put a festive ribbon on it, and place it near the entry way. You can also mix in pinecones and ornaments for a uber-simple but totally holly-jolly decoration.

place card pineconesphoto: Miia Sample via flickr

4. Take some clothespins and glue them (hot glue works best) to one side of the pinecone, and use the pinching side to hold holiday cards. If you don’t have glue you can try wedging the clothespin in, which works pretty well if you’re not moving the cones too much. (Flocking optional).

outdoor winter decor
photo: Susy Morris via flickr

5. Convert your summer and fall pots into instant cold-resistant decor by leaving the pots in place, cutting back or pulling out the annuals and piling in the winter greens and pinecones. You don’t even need to remove the dirt, because it gives the pinecones the boost they need to be seen.

6. To get some winter-white textures, you can try bleaching your pinecones. This one requires a spot where the littles will be nowhere near it, and a big bucket or tub for bleach. Just check them periodically, usually after a day. Keep in mind they will have a bleachy-smell, so you may need to rinse them and bake them again to reduce it.

Have you got any pinecone go-to ideas for your holiday decor? Tell us about them in the comments below!

—Amber Guetebier