There are so many things you can do with pine cones, from fun arrangements, crafts for kids, ornaments to a pine cone Christmas tree. You can find pine cones outside almost all year around, but they are most common in late fall. You can also decide to go to a craft store (Micheals or Hobby Lobby) and buy a bag for around $5.
If you decide to go on a hunt for your pine cones, look around parks or other areas where there trees are well watered. Pick pine cones of different sizes to keep your options open when you get home. When getting home there are two ways to help with the stickiness of the sap and help remove the bugs:
1. Bake your pine cones at 200 degrees until the sap has melted and all the pine cones have opened up, this usually takes about a half an hour. Baking pine cones adds a shinny look by melting the sap and it also opens up the pine cones that were not open. Cover your cookie sheet with a layer of tinfoil before baking.
2. You can also soak them in warm water and some dish soap or bleach water for about a half an hour, and then rinse them off. This will help remove most of the sap.
If you like to paint your pine cones it is best to do so before you start your project. If you want to paint the entire pine cone, spray paint works the best. Just be careful not to spray too much at one time, to avoid a lumpy look. Gold and metallic colors are very popular. It also looks nice when you sponge on your paint, only getting the tips of the pine cone, this will give the look of snow when white paint is used. Using polyurethane is another good idea when you are creating a craft that you would like to last or if you would like to give your pine cones an added gloss.