Because there are so many things that you can do with acorns, you may find yourself hunting outside for them. This is all fine and good if your prepare them properly before using in crafts. Not only do they need to be cleaned, but they also need to be free of bugs like weevils. You definitely don’t want your acorn display ruined by a host of larvae! However, there is no need to worry at all if you know how to dry and preserve your acorns. I’m going to show you how to dry acorns for crafts in just a few easy steps.
Steps For Drying And Preserving Acorns
Collect Acorns Early
Once you see acorns start to fall from the tree, get out and find them before the squirrels do. The sooner you start collecting the more likely that the acorns will be in good shape and free of bugs. Depending on the type of oak tree, some acorns will last a bit longer on the ground. For everything you want to know about the acorn, check out Dave’s Garden.
A lot of times, when the acorns fall from the oak tree, the tops come off of the nut. This is not a problem since the cap can easily be glued back onto the nut after drying. Just make sure to collect enough caps to go with all of your nuts. Finding a variety of cap sizes will ensure that you are able to find one to fit probably on the acorn nut.
Wash And Rinse The Acorns
To remove all of the surface debri, it’s important to wash and rinse the acorns. A mild dishwashing detergent works great for this.
There might not be a lot of dirt on the acorns but it’s good to start as clean as possible before the drying process.
Air Dry Acorns And Inspect
Once the acorns are washed and rinsed. set them out on a towel to air dry. At this time, you can sort through your stash and get rid of any questionable looking acorns that you don’t want to use for craft projects. I let the acorns air dry until the towel is soaked. I then remove them from the towel and line them on a cookie sheet.
Get rid of the acorns that have slits or holes. These are the most like to have or have had bugs in them.
Bake Acorns In The Oven To Dry
If you have an old cookie sheet that you can dedicate to baking non-food items, I would use that. However, if you don’t have any old ones, just make sure to line your cookie sheet with foil before baking acorns. They will most likely leak a little sap in the baking process.
Heat oven to 200 degrees and bake for about two hours. Check them periodically and give a little stir to evenly dry. Some acorns might burn a little bit but these will still work great in painted acorn projects.
Preserve Acorns With Sealer
You can use either paint, polyurethane or Mod Podge to seal the dried acorns. If you are finishing the acorn caps different then the nut, just finish them separately and then glue together. Use a good tacky glue or hot glue for securing the caps.
Ideas For Finishing:
- Use paint to either paint the entire acorn, just the nut, or just the cap.
2. Use Mod Podge to either just seal the acorn or to apply paper or fabric to the acorn.
To decoupage newspaper to an acorn, first tear the paper into small pieces. Apply the paper to the acorn by brushing Mod Podge to the acorn and then over the paper. It works best to do half of the acorn at a time. Let the first half dry and then do the second. This gives you a little room to hold a dry section of the acorn while working.
3. Simply spray the entire acorn with matte or gloss polyurethane and use the natural looking acorns in projects or as a vase filler.