How to Make Scented Pine Cones | i should be mopping the floor
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How to Make Scented Pine Cones

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I've been making scented pine cones for our home for a few years now, but it just recently occurred to me that they would make great gifts, too.  Making them yourself is very budget-friendly, as well. And who doesn't love a nice, gentle holiday scent in their home for the season? See how to make your own scented pine cones below.

How to Make Scented Pine Cones
Around late September or early October, I walk into our local HEB grocery store and am greeted by the most intoxicating smell ever. It signals to me that they've put out their cinnamon brooms for the season. And they're absolutely heavenly. A few years ago, they added scented pine cones, too, which are just as dreamy. But, I would only allow myself either a broom or one set of the pine cones since they were a bit costly for something that would eventually run out of scent and need to be discarded or revamped in some way. However, through some trial and error (and mixing and remixing) and researching how other people do this, I figured out my own way to make scented pine cones at home (my own personal touch involves witch hazel!). I now just stick to this instead of purchasing them every year. See my complete tutorial, below. Oh, and it's Thrifty Style Team day, so I've got lots of thrifty Christmasy fun for you from my friends, as well.

Scented Pine Cones

While I do love a nice holiday-scented candle burning throughout the Christmas season, I know some of my friends can't handle a perfume-laden candle or it messes with their allergies. It's always nice to have something a bit more gentle and natural that still gives off a seasonal scent without being too overpowering. I feel like scented pine cones are the modern version of the 1980s potpourri ...without the lingering powdery scent that the bags of that stuff often produced.

Scented Pine Cones
And gosh, pine cones are so easy to incorporate into decor, too, especially this time of the year. I have mine placed in lots of nooks and crannies. But, my favorite spot is on my coffee table (pictured above). I piled up my champagne bucket with shiny baubles, ornaments, and scented pine cones. The pine cones bring in a bit of nature into such a shiny and, well, slightly over-the-top area of our home. When folks are sitting around the coffee table, they can't figure out exactly what smells so good, but I do get quite a few comments. I shared more of this living area done up for the holidays in this post for a Free Joyeux Noël Banner Printable.

How to Make Scented Pine Cones

There is a good chance you probably have most of the supplies already on hand to make your own set of lovely scented pine cones. I tend to collect fallen pine cones whenever I see them in a public place. I also have a neighbor who saves them off of her tree for me, too. You do have to make sure they're bug-free (more on how to do that below), if you're using ones from out in "the wild". But, I've also got a couple of sources below for you, if you don't have pine cones readily available in your area.
Supplies for Scented Pine Cones

Supplies for Scented Pine Cones 

  • pine cones
  • holiday-scented essential oils (I like cinnamon and pine, but not together!)
    • I normally use Young Living oils (but, I don't sell them). Their Cinnamon Bark or Christmas Spirit oils are great for this, but quite pricey, so I tend to hold back a bit when I use them. However, since these oils are not going on my skin or anything like that, I was totally fine buying the set of winter essential oils you see pictured above on Amazon. The oils I like best in the pack are the Cinnamon, Gingerbread, and Christmas Wreath Pine. You can grab the same Winter Essential Oils set here on Amazon, as well.
  • witch hazel (it's cheap here on Amazon)
  • larger plastic zip top bags (I always save the ones that clothes come in when I shop online, they're perfect for this)
  • glass spray bottle 
  • (not pictured) distilled water

Making Scented Pine Cones

Scented Pine Cone Solution Recipe

Before we scent the pine cones, we'll need to mix up the solution that we spray onto them.

  • Mix 2 parts water with 1 part witch hazel into your glass bottle. For me, I do about 2 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of witch hazel.
    • The witch hazel helps break up the oils to keep them consistent in the spray bottle, so your scent is even throughout the entire bottle. If you don't have witch hazel, vodka will work, too (but the smell of the vodka can come through a bit).
  • You'll then add your essential oils to your solution in the bottle. I like heavily scented pinecones, so I use 20-30 drops of oil. But, if you prefer a lighter scent, feel free to just do 10-15 drops.
  • Place the cap back onto the bottle and shake well.

