How to Make Scented Pine Cones With Essential Oils

Scented pine cones with essential oils

The Spruce / Caylin Harris

Overview
  • Total Time: 90 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0 to $10

Pine cones make for attractive seasonal home decor throughout the fall and winter months. They're festive while not being so seasonally specific that they're only good for one holiday. And you can take these natural decor items to the next level by using pine cones scented with essential oils. Scented pine cones add subtle fragrance to a room while being visually appealing, too.

You often can find scented pine cones for sale at grocery and craft stores during the fall and winter, but it's very quick and easy to make your own at home. Plus, if you forage for your own pine cones, this project is virtually free (unless you need to purchase essential oil). Once you have your scented pine cones, there are numerous ways to use them. For instance, you can work them into garlands or wreaths, or you can simply place them on the mantel. They also make great seasonal gifts.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Cookie sheet
  • Aluminum foil
  • Gallon-size plastic zip-top bag
  • Spray bottle (optional)

Materials

  • Pine cones (as many as you want in any size)
  • Essential oils of your choosing

Instructions

  1. Prep Your Pine Cones

    The only downside to collecting pine cones from outside is they're likely to have dirt, sap, or even small bugs on them. But don't let that deter you. It's easy to clean them.

    Simply give the pine cones a good rinse in the sink. Don't use dish soap, as the scent can linger and interfere with the essential oils you're going to add later.

    Then, place the pine cones on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake them at a low heat (roughly 200 degrees Fahrenheit) for about an hour. Baking works to preserve the pine cones. Keep an eye on them throughout the entire baking process. (While burning isn't likely, turn off the oven immediately if you see the pine cones start to burn.) Finally, remove them from the oven, and wait for them to cool before proceeding to the next step.

    prepped scented pine cones to go in the oven
    The Spruce / Caylin Harris
  2. Apply Essential Oil

    To scent your pine cones, choose any essential oils that you like. While many people prefer to use cinnamon because it's associated with the fall and winter months, other good options include citrus, vanilla, peppermint, and even pine essential oils. You can apply just one type of oil, or you can mix and match. For instance, cinnamon and vanilla blend together to form a pleasant, warming aroma.

    Place the pine cones in a gallon-size zip-top bag, and pour at least 10 drops of essential oil right inside. You can always add more drops if you feel the scent isn't strong enough. Seal and shake the bag to spread the essential oil on the pine cones, and then leave them in the bag for a week. Finally, remove them from the bag, and make sure they're dry before using them to decorate.

    You also can use a spray bottle for a quicker and more uniform application of the essential oil. Fill the bottle with a few ounces of water and about 10 drops of essential oil to start. (You always can add more.) Then, spray the pine cones, and place them inside the gallon-size zip-top bag. With this method, they only need to remain in the bag for about a day because they've taken a more direct hit of essential oil thanks to the spray bottle. Finally, remove the pine cones from the bag, and let them dry completely before placing around your home.

    Adding essential oils to pine cones to make them scented
    The Spruce / Caylin Harris
  3. Repeat as Needed

    Once the pine cones are out on display for a few weeks, they'll start to lose their fragrance. You can continue to add essential oil as needed to refresh the scent. You don't have to use the same scents that you previously used on the pine cones, as long as the previous scents aren't detectable to the point that they clash with the new scents.

    Pine cones, zip-top bag, and essential oil
    The Spruce / Caylin Harris