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How to Make Scented Pine Cones

Jamie loves writing about DIY projects, decorating on a budget, craft ideas, and creative ways to reuse and upcycle products.

Learn how to make scented pine cones.

Learn how to make scented pine cones.

How to Scented Pinecones for the Holidays

I have bought cinnamon-scented brooms before and love how they filled the house with that scent of the holidays, but they didn't last as long as I would like. I have a feeling these holiday-scented pine cones are going to last much longer.

Another reason I thought this was a great idea is that pine cones are pretty much free. If you don't have pine trees, check your local park or maybe your neighbor's yard. If all else fails, you can purchase them online or at your local craft store.

Materials Needed

  • Pinecones
  • Essential oils in cinnamon and clove
  • Large plastic zip-lock baggies

Other Scent Options

  • Orange
  • Apple
  • Vanilla
  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Other "sweet" scents

Don't be afraid to mix the scents. It's fun to experiment and see what scent you like best. I don't think you can go wrong with any of these. You can also get oils that are already mixed. I used cinnamon-vanilla oil and clove bud. It smells wonderful!

Step 1: Clean the Pine Cones

If you have gathered your pine cones from trees locally, it is a good idea to clean them first. There are lots of small bugs and things that can live inside pine cones. If they were purchased, I'm assuming they are already cleaned but make sure. If so, go on to step 2.

If they need to be cleaned, put them into a sink of warm water. I ran the water without the stopper first, gently knocked each one on the side of the sink to knock out any bugs, and then filled the sink with warm water.

So make sure the sink has plenty of water in it and let them sit and soak for about 30 to 45 min or so until you notice all the pine cones have closed up. Once they are closed up, shake the water from inside them and sit them on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Turn your oven on to 200 degrees and put the pine cones in.

Let the pine cones sit in the oven and check them about every half hour to see if they are starting to open back up. Drying them in the oven did take longer than I thought it would. It took a little over 3 hours for mine to completely dry and open back up again.

To save time, you could rinse them off in the sink (instead of soaking them) and then put them in the oven. This will cut down on drying time a bit. I also read that they could be dried quicker in the microwave. Personally, I'm a bit leery of trying this, but for those of you who are more adventurous than I am, it's worth giving a shot!

Ensure Pine Cones Are Dry

Whatever method you use to dry them, just remember when they have completely opened back up, that means they are dry and ready to be scented. Another option is letting them air dry. It will take longer, but if you aren't in a hurry, it should be fine. Other than the time it took, I actually enjoyed drying them in the oven because it scented my apartment with a nice woodsy aroma.

Step 2: Add the Scented Oils

Take your clean, dry pine cones and put a few drops of each essential oil all around each one of them and then drop them into the plastic bag and then seal it up. You can stop there, but for safe measure, I went ahead and put a few more drops of my oils into the bag and then sealed it. The more oil you use, the stronger the scent will be.

You can do as many or as few pine cones as you wish. If you are doing lots of them, you may have to use a few of the ziplock baggies according to what size you are using. The super large ziplock baggies are best.

If you don't have ziplock baggies, trash bags, plastic grocery bags, and other plastic bags will work fine too. Just be sure to double-bag the pine cones if the bags are thin, and then tie the bags really well to get a good airtight seal. You could even use a large airtight plastic container, like a storage container, if you wanted.

Note: You can add the oils to your pine cones right after they have come from the oven, or you can choose to let them cool first. I'm thinking that putting the oil on the pine cones while they are still warm from the oven may help to preserve the scent better, but I really don't know. It's just a thought. Mine were cool when I added the oil, only because I had gathered and cleaned the pine cones before I actually purchased my oils, but next time I plan on putting the oils on right after they come from the oven.

Step 3: Seal and Let Sit

After you have sealed up the bag(s), put them up out of the way, and let the essential oils sit and soak into them for a while. I let mine sit for five days, but it can be anywhere from three days to a week.

Mine were so strongly scented that I could smell them through the house when they were still in the baggies! When it's time, open them up and enjoy! The pine cones will fill your home with that joyful scent of the holidays. I have decided this will be a new tradition for me and plan to do it every year now.

