Scented Pinecones 101

This is one of those super easy craft projects that I assume everyone learned in kindergarden, or girlscouts, or from their Aunt with the exceptionally long nose hair.

You know the one.

However, I see folks buying these things at the grocery store for $5.00 a bag. It takes all my might and muster not to butt in and yell over the cart, YOU CAN MAKE THESE YOURSELF, YOU KNOW.  

And it’s easy. And super cheap. And the scent will last for years. And there are plenty of things you can do with the pinecones, but we will get to that in a week or two. For now, let’s just get the party started.

Go to the park/woods/roadside evergreen and gather ye pinecones. If the cones  are open, the seeds have been spread and  serve no purpose, so feel free to gather as many as you like, Just be sure to leave the closed pine cones behind as they still have work to do.

BAKE ‘M: Line an old cookie sheet with foil and bake at 200F (93C) for 30 minutes. This will kill all the cooties and melt off the sappy stuff, (sometimes known as pitch).

BAG ‘M: After the pinecones are cool, throw them into a plastic garbage bag.

SCENT ‘M: Sprinkle pinecones with 20 to 30 drops of essential oils. Cinnamon oil is always a holiday favorite. I also like to mix in a few dashes of eucalyptus and clove oils, but cinnamon is the base. Other fun things to add if you have them around: Dried rosemary, cloves, lavender, pine needles, juniper branches, cedar chips (leftover from BBQ season)… just about anything that smells great when you rub it a little. One time I carved up an old hunk of French soap and threw it in. I have heard of people using the stubs of scented candles. You decide!

HARD PART: Seal the bag with a rubber band and leave it alone for at least five days. Ten is better. The longer you let the oils permeate the pinecones, the longer the scent will last.

Next Time on Pinecones 101: Star Spangled Warblers. (And not the kind you are thinking of)



  1. says

    I didn’t know this! I love the idea and must try! Three things: 1. not many pinecones here in L.A., but next trip to the mountains _ gathering party! 2. now I’m scared that I am going to be remembered as ‘the aunt with the nose hair.’ Because I have some. And I’m an aunt. 3. did you change something with your comments, or is it me who’s messed up? I can’t seem to post comments as myself without filling out a form.

  2. Jamie Seibert says

    fantastic! i was a girlscount yet do not remember these, however I will be trying them this year! My husband has me (almost) convinced to get a fake xmas tree…. something i have been opposed of b/c I love the smell a fresh tree gives the house. But I agree with him that the upkeep and mess are not desirable. soooo, use pine scented oils and we might have a good middle ground! i am still not sure I want to deprive our future kids of the joys of christmas tree shopping though. it was one of my favorite holiday past times growing up!

  3. Mariekelly474 says

    I was a girl scout and Indian princess, but have never heard of this. I grew up in the 1960’s in the south and it was WORK to pick up those damn pinecones. I do love the Long Leaf pinecones, and will have to try this. Come on down……we have them by the millions! Love your website!

  4. nutbird says

    I love pinecones! I have collections as you know. I also want to get a pinecone swap going. I have never heard of this and as you know, I know almost everything. Our sewing group used to dip pine cones in melted crayons and sell them as fire starters. We made a fortune to hand out around town. I also have bags of balsam needles. I’m not crazy about cinnamon smells but I think I’ll get some pine oil. I love, love to spray pine cones gold, about 10 coats. One of my favorites are the kind from South Carolina. They are as big as a pineapple.

  5. says

    I was at the check out line at Michaels today, and almost passed out from cinnamon poisoning from all the pinecone bags they had lining up the lane

  6. Slverria says

    You have given me so many ideas I have never tried before…love it! One word of advice. Watch for critters that hide in the cones. My brother ended up with a tick last time he was collecting!

  7. Javasia says

    I plan to use the scented pine cones as a Christmas gift for parents. Would it be a problem if I decorated the pine cone after it is scented. Glitter held on by glue. or some petals painted?

    Thanks for sharing,


    • aunt peaches says

      Sure! Go for it.

  8. Kyla says

    Hi, I was wondering if you can use cinnamon extract in place of the oil..?

    • aunt peaches says

      I don’t think it will have the staying power of the oil, but you can try?


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