Making the Scented Pine Cones

  • Place several of your pine cones into a zip top bag. Leave plenty of room so you'll be able to seal it without breaking any of your pine cones.

DIY Scented Pine Cones
  • Spray your pinecones thoroughly with the solution inside the bag. Again, I like a heavily scented pine cone, so I use quite a bit of spray. But one of these two ounce bottles of solution can coat about 20-24 pine cones (give or take).
  • You'll need to gingerly move the pinecones around in the bag so they all receive the same amount of spray.

Cinnamon Pine Cones
  • Once your pinecones are saturated (enough so you see lots of droplets on the walls of the bags, but not so much that you have pools of solution in the corners of the bag), you'll zip up the top of the bag.
  • Personally, I let my pine cones sit in the bags overnight. But, you can let them sit for as little as four hours. The longer they sit, the stronger the scent. I wouldn't go longer than 48 hours. Some of the essential oils can eat at the plastic in the bags, which could get messy.
  • Unzip and take out your pine cones. If yours are still wet, you can dry them by setting them for a bit on newspaper or paper towels. I'm honestly too impatient and will just use them as is (even if they're damp).

Cinnamon Scented Pine Cones
Then, just enjoy the aroma of your pine cones. It's fun to try different scents. Since we use Christmas trees of the faux variety, tucking in a few of the Christmas Wreath Pine pine cones around the tree makes it smell so close to the real thing.

Refreshing Your Scented Pine Cones

If you feel like your pine cones are losing their scent after a bit of time, simply repeat the process. You can even use the same pine cones year after year, just refreshing them at the beginning of the season (that's what I like to do).

Scented Pine Cone Gift
These scented pine cones also make the perfect gift. Pictured above, I used one of the wine bags that I made from kitchen towels as a gift sack. It works perfectly and is a great way to give these lovely gifts.

Pine Cone Centerpiece

Don't forget, it's also Thrifty Style Team day. Check out all of the goodness from my friends below.
Thrifty Style Team

Christmas Decor on a Budget
It's been SUCH a fun year teaming up with these creative ladies every month for our thrifty posts. I hope you enjoy this series. I can't wait to see what next year holds for our thrifty group.

Easy Scented Pine Cones
Here's to a fabulous-smelling season!

Pine Cone Crafts


  1. What a fun project! Looks like a great one to do with the kids, too. Thanks for sharing the great photos and details. Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you so much, Melanie! Yes, a fun one with the kids for sure. Appreciate you stopping by. xoxo

  2. Pinning. Last weekend #2 daughter baked some pinecones and just that made the house smell wonderful. She commented about scenting them, so this is just the tutorial she needs!

  3. I've made these before, but I've never tried adding the witch hazel! Thanks for that tip! I love how you displayed these too, mixed in with the ornaments!

  4. I have a HUGE container of pine cones that have dropped from our tree so I will be trying this. Thanks for the tip on using witch hazel. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas if I don't get by to visit before then.

  5. I have a ton of pine cones and never thought to do this. I will have to give your recipe a try. It sounds amazing.

  6. I love this idea! I have a ton of pine cones laying around just begging to smell nice. Thanks for sharing this. Merry Christmas!

  7. Thanks so much for sharing Kristi! I was trying to think of a hostess gift for a Christmas party. This is perfect and beautiful. Merry Christmas, my friend.

  8. This is a great idea. I love using natural elements in my decor, especially at Christmas. And making them scented makes them even better! Thanks for the detailed tutorial and supply list!

  9. Just wondering if the oils would possibly kill any bugs? Any idea?

    1. Hi there! Peppermint oil does a pretty good job of keeping away some pests! I'm not sure if it kills them so much as deters them though. Hope this helps!