Scented pine cones are the perfect way to decorate for the holidays using nature’s bounty, and making them yourself could not be easier. In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to do it step by step.

How To Make DIY Scented Pine Cones
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Making your own DIY scented pine cones is simple and fun, and it’s a great way to get inexpensive decorations for the holidays.

Once you learn how to make your own, you’ll never need to buy the fake ones from the store again.

With just a few items and about 30 minutes or your time, you can create them using pine cones from your yard and adding your favorite scents.

Below I’ll walk you through everything you need to know, and give you step by step instructions for how to make them yourself.

How To Make Your Own DIY Scented Pine Cones

As much as I love all the wonderful aromas of the holiday season, I can’t stand the fake, chemically smell of the scented pine cones they sell at the store.

I want the fragrances in my home to invoke the feeling of Christmas and the holidays, but in a natural way.

Making your own is a quick and easy project, and you can use them for anything from ornaments to wreaths, or as part of a festive centerpiece for your table.

How Do You Add Fragrance To Pine Cones?

There are a few ways to add fragrance to pine cones, but my favorite is dabbing them with essential oils.

It’s easier than most people realize, and the best part about doing it yourself is that the fragrance is completely customizable.

Getting ready to make Christmas scented pine cones
Getting ready to make Christmas scented pine cones

Supplies Needed

My favorite thing about this project is being able to source most of it right from my backyard, so it’s very frugal. Here’s all the details about what you’ll need.

  • Pine cones – Gather a variety of shapes and sizes for visual interest. When foraging outside, look for ones that have good spacing between the “leaves”. This will ensure they dry adequately and no moisture is retained. If you can’t find them in your yard or neighborhood, you can buy them online or at your local craft store.
  • Essential oils – Look for high quality brands labeled “pure essential oils” rather than “fragrance oils”, as the latter usually contain artificial chemical enhancers. My favorite combination for the holidays is cinnamon, clove bud, and orange citrus. But you can also use other popular seasonal scents like peppermint, lemon, lavender, balsam, or cedarwood, or get a holiday set and try a few.
Supplies needed for making scented pine cones
Supplies needed for making scented pine cones

Tips For Making DIY Scented Pine Cones

Before you go out to collect your pine cones and start scenting them, here are a few quick tips that are good to know first.

  • Control the strength – If you’re unsure of how strong you want them, use my recommended amount of essential oils first. Note that the longer they sit in the bag, the stronger the scent will be. If you find that it fades in just a few days, or it’s not as strong as you’d like, add more essential oils or allow them to sit in the bag longer.
  • Leave nature outside – Yes we’re bringing some nature inside, but that doesn’t mean we’re inviting all of the bugs and mess in along with it. Use a soft bristle brush to lightly dust off any visible dirt, debris, and insects before bringing them into the house.
  • Washing the pine cones – Once inside you can wash them to remove the rest of the dirt and bugs. But they float, so place a large plate or something with a bit of weight over them to keep them submerged. You don’t need to scrub them or use soap, just allow them to soak for an hour, then rinse them off. They will close when wet, but don’t worry, they’ll open back up when you dry them.

How To Display Scented Pine Cones

These DIY scented pine cones are the perfect addition to any fall or winter table scape or holiday display.

Add them to a large bowl, a tall glass jar, or a platter nestled among candles, oranges, and cinnamon sticks for a simple and classic look.

Or use them to make ornaments and wreaths, to fill porch planters, or around the base of your Christmas tree – the options are endless.

And they’re not just for the holiday season either, you can use them any time of the year for natural or rustic decor.

Lovely display using scented pine cones
Lovely display using scented pine cones

How Long Do Scented Pine Cones Last?

Your DIY scented pine cones will last about 2 weeks before they need to be refreshed.

I like to have two bags going at once. One that is filled in preparation, and one batch that is on display. Then I rotate them.

Just be sure to stick to the same essential oil blend per bag, otherwise you’ll mix scents.

How To Refresh Scented Pine Cones

To refresh your scented pine cones, you can simply dab a few drops of your chosen oils right on the ones in your display.

Just add a drop or two on a few of them, leaving the others bare. This will quickly refresh them while maintaining a light balance of fragrance.

Otherwise, you can always go through the steps below again to re-scent them anytime you want, even next year.

Pine cones with clove and cinnamon essential oils
Pine cones with clove and cinnamon essential oils

FAQs

Here are a few of the most common questions about making scented pine cones, along with my answers. If you can’t find yours here, ask it in the comments below.

What can I use to scent pine cones?

While there are a few things you can use to scent pine cones, I prefer pure essential oils because they smell the best. Plus they’re all-natural, easy to find, cost effective, and come in a wide variety of scents.

Do scented pine cones smell good?

These DIY scented pine cones smell SO good, you’ll love them much better than the fakey store-bought ones. The best part is that you can control the type of fragrance and intensity based on your preferences.

How do you make scented pine cones smell again?

Making scented pine cones smell again is easy. All you need to do is add your desired amount of essential oils, and then let them sit in the bag until they have the intensity you want. You can reuse and re-scent the same ones year after year.

Are scented pine cones safe?

Yes, these DIY scented pine cones are safe, non-toxic, and made from all-natural fragrances. While I’m not an expert on the ones they make at the store, they have a very distinct chemical smell that doesn’t feel safe to me.

These scented pine cones could not be easier to make, and this project doesn’t take much time. They’re a wonderful addition to your holiday or rustic decor, and you can reuse them year after year.

More Fun Projects

Share your tips for how to make scented pine cones in the comments below.

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How To Make Scented Pine Cones Step-By-Step Guide

Step By Step Instructions

Yield: 1 batch

How To Make Scented Pine Cones

How To Make DIY Scented Pine Cones

Make these scented pine cones right at home with natural essential oils that spread the warm and comforting aroma of the season. With just a few materials you’ll be on your way.

Prep Time
1 hour 30 minutes

Active Time
5 minutes

Additional Time
14 days

Total Time
14 days 1 hour 35 minutes

Instructions

  1. Gather your pine cones – Grab a basket or bag and forage for pine cones of various sizes. If you don’t have access to any in your neighborhood, you can buy them (and in that case, you can skip to step 5). Gathering pine cones from my yard
  2. Clean them – While you’re still outside, use a soft bristle brush to remove any debris or dirt from the pine cones. Bring them inside and fill a bucket or the sink with water, then fully submerge them for about an hour. Place a heavy dinner plate over the top to keep them from floating. Soaking pine cones the sink
  3. Drain and pat dry – Drain the excess water from the pine cones, and lightly pat them dry with a paper towel.
  4. Bake them – Line your baking sheet with aluminum foil, then spread the pine cones evenly over the top. Bake them at 200°F for 30 minutes to kill any bacteria or bugs, and further dry them. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely. Drying pine cones in the oven
  5. Scent the pine cones – Add the pine cones to a 1 gallon zip-top bag and add 15 drops of cinnamon essential oil, 10 drops of clove oil, and 5 drops of orange citrus evenly over them. Then gently shake the baggie to mix everything together. Dripping essential oils over the pine cones
  6. Let them soak in the scent – Allow the pine cones to sit in the closed bag for at least one day, or up to 2 weeks. The longer they sit, the stronger the scent will be. Once you remove them from the bag you can use them right away.

Amy Andrychowicz

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