There are certain scents that just remind us of Christmas and the holiday season. Peppermint mochas, simmering potpourri, and Christmas cookies baking in the oven. The scent of cinnamon pine cones is another one that makes a home smell inviting. Instead of using store-bought artificial air fresheners, there are plenty of safe and healthy ways to scent your home during the winter months.
Research has found that what we smell has a direct tie to our memory. Those sugar cookies baking in grandma’s oven while decorating the Christmas tree can give us happy feelings. Years later smelling sugar cookies can remind us of feelings of community and togetherness. While I’m not one to recommend eating lots of sugar, you get the idea!
DIY Cinnamon Scented Pine Cones
Making your own scents for your home decor can help build happy memories and relieve stress. Plus when you use natural scents you also get the benefits of aromatherapy. These pine cone holiday decorations aren’t just nice to look at, but they can make your home feel cozier.
I used a blend with cinnamon in this tutorial, but you could use other essential oils if preferred. Plant Therapy also has some really good smelling blends (including holiday ones). Or you can mix and match to create your own. Here are a few different options:
How to Use Scented Pine Cones
These make a good gift idea, like for a hostess gift. The potpourri also doubles as a Christmas decoration and can be used as a table centerpiece. You can also stash a few bowls of these on the bathroom sink to keep the space smelling fresh.
How to Make Scented Pine Cones
There are several different ways to make your own cinnamon pine cones. I’ve seen some people simmer the pine cones in a strong herbal infusion with whole cinnamon sticks. While you can do that, cinnamon essential oil can give a much stronger scent.
Cinnamon bark essential oil is a little more expensive than cinnamon leaf or cassia cinnamon. They all have their own slightly unique health benefits and safety precautions. Since we’re not putting them on the skin I’m not worried about it causing skin irritation though. You can use what you have on hand, but cassia cinnamon is the most cost effective and it still smells amazing.
Prepping Your Pine Cones
Don’t skip this step! If you’re using pine cones you foraged or found in the backyard, they can be hiding little critters inside. No one wants to wake up to bugs all over their table from the potpourri dish! If you’re getting pine cones from the craft store, then these should already be cleaned.
Swish the pine cones thoroughly in a sink full of warm water. Some people use dish soap, while other sources say the fragrance in the soap can overwhelm the cinnamon scent. I added a little bit of unscented castile soap to my cleaning water. Once they’ve had a good bath, rinse, and lay them out on a towel.
Next you’ll want to make sure they’re really dry by baking them on low heat in the oven. If they retain moisture they’ll start to mold (which definitely doesn’t smell good). I laid mine out on a parchment lined baking sheet at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes. Some pine cones may take longer to dry but check on them every 15 minutes.
Adding More to the Mix
You can use just cinnamon scented pine cones, but you can also add other things to your potpourri mix. Dried apple or orange slices look nice and add a pop of color. Whole cinnamon sticks, star anise, bay leaves, and small pine branches also work well. They also look great in a glass jar as a festive gift!
DIY Cinnamon Scented Pine Cones
- Clean your pine cones if they’re from outside. Fill a sink with warm water and a little bit of castile soap. Swish them around, then rinse, and lay on a clean towel
- Lay the pine cones out on a cookie sheet or baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 200 until dry, about 30 minutes. These may take longer to dry but check on them every 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
- If using pine cones from the craft store, then skip the washing and drying steps.
- Put the distilled or filtered water in your spray bottle and add the essential oils.
- Shake well and mist the pine cones thoroughly.
- Place the pine cones in a covered container or bag and let them infuse for at least 1 day and up to a week. Remist with the water and essential oil mixture if necessary, but you don’t want them to be wet once they’re done infusing.
- Put the scented (and not wet) pine cones in a decorative bowl or container. Add dried fruit and small pine branches and arrange as desired.
- Whatever container you use to infuse the pine cones with scent will absorb some of the essential oil smell. I like using glass because it doesn’t absorb the odor.
- Another way to scent your pine cones is to just put 2-3 drops of essential oil on each one and let that infuse in a covered container.
Looking for more craft and decor ideas? Here are a few Christmas crafts the kids and I have done over the years.
- A burlap wreath for the front door
- Salt dough Christmas ornaments (fun one for the kids!)
- Simmering potpourri
- 35+ Christmas activities for kids
- DIY natural Christmas garland
- Reusable cloth gift bags
What are your favorite scents to use in your home? Leave a comment and let us know!