Thursday, October 25, 2012

DIY holiday simmering scents

Artificial scents from candles and plugins have bothered me (instant headache) for more years than I can remember, so I've loved making my own "scents" for a long, long time.

I remember as young teen when my mom would pull down the Christmas decorations, and inside one of the many rubbermaids was a mini holiday crock pot. I would grab it and run to the kitchen for cinnamon sticks, lemon slices, and whole cloves, fill my little crock pot with water, and plug it in on my desk. My room smelled heavenly all month, until the Christmas decorations were put away after New Years.

Try making your own all-natural simmering scents this holiday season, and package them up to give out as gifts! I used mason jars, because they're reusable and no plastic goes to waste. They also look great.

Here's what you need:
  • Whole Cinnamon Sticks
  • Whole Cloves
  • Whole Allspice
  • Dried Orange and Lemon Peels/Slices (you can buy these, or make your own!)
  • Ginger Root (cut into chunks)
  • Star Anise (optional) 
For packaging:
  • Mason jars
  • Fabric scraps
  • Paper tags 


There is no actual "recipe" for these scents, you basically just fill up each jar so it looks pretty. The easiest way is to layer the bottom of the jar with cloves, then add in the 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 3-4 lemon and orange peels/slices, 1 allspice, 1-2 chunks of ginger, and 1 star anise (if using). Fill in any remaining open areas with cloves.

Tie fabric scraps around the jar and add a gift tag along instructions.

Simmering instructions:
  • Pour jar contents into a small saucepan and fill with water. Simmer on low, keeping a close eye on the water level. 
  • You can also simmer these in small crock pot or "dipper," potpourri warmer, candle or mug warmer, or mini fondue pot!
  • The scents should last 2-3 days. The peels and spices will soften and make the water murky, but as long as they're giving off scent, they're usable! 

Inspired by:

Ginger Citrus Simmering Spice at Tattered Sisters 
DIY Natural Room Scents at The Yummy Life
Simmering Scents at Dandee Designs

Find more holiday inspiration by following my Pinterest "Holiday Yumminess & Prettiness" board!


  1. love it! i am a candle and potpourri hater as well, but this sounds like a perfect solution! i wonder if you could somehow use pine boughs too? my mom went fake-tree long ago and the smell is the biggest thing I would be clever/cute to use "add snow" instead of water to the instructions...or rain if you're in portland...

    1. Mandi, you totally can! I saw it on another DIY.


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