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How to Make Scented Pine Cones for a Cozy Winter Home

Every year, I spot those heavily holiday-scented pine cones at grocery stores and always think the same thing- those can’t be that hard to make!

Maybe you have had similar thoughts, too. 

Well, today is the day! Let’s make scented pine cones with essential oils for a cozy winter home. 

Again, you can easily purchase pre-scented pinecones the next time you’re at the grocery checkout lane and save the hassle of making your own. However, making scented pinecones is simple, easy, and economical. Not to mention, what a fun, sustainable craft to add to your holiday season! 

This EASY project uses everyday foraged natural pinecones you can find under any pine tree or cone-producing evergreen, and you can turn them into naturally scented ones to use in your winter decor or turn them into ornaments to hang on your Christmas tree. 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products for your convenience, such as items on Amazon. A Farm to Keep gains a small commission from purchases made through those links at no additional cost to you. 

Where to Find Pinecones

The scented pinecones found at the grocery store are usually coated with an artificial cinnamon scent. The beauty of making scented pinecones at home is you can scent them however you want! The first step in the process is locating pinecones. 

We live in the woods and are surrounded by abundant pinecones from various cone-producing trees. If you are not living in the woods, you may wonder where to find pinecones for this project. Some of our favorite places to forage pinecones before we moved to the woods included scouring local parks and parking lots. That’s right! Many local parks feature large evergreens that produce a lot of pinecones. Collect the fallen pinecones and do a favor for your local park clean-up crew. 

Another way to gather pinecones is to ask your friends if they have a tree you can collect from. I know I am more than happy to gift friends extra pinecones, especially the ones that fall onto our driveway. You would be doing your friends a great service. 

What if you can’t find foraged pinecones? 

If you cannot locate pinecones in nature, there are a few places to look. 

  1. Local thrift stores: That’s right! Your local thrift store will often have Christmas decor featuring pinecones. Most are natural pinecones that need to be removed from the wreath or garland they have been attached to. 
  2. Amazon: I encourage you to use this as a last resort, but Amazon offers various natural pinecones for decorating. 
  3. Local craft store: Check your local craft stores like Michael’s and JoAnne’s for boxes and bundles of natural pinecones. 

The Best Scents for DIY Holiday Sectned Pinecones

There are many different ways to scent your pinecones. In this tutorial, we use different combinations of essential oils to add aroma. Here are some of our favorite pure essential oils to combine for a festive holiday aroma that will make your house smell comforting and cozy. 

How to Make Scented Pine Cones for a Cozy Winter Home

Materials & Tools

Tools you’ll need

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Collecting and Washing the Pinecones

The easiest way to collect pinecones is to take a lovely walk in the woods or at your local park. Collect any fallen pinecones that hold their shape and don’t have any small bugs, mold, or fungi living or growing on them. 

After collecting the pinecones, place them into a large basin for washing. Fill the basin with warm water and allow the pinecones to sit there for ten minutes. Drain the water, and refill the basin again three to five more times until the water remains mostly clean. 

The time of year to collect fallen pinecones is in the fall season. Avoid collecting pinecones on rainy days or days with excessive fog. The moisture encourages additional moss and fungi growth that can be difficult to remove from the pinecones. The excess moisture also encourages more rapid decay of the pinecones. 

Drying the Pinecones

Option 1: If the weather is warm and clear with no chance of rain, set the washed pinecones out on a tarp or towel in direct sunlight for 3-5 hours or until the pinecones are completely dry. 

Option 2: 

1. The other method is to dry the pinecones in the oven. I prefer this method overall in the winter, as we often have a few sunny and warm days in the winter. Plus, drying the pinecones in the oven takes less time. 

2. To dry them in the oven, first line one to three baking sheets with parchment paper. You can also use aluminum foil. Line the pinecones up on the lined baking sheets, keeping about 1/2 to 1 inch of space between each pinecone. 

3. The next step is to set your oven to convect at 250 degrees Fahrenheit or on standard heating at 275 degrees Fahrenheit. 

4. Once the oven is to temp, place the baking sheets lined with the pinecones in the oven and bake for one hour. After the first hour, check the pinecones to see if they have started to open or still have wet spots. If they are still wet, continue to cook for another half an hour. Recheck them after the additional thirty minutes. Keep baking and checking in thirty-minute increments until the pinecones are completely dry. You will know they are dry when they begin to release a sweet smell, and the bottom half of the pinecones begin to flower open. There will also no longer be any remaining excess water in the pinecone crevices or on the baking sheet.  

5. Remove the dried pinecones from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature. 

Adding Your Favorite Fragrances to the Pinecones

1. In a large freezer storage ziploc plastic bag, place up to eight larger pinecones or as many as twelve smaller pinecones. Leave enough space in the bag for the pinecones to have some area to shift. 

2. Add the warm water and the witch hazel to the spray bottle. Shake the bottle a few times to combine the liquids. Including witch hazel in the fragrance, spray helps to keep the essential oils and water combined. 

3. Remove the top from the spray bottle again and add your favorite drops of essential oil. Replace the top onto the spray bottle and secure it in place. Shake the spray bottle again to combine the water, witch hazel, and the essential oils. 

4. Spray the pinecones in the Ziploc bag so each one is doused in the spray. Seal the ziploc and press out all of the air from the bag. Allow the pinecones to sit in the bags for at least 24 hours to absorb the scents. 

5. The remaining scented spray can be used as a room spray or pillow spray. 

Decorating with your scented pine cones

  • A good way to decorate with your scented pinecones is to place them in a large bowl and set them out in your home where their heavenly scent can be enjoyed, like on your coffee table, entry table, or in a small decorative bowl in the bathroom. 
  • The best way to package your pinecones is in a beautiful net bag or a bowl with a bow to give as a gift. 
  • Instead of placing the pinecones into a bowl, you can turn them into ornaments! Use hot glue to attach a beautiful satin or velvet ribbon to the top backside of each pinecone. Hang them from your tree, or string them onto another piece of long ribbon to create a garland. Add additional adornments to the scented pinecone ornaments, like cinnamon sticks or dried flowers. 
  • The pinecones will make your home smell amazing! If the scent diminishes over time, replace the pinecones into a Ziploc bag and respray them with the essential oil spray. Let them sit again for at least 24 hours before decorating with them again. 

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