Make These Easy Pomander Balls for a Throwback Holiday Scent

Follow this guide to make simple, nostalgic holiday decorations that will fill your home with the cozy scent of Christmas.

Pomander balls are a fancy term for oranges decorated with cloves that make your home smell amazing for the holidays. DIY pomander balls can be hung as ornaments, used in garlands, or arranged as a part of a festive holiday centerpiece. Get our must-have tips for creating your orange pomanders. We'll also show you how to use other citrus fruits as well. All you need is a few simple ingredients available at the grocery store. Drying the finished pomanders is a great way to create a lasting Christmas decoration. Plus, we're sharing easy ideas for decorating with oranges and cloves for Christmas and beyond.

pomander bowl of oranges with cloves
David A. Land

How to Make Pomander Balls

Supplies Needed

  • Oranges (or other citrus fruit)
  • Toothpick
  • Whole cloves
  • Paper towels

Step-by-Step Directions

Follow our easy directions to make your pomander balls. If you're making simple designs, each ball will take only a few minutes to make.

Step 1: Poke and stick

Getting the kids involved in the pomander ball process can be a fun (and only a little messy) Christmas activity. It's as easy as sticking whole cloves into a fresh orange. To avoid hurting your fingertips, we recommend making holes in the rind ahead of time with a toothpick, skewer, or another small piercing tool