Festive & Fragrant Pomanders — a great tradition and an easy craft too!

Orange and clove pomanders are so very simple to make, oh so very beautiful, and exactly the festive touch every home needs too. The colour instantly brightens a room, but the very very best feature is their delightful scent! The smell is incredible! Fresh, yet warm, these oranges studded with cloves are the essence of Christmas and add to the festive atmosphere! We love making them as ornaments and hanging from our tree.

Pomanders at Christmas are popular in Germanic and Scandanavian countries, but we recommend you adopt the tradition! I have been making them since I was about nine years old but this year I realised a few tips so my little children (2 and 5 years old) could make them easily too. Actually I was surprised at how focussed and excited they were to make them!

We had the very best time introducing the idea at a little crafting workshop at our recent ShopUp. So enjoy these photos as a tutorial, and do try them at your home too!

My children love making these! So learn how to!

Materials :

  • firm, fresh, oranges, or citrus fruit! (firm is key, clementines and tangerines look pretty but can be a bit too soft)
  • buy cloves by bulk (much cheaper)
  • a wooden skewer … (toothpicks are ok, but so fiddly to pick up that you will waste time trying to grasp for it, and for little hands it is a lot of fine motor work)
  • rubber band, optional
  • string, twine, or ribbon, decorative and optional

Here are the easy steps :

  1. Decide what pattern you want to make! Although arbitrary is fine too!
  2.  I start from either the top by the stem or from the very base of the orange, especially if doing a symmetrical design. Using a wooden skewer, pierce the orange, maybe three holes at a time, then insert cloves. Try not to let the cloves touch too much!
  3. If you want a very straight line, use an elastic rubber band to follow the line around the orange.
  4. Continue until you are happy with your final result.
  5. Then, if hanging, tie decorative twine or ribbon around it.
  6. Each day, you may want to push the cloves in a bit. As the orange dries, it gets smaller. By pushing in the cloves you are keeping the juices locked in. Juice means mould. Avoid moisture! So try to keep it from getting juicy, and be sure to plug up every hole with a clove!

I don’t do this, but supposedly you can make the orange last longer if you “cure” it, or dry it out. To do this, you can place it in the oven on a rack at a low temperature (around 150 degrees Celsius) for an hour or two — the bonus to this is that it makes your house smell spectacular.

I love them on decorative ribbon hanging up! But you can keep them in little bowls around the house too. Turn them in the bowls so they dry evenly, but I highly recommend hanging them when possible.

They have a great history throughout the ages, not only as a lovely gift, Christmas decoration, but also as a closet freshener. They also serve as a chemical free way to repel pests, such as moths.

The warm scent of clove and orange welcoming you each time you enter the room. However you make them, we hope you enjoy them!

And thank you to Nadine Brandt for the lovely photos from the ShopUp of my pomander making. Such a great memory to have!

Lara x

ps We also love this very simple pinecone craft in the Winter months. And the birds love it as well.



Comments (1)

December 21, 2018

Dear Lara, your posts make me always happy. Thank you for sharing your ideas with us. Greetings from Prague – and merry Christmas to you and to your beautiful family! Mira

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