Festive, Fragrant DIY Pomanders

Pomanders – a fragrant combination of fruit and spices – are as decorative as they are aromatic. It’s easy to make a basic version, and once you’re confident, you can make variations, and then use your imagination to create eye-catching designs.

The Basics

Here’s what you’ll need for the basic version:

Whole cloves
Elastic bands or a length of ribbon

How to:

  • The easiest way to begin is to put an elastic around the orange, or tie a ribbon around it. This marks the first row of cloves.
  • Use a toothpick, a skewer, or the sharp end of a small knife to make small holes at regular intervals along the elastic band.
  • Push cloves into each of the holes.
  • There – you’ve got your first row!
  • When you’re finished, you can tie a ribbon around it, or fasten a ribbon on with cloves, to hang it if you wish.
  • You could also run a thin wire through the fruit to hang it, bending it at the bottom end to hold it.
  • Once you’ve got a good handle on how to create the rows, you can create any kind of geometric design or pattern you can imagine, using the toothpick first to map it out.
  • You can also create geometric lines with a zester, and alternate them with lines of cloves.
  • You can also use masking tape to create a pattern of lines you can follow.


  • The more cloves you use, the better preserved it will be, i.e. the longer it will last.
  • If you want to hang them, it’s best to use smaller oranges, lemons or limes.

Multiple Uses

  • You can also create several, and place them in bowls, as a centerpiece, stack them in pyramids, or display on a mantlepiece.
  • If you are creating a stationary design, you can mix it up with greenery such as holly or laurel.
  • Hang them in a closet to add a natural fragrance to your clothes.
  • Place them in drawers to keep linens smelling fresh.

Make Them Last With A Spice Mix

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon allspice

  • Mix the spices together on a plate with a lip to prevent spills.
  • To add to the scent, once you have pressed all the cloves you’d like into the fruit, you can roll it in the mixture of spices.
  • Leave the oranges in the spices for about a week, turning them once a day.
  • When they’re ready, dust off the spices, and they’re ready to hang.
  • To help make them last longer, store the pomanders in a paper bag in the fridge for a week or two. The juices are drawn out by the spice, and they’ll shrink slightly in size, while being less prone to spoil.
  • An alternative, or an addition to the spice mix is to roll the fresh pomanders in powdered orrisroot, also called Queen Elizabeth root, which is a natural preservative.

Once dried, they will last for a couple of months.

Variations on the Theme

You can start to mix it up, and create variations on the basic design.

  • Star Anise: this fragrant spice is very decorative – a great addition for a holiday pomander. You can use a hot glue gun to place them on the orange skin.
  • Cinnamon: you can use short pieces of rolled cinnamon sticks to punctuate your designs and add a different scent.
  • Blood Orange: the skin of many blood oranges has some of that rich red bleed, making it a decorative potential pomander.
  • Lemons, Limes & Grapefruits: these can also be used for pomanders, and will add a different note to the fragrance.

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