How to Dry Acorns for Fall Crafts

I have always loved acorns in fall decorating. They look great scattered around centerpieces, nestled amongst candles and used as a vase filler.

But I’m not a big of how much they cost in stores. The cheapest I found around here was about $3.50 for about 20 pieces, and the ones at Pottery Barn are about twice as much. Ouch!

So I decided to make my own using the acorns that I picked up at our friends’ cottage on Labour Day weekend.

For the cost of a spray can of a sealant and a few glue sticks, I was able to make almost 300 pieces for less than $7. Over $45 dollars cheaper than the store bought ones for the same amount of acorns.

But before you just go and pick up some acorns from the ground and pop them in a vase, there are a few things that you need to do to make sure that you have bug-free acorns that will last a long time.

First you need to clean the acorns to remove any dirt. I used a little bowl of water and some old rags to scrub the dirt off the acorns. To do all 300 took awhile, so I did it one evening while watching a movie.

While you’re cleaning them, sort through your acorns and throw out any that have bug holes in them or show signs of rot. Little bugs called weevils can still be inside the acorn, so we will still need to heat them up in the oven to kill anything inside.

Most of the caps fell off my acorns, so I lined them up together on a large tinfoil wrapped baking sheet, which had a bit of a lip to it and prevented the acorns from rolling off. Bake in the oven for 2-3 hours at 200°F. Check them every hour or so and give them a little shake to prevent burning on the pan.

Let the acorns completely cool before you touch them. I just left them on the baking pan overnight.

Since many of my caps fell off, I used hot glue to put them back onto the acorns.

Any that hadn’t fallen off, I still popped the tops off and glued them back on, to ensure that they didn’t fall apart over time.

To help them last even longer, I used a spray can of clear acrylic to preserve and protect them.

Spray the acorns until evenly coated on one side, then let dry for an hour. Flip the acorns over again and spray on the other side. Turn the can to try and spray on an angle to get the sides as well.

I went with satin finish for a little bit of a glossy sheen, which dulled a little once they dried.

After they have dried you can use them for whatever fall crafts that you’d like, but my personal favourite is vase filler.

I picked lots of extra caps and bottoms, hoping that they would match up, but many didn’t. I still cleaned these up and kept them for other fall crafts.

The bottoms can be painted orange and used to make tiny Acorn Pumpkins.


While the tops can be gathered for an Acorn Wreath.

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  1. says

    Sure do wished I would have done this when I wanted to use acorns for my wedding! Stupid weevils! Great info and great post! Thanks for sharing it at Show & Share, featuring it tomorrow!

  2. says

    So helpful, Amanda! Definitely going to go acorn hunting in the yard and give this a try. I’m including a link back in my ‘natural fall elements’ DIY Fall Festival round up tomorrow. Thank you so much for sharing your tips!

  3. Nancy says

    Hi, I love the idea and my kids and their friends have already started collecting acorns for some fall crafts.

    My ? is regarding the satin finish on the acorns. Will the candle cause the acorns to go on fire?



    • says

      Hi Nancy! I don’t actually light the candles in the vases, so I haven’t been worried about that before. I would recommend checking the can of the product that you use to see if it is flammable. If it is, you can place a smaller hurricane inside a large one and fill the space in between with the acorns. That way they are not in direct contact with the flame.

      • Elaine says

        Enjoying your ideas! I frequently use the battery candles to prevent the worry of fire, especially if you tend to leave the house with real ones burning.

        • says

          Great tip Elaine! We used a bunch of them in our wedding decor and now I have plenty on hand. They’re great to keep in our rooms too in case the power goes out. They look like normal decor, but are great in a pinch!

  4. AJ SF says

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this detailed, step-by-step and extremely helpful post. I have every confidence that I will successfully preserve the acorns that I picked earlier today!

  5. Deb Garber says

    I am sooo glad I ran across you and your wonderful helpful tips. You are just what I needed. Keep posting please. Thank you

  6. says

    I’ve got friends and family looking all over for acorns! This is exactly the tutorial I needed to make my acorns last longer (and get rid of all those nasty weevils!). I love that you hit them with a spray of poly to make them shiny!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Maren says

    How long will this preserve the acorns for? Do you think I will be able to use the same acorns for next year? The year after? If so, how do you store them?
    Love the tutorial!
    Thank you!

    • says

      I did mine last year and when I pulled them out of storage, they looked just as good as the day I did them. They should be able to last at least a few years if you store them well. I made sure mine were totally dry before I stored them in a large plastic freezer bag in my big box of Halloween and Fall Decor. Hope that helps!

  8. lauren weaver says

    Ty for posting this! I was trying to find fun crafts to do for gifts for Christmas and this is awesome! Found some acorns in the park this morning! :)

  9. Jennifer says

    My daughter and I just picked a couple of ziplock bags full today. So happy I saw this. I had no idea about putting in water then drying them out! Can’t wait to get started on our new creations. Thank you!!!

