For many years I have used pine cones from my yard to decorate. Most of the time when I go out to find cones to use, they are damp or cold and closed. I know the pine cones will open if given sufficient time in the warm and dry yard.
However, I want pine cones now, not in months. So, I just force them open.
Turn the oven to its lowest setting and put the closed and damp pine cones in a metal pan, any kind. I have never timed how long it takes for a pine cone to open. Just keep peeking until They are fully open. Sometimes, ones that are partly open could benefit from a little time in the oven.
Don't leave these alone. I have never had a pine cone burst into flames, but who knows?
One year, I used fake wreaths, gold-sprayed pine cones, and berries from the yard. I added ribbon bought on sale the year before and had very nice wreaths for my door and for friend's door. I did give everyone a bunch of fake red berries for the next year with instructions to remove the real berries before storing the wreaths.
This is not a how-to for decorating the cones or with them. It is just a post about how to open all those closed pine cones in time to decorate.
When I was a child and teen, I liked my pine cones silver, but I dipped them into silver paint.
Do have pine cones in your yard for free decorations? Do your spray your pine cones, put glitter on them, or use them as is?