Note: If the scent is too strong for you, try mixing a few in with regular pine cones. I made mine super strong, but I wanted them that way. You could also start out by putting a few in a basket and then adding a few more every week or so.

Pine cones in baggies with scented oils

Pine cones in baggies with scented oils

Ideas for Using Scented Pine Cones

Once you have made your scented pine cones, there are lots of ways you can use them for home decorating and crafts. Here are a few ideas:

  • Put them in a big basket on a table or shelf. You could even add some pretty ornaments in with the pine cones. Consider placing it near the front door, so everybody can catch the sweet smell of the holidays when they enter your home. To scent your entire home, place baskets of scented pine cones in every room!
  • Put the pine cones in a large tall vase or another glass container for a centerpiece.
  • Put a string of lights in a basket, vase, or big glass jar to mix in with the pine cones for a beautiful holiday display. It will look very pretty, and the heat from the lights will intensify the fragrance. Just be sure to keep an eye on it.
  • Use individual pine cones in a tablescape down the center of the dinner table. Add some pretty candles, snowflakes, red berries, etc. You can even decorate the pine cones themselves with white paint on the tips and glitter, etc.
  • Make a pretty wreath or topiary with your scented pine cones.
  • Make a garland using jute, attach the pine cones and tie some pretty ribbon or material in between each pine cone. It's super simple and would look very pretty across a fireplace mantel.
  • Get a large charger plate, sit a candle or a set of candles in the middle, and place a few pine cones around them for a pretty centerpiece for the dinner table or coffee table. Consider using flameless candles.. they are very pretty too!
  • Add glitter, embellishments, and ribbon to make them into pretty ornaments for the Christmas tree or to give away as gifts.

Happy Holidays!

Thank you so much for dropping by to read my scented pine cone tutorial.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Martie Lee on August 11, 2020:

Can you put them in the fireplace, or a outdoor little fire pit for smell?

Wendi on August 21, 2019:

Hi everyone...mI really enjoyed the article, thank you. In fact my 6 yr old grandaughter just gathered sum pinecones for me on a visit to the park. I plan on doing my pinecones tomaro. I want to use them in wreaths and as ornaments but the garland idea i like. Adding to wreaths may an incentive to buy ...they will amell so good!!! Huggzz everyone.

Elles Heemskerk on October 07, 2018:

I used the pine essential oil and christmas berry oil (lovely Cinnamon fragrance). Itis nice to clean the cones and the cones seem to become a bit shiny after drying in the oven because of the resin which comes free after heating. Love this recipe!

Elles Heemskerk on October 07, 2018:

What a lovely idea, made this right away today!

Pam on May 09, 2018:

Hi my name is pam. If i wanted to paint the pine cones , should i paint them first or put the oil on first

PB on January 27, 2018:

Very cool ideas thanx

Pam on December 04, 2017:

I enjoyed reading your article and plan on making my own scented pine cones this year. Thank you.

MRollings on October 08, 2017:

Today we were at a Fresh Market and husband picked up a bag of scented pine cones. "Who would buy these? How can they sell these?" I showed him they were scented. He looked at the price.

Husband "There's a million dollars just laying in the yard!" (We have a lot of pine trees.) As soon as I obtain the oils, we will begin to accumulate the millions

Sue Starkey on May 05, 2017:

Thanks so much for sharing this, I love the smell of cinnamon pine cones and this will be a great craft to do with my granddaughter.

Craftychristmaslover on December 15, 2016:

These sound amazing; top tip would be to store them in with your Christmas Decorations at the end of the holidays, then next year all your decs will smell fabulous when you unpack them ;-)

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on April 01, 2016:

breathing-Thank you for your comment! I appreciate it!

TANJIM ARAFAT SAJIB from Bangladesh on February 15, 2016:

Pine cones can be a great way of decorating your house beautifully. But you cannot always find them near you as they are not readily available. So the easiest way is t make them on your own and author has posted an excellent hub exactly on that topic. The pictures in the hub are more than exciting for illustrating the steps perfectly. If anyone follows this hub from A to Z and tries this procedure in their own house, there are high chances that they will have a beautifully decorated pine cone house. Again thanks to the author for such a creative post!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on August 19, 2013:

Alise-Evon- Thank you :) It was A LOT of fun doing these scented pinecones... I can't wait to do them again here soon! So glad Fall is getting close. Thanks for the positive feedback!

