Make Your Own Color-Changing Fireplace Pinecones

While browsing the Plow & Hearth website the other day, I came across these Color-Changing Fireplace Pinecones. When you toss

Available at PlowHearth.com

While browsing the Plow & Hearth website the other day, I came across these Color-Changing Fireplace Pinecones. When you toss one of these into your open fire, the flames will change color (the website says blues and greens) for a few minutes while the pinecone burns. While I thought it was a pretty cool idea, I was a little surprised by the price – nearly $40. I wondered if it was possible to make your own. A little web searching turned up a whole bunch of DIY versions of this project, which would make great holiday gifts for those on your list with fireplaces.

Prep Your Pinecones: (If you use pinecones you purchase at a craft store, you can skip this step.) If you’ve gathered pinecones from the great outdoors, you’ll need to bake them in a 200 degree oven for one hour to remove bugs and open up closed cones. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil first, as sap will drain from the cones. Allow them to cool.

Materials:

  • Large bucket
  • Tongs or slotted spoon
  • Flame colorant – choose one of the following, depending on the color flame you prefer (though most are common household chemicals, remember to keep out of the reach of children and pets):
    • Yellow – Table Salt
    • Yellow-Green – Borax
    • White – Epsom Salts
    • Green – Boric Acid
    • Red – Strontium Chloride (found with aquarium supplies in pet stores)
The Process:
  • Pour 1/2 gallon of hot water into the bucket.
  • Add 1 cup of the colorant of your choice, and stir until dissolved.
  • Add pinecones to the mix. Be sure to add only as many as can be completely covered by the solution. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Remove the pinecones and set on newspapers to dry completely – at least 3 days.

Now your pinecones are ready to burn! Simply add them (one at a time) to your fireplace and watch the colors appear.

Tips and Precautions:
  • You can make several batches of different colors, but don’t mix the colors in a single batch. Burn only one color of pinecone at a time.
  • Do not use colored pinecones on cooking fires or BBQ grills.
  • Always use common sense and caution with open flames.

Have you ever made your own color-changing pine cones? What tips would you offer to others who attempt this project? Tell us in the comments below!

Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.