  10. Amanda says

    I so wish I would have known about weevls last year when we painted acorns. They were so pretty… but I just took the bag out today and they are full of yuck! Time to start over this year… Thank you for the great tips on baking the acorns! :-)

  11. Brenda Ray says

    I LOVE (I mean truly love) your site!  Photos are great.  I have a question.  I'm blessed (or cursed) with a yard full of acorns and squirrels so here's a chance to make lemons out of lemonade!  I picked up acorns yesterday and some are brown but another tree has really large acorns but they are mostly yellow/green.  Do I pick them up now or wait until they are "seasoned" to collect and put in the oven?  I plan to make a wreath.  Got a wreath form at a yard sale yesterday for 50 cents so am inspired.  Thanks.

  12. Diana says

    Thanks for the great ideas. My acorns have a white fuzz that I have been cleaning off with a wire brush and fine steel wool to reveal the nice brown color. This is labor intensive and process is going slow. Is there a fast way to clean off the fuzz?

  13. Sherika says

    I am SO thankful I found this article! I’ve been collecting the acorns near my job. They are a larger version of the ones you have. This will really help because I wondered how I would preserve them. Thinking about using them on a Christmas wreath.

  14. Betty Anne says

    My huge oak tree produces the most beautiful Large green acorns in abundance. Last year I took a mini bag of them to some friends and gave them as a fall hostess gift for homes where I was invited. Every one loved them and immediately spread them out around their fall decorations. Love them!!!!!

    • says

      I did mine three years ago and when I pulled them out of storage this week they still looked at good at the day I did them. I store mine in a large sealable plastic bag with our fall decor.

  15. megan says

    I was just wondering how long do the acorns actually last for? I’m not getting married until the end of October next year… I was thinking of picking acorns and save them until next year… I just hope that by this time next there would be acorns on the ground to make my centerpieces for my wedding… If anyone can help me that would be great… thanks…

    • says

      I made mine three years ago and they are still looking good. You could preserve them this year, carefully pack them away and pull them out in time for your wedding next year. I would recommend spraying them with the clear spray (either shiny or matte) after you polish them. The ones that I did that to have held up the best.

  16. Jeanne Delaney says

    I was so happy when I found out how to preserve acorns. I cleaned them and baked them and then I sprayed them with Liquid Gold ( a furniture preservative and polish). I just love how they look they seemed to just soak in the polish and make them shine. I did try spray painting them orange to make little pumpkins but they stuck to the cardboard I used to spray them on. Do you have any suggestions so they don’t stick? From Jeanne Delaney

    • says

      Liquid Gold is a great idea! If I was painting them orange, I would probably try painting them by hand with orange craft paint, doing one side then letting it dry and doing the other side. Good luck!

  17. Cindy says

    Hi once you have follow all the step of drying acorns and sealing them with clear coat can you store them for next year or years to follow?

  18. Sherry says

    I cooked some at 175 for 1.5 hours with the oven door open. Later, they were moldy. Did you leave your oven door closed? I’ll try cooking at your temp and time, and hope I can get some craftable acorns this time!

    • says

      Hi Sherry. I’d bake them in the oven with the door CLOSED at 200°F for 2-3 hours. I also take the time to clean them before I bake them, just like I describe in the blog post. Adding the protective spray after they’re dry helps too. Go grab some more and try it again!! I still have ones I dried 5 years ago that look great. Good luck!

      • sherry says

        How sweet of you to reply. I did wash beforehand. I’ll cook ’em some more after washing the fuzz off. I don’t have my own acorns, so am at the mercy of friends to give me some. Thank you and best wishes!!

  19. Jen Koen says

    Hi There,

    I just collected an entire garbage bag of acorns from my cottage north of Kingston, Ontario and I’ve already spent hours cleaning them!! There is sooooo many!!!! :) I’m going to use them in our wedding centerpieces at the cottage next year! Pine cones too once they fall.

    A few worms have already crawled out while I’ve been cleaning them, they’re pretty gross!! So I’ll have to dry them in batches as I get them washed I think to get rid of those little guys.

    Anyhow, my question is… I need these babies to last until next August, how would you suggest storing them until then?? I’m going to clear coat them after drying them, but should I keep them in a paper bag so they can breath? or like a mesh basket of (barrel in my case!) of some sort?

    Any ideas would be appreciated :) Thank you!


    • says

      Congrats on the upcoming wedding! We were just in Kingston this past weekend for Homecoming. As soon as I heard the bagpipes playing, I felt all nostalgic for my days at Queens :)

      If you dry the acorns as I discuss in the post and spray them with the clear coat, they will last for YEARS. I still have ones I made 5 years ago and they look perfect. Baking them will take care of any creepy crawlies inside. Good luck :)


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