Alise- Evon on July 11, 2013:

Well, it's not the holidays, but I can read about seasonal crafts whenever. This sounds really fun; I have essential oils and we have plenty of pine cones where we live, so come fall/winter, I will definitely try this.

Voted interesting and useful..

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on March 11, 2013:

DDE- Do give it a try! I bet you will love them ... Thanks so much for dropping by :)

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 09, 2013:

What a lovely idea, scented pines I am going to give it a try. I am glad I saw this Hub.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on December 20, 2012:

Dolores Monet- I am glad you found this useful! I didn't even think about balsam oil but yes, I bet it would be great!. I just now thought of both peppermint and evergreen.. those are both Christmassy smells as well. The possibilities are endless. Thank you for the positive feedback and votes up... hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas!

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on December 20, 2012:

What a fun idea! I have pine cones and usually have some essential oils. I think using balsam oil would be great. I love the scent, it's so Christmassy! Voted up and Awesome!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on December 14, 2012:

vespawoolf- You are welcome.. please do let me know what you come up with :)

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on December 13, 2012:

Thanks for the great ideas. I'm sure we can come up with something Peruvian that's adapable. : ) I'll let you know!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on December 13, 2012:

ktrapp- Enjoy your candle.. I bet it smells wonderful :) Then you can do the pine cones next year! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on December 13, 2012:

vespawoolf- You are welcome.. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I am sure you could do this with lots of things in nature.. If you have access to anything in nature that is "woody" after it dries or even some sticks or twigs would work I am sure. You could actually use this oil on anything you want.. like faux flowers or you can even burn it in an oil burner from what I understand. I love cinnamon and orange scents too! Thank you so much for dropping by :)

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on December 12, 2012:

What a great idea! I'm sort of bummed because I just spent sort of a lot of money on a candle to add a Christmas-scent to my home, but I would have much rather have had scented pine cones. I will definitely have to remember this for next the holiday season.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on December 11, 2012:

What a clever idea! We don't have pinecones around here, but I wonder if I could adapt this method to something else I can find in nature? I love all the scents you list, although I'm especially partial to cinnamon and orange. They would smell so nice together and I can only imagine how fragrant my house will be. Thanks so much!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on December 04, 2012:

Billie.. What a sweet comment! Thanks so much for stopping by.. I am glad you enjoyed the hub:) Thank you for inspiring me! I hate that you had to change your name here, I bet that was a headache! But I totally get it.. we gotta do what we gotta do sometimes. Now I'm off to follow you and explorer your hubs... especially the Christmas one you mentioned. Thank you again for stopping by :) PS will change your name in the hub as well and link to your new account.

Billie Kelpin from Newport Beach on December 03, 2012:

Jamie, I just found this and it's WONDERFUL! Thank you soo much. And thank you for the "shout out" regarding my question. Since posting that, however, I changed all my hubs to Billie Kelpin - not a really great idea since readership drops dramatically. However, I needed to do that because a children's book I wrote is under that name and it was getting confusing. So glad I discovered your INCREDIBLY intaeresting hubs this way. Of course, my hub, "Christmas Gift Giving - the Hard Way" is sure to kick with full force given all your "crafty ideas" :) I'm off to "Like" this now on Facebook. Thanks again!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on December 01, 2012:

nmdonders- Thank you.. so glad you enjoyed the hub :) Getting them for free is great but there is a little bit of work you gotta do with cleaning and adding the oils so I get why some people would rather just buy them. I'm just OCD about DIY stuff.. You should give it a try sometime though if you think it's something you may enjoy :) Thank you for dropping by and for your sweet comment!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on December 01, 2012:

tammyswallow- Thank you...I'm glad you enjoyed the hub! I know what you mean about them being scented too strong. The vanilla-cinnamon oil I used mixed with clove bud is a pretty good scent.. and smells really Christmas-y but I have smelled them (and things like them) in stores and didn't care much for the scent. Thanks for dropping by!

Nira Perkins on December 01, 2012:

This is awesome! I buy these every year for both the smell and for decoration. You have no idea how many pine cones there are in our area and I feel ridiculous purchasing them when they're all over the ground and completely free. This is a great idea and sounds like fun. Thanks for sharing this you did a great job.

Tammy from North Carolina on December 01, 2012:

What a wonderful idea for any holiday! I love these but sometimes they are scented to strong with a scent I don't care for. There are hundreds of pinecones outside my door. Thanks for the inspiration!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 30, 2012:

seanorjohn- hehe.. yeah.. I freaked out a little bit at first when I started putting them in the sink with the water and saw a few bugs floating but they are really small ones and there was not a whole lot of them-about 6 or 7 out of about 30 pine cones. I think between the rinsing off and putting them in the oven, whatever bugs might be in them will either go down the drain or fry in the oven so it's all good :) I tried really hard to rinse and shake each one out to get any bugs out before putting in the oven though.. I didn't like the thought of any poor bugs frying in the oven.

seanorjohn on November 30, 2012:

Great idea for Christmas. thank goodness you mentioned the need to clean them. My daughter would freak out if she came across bugs.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 18, 2012:

Glimmer Twin Fan- That is awesome that you have access to lots of them. When I wrote this I was wondering how many people actually would have access to pine cones but if I can find them growing in trees here in Texas, I'm pretty sure others shouldn't have any problem finding some near them as well. I hope you and your daughter have lots of fun scenting the pine cones.... and thanks for pinning this :)

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 18, 2012:

grand old lady- You are welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 18, 2012:

Gypsy Willow- You are welcome! I'm glad this hub came in useful for you :)

Claudia Porter on November 18, 2012:

Up and useful! My daughter and I will love doing this and I have a place where I can get loads of pinecones. Thanks! Pinned too!

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on November 15, 2012:

I love pinecones! I still have some more than 10 years after I went to Wash. DC and got all the pinecones from my niece's tree. This is a great idea. Thanks for sharing:)

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on November 15, 2012:

I saw cinnamon scented pine cones for sale in a craft shop yesterday and as I live in a pine forest I was curious as to how they were processed. Now here is the answer, thank you very much!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 15, 2012:

kashmir56- Thank you, friend :) I appreciate the votes up, thank you for stopping by!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 15, 2012:

hecate-horus- Absolutely!! Make some of your own and save $. That is my philosophy :) So glad you found this useful.. thank you for dropping by!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 15, 2012:

random- It's funny you mentioned that.. I was actually thinking about putting some into a netted bag, tying a bow and giving them for Christmas gifts.... love the favor idea too :) Even small ones could be used on gift packaging.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 15, 2012:

carol- Thank you.. It's funny because when I was younger I could have cared less about pine cones but as I get older, I appreciate them so much more... especially around the holidays :) Glad you enjoyed the hub!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 15, 2012:

Stephanie- I agree.. the scent on the pine cones would be the icing on the cake! So glad you enjoyed the hub.. thank you bunches for the votes up and for sharing :)

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 15, 2012:

Irc- Thank you.. glad that you found this useful! Doing them in the oven first was mainly to kill the bugs and things inside them but I couldn't help but wonder if the heat would help infuse the oils into the cones more... definitely seems like it would. Be sure to line the baking sheet really well with foil... I've heard that the sap in the cones is a you-know-what to get off the baking sheet. Have lots of fun and let me know how they turn out!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 15, 2012:

supermom- You are so welcome! Glad this came in useful for you :) Have fun re-scenting your pine cones!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 15, 2012:

sgbrown- Oh, yeah.. hanging them on the tree is a great idea.. will help scent the tree! I think putting them in bathrooms or even every room of the house is a great idea. They will smell up a room... before I even took mine out of the baggies, they scented the entire living area. So glad you found the hub useful and inspiring for you. thank you for the votes up!!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 15, 2012:

stephhicks- Oh, I bet you do have some pretty pine cones! So glad this hub is useful for you :) Thanks for dropping by and for the vote up!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 15, 2012:

vocalcoach- Aww.. thanks :) You leave such sweet comments...I'm so glad you enjoyed this hub and have found it useful. These really are easy and fun and the scent is divine, just perfect for the holidays :) I SO appreciate the votes up and sharing. Have lots of fun doing your scented pine cones!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 15, 2012:

Jackie- I found some cute little ones too over at my husbands grandmothers house on a tree the other day. I've added those to the others. Be sure to rinse them off and dry in the oven really good before adding the scented oils... I noticed the ones I got had some small bugs in them. I think rinsing them off and putting them in the oven will get rid of them. Glad you enjoyed the hub!

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on November 15, 2012:

Hi my friend great idea and so easy to do with your easy to follow steps. Well done !

Vote up and more !!!

hecate-horus from Rowland Woods on November 15, 2012:

Walmart likes to put scented pine cones in their foyer and I'm always tempted to buy some. Since I have my own pine cones in the yard, who needs Walmart? Useful, voted up!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 15, 2012:

What an awesome technique and so inexpensive! This would make a wonderful Christmas present or small favor at a Christmas time event (i.e. baby shower).

carol stanley from Arizona on November 15, 2012:

What a lovely way to decorate the house and scent it up. Great hub and fairly easy and not too costly. As always you have wonderful ideas...

Stephanie Henkel from USA on November 15, 2012:

This looks like a great idea for the holidays! I love to have baskets of pine cones mixed with Christmas ornaments around the house. Scented pine cones would be extra special. Voted up and shared!

Linda Crist from Central Virginia on November 15, 2012:

I've kept oil infused pine cones around the house for years but have never dried the cones in the oven first. I am going to try this and see if the scent lasts longer. I usually add fresh oil to my baskets of cones every 4-5 days now so if I can get the scent to last longer, that would be awesome. I loved this hub and the decorating ideas are the bomb! Thanks!

supermom_in_ny from NY on November 14, 2012:

Voted up!!! I am thrilled with this hub. I have a lot of pine cones that lost their scent and I didn't want to throw them out. Unfortunately, I didn't know how to introduce the scent again. Now I am going to buy the baggies and oils tomorrow to reuse them. Thanks again!

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on November 14, 2012:

I am so glad to find this hub! I love pine cones and some as Christmas ornaments on my tree. Now that I know how to scent them, they will be awesome! I think I will put some in a large vase I have and put them in the bathroom too! Oh the ideas I am having! Voting up and awesome! :)

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on November 14, 2012:

We have tons of beautiful pine cones here in Central Oregon. I love this craft idea and I think my daughter will have fun making scented pine cones with me. Thanks - rated up!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on November 14, 2012:

Jamie darlin' - I learn so much from you and it's such fun! You are, without a doubt the Queen of Crafts. Scented Pine Cones are something I have wished I could make for a long time. And here you are - with just the greatest hub on how to do it yourself.

I appreciate the way you give directions along with your photos. You make it a no-brainer. So easy and clear. Thanks again and again. Oh, I'm such a big fan! Up and completely across (except funny) and sharing with the world:)

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on November 14, 2012:

What a great idea! I pass by such cute little cones all the time and wish I had a use for them and now I do! Can't wait, and it should be good all through the holidays and winter. Thanks!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 14, 2012:

Sharkye11- Yeah, it was pretty neat to see them close and then open back up again. I had no idea that they did that either! My little boy thought it was pretty neat too. Glad you enjoyed the hub.. thanks so much for stopping by!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 14, 2012:

Jeannie- I was obsessed with doing scented pine cones after I saw that question until I finally got the pine cones and scented oils. I am glad you mentioned that... I need to try to let her know that I did this hub. I am glad you enjoyed the hub and thank you for the votes up and for sharing :)

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on November 14, 2012:

Love this hub! I also love scented brooms, but pine cones would be a lot easier to display. Mostly I just want to watch them open and close. I had no idea they would do that! Fun science experiment time!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 14, 2012:

Bill- I love them too and talk about a cheap craft! My son and I picked some up a couple weeks ago so it's been all about pine cones this past couple weeks. In fact, I've been working on another pine cone hub that I'll be publishing soon. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.. thank you so much for dropping by and for sharing this!!

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on November 14, 2012:

I saw that same question, and since then, I've also been wondering how to make scented pine cones. Thank you for making this hub. I think I am going to give this a try one day. Voted up and shared!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 14, 2012:

I am all over this idea, Jamie! What a great tutorial and oh so simple. I'm big on using pine cones for decorations, and this just adds to the enjoyment. Great hub and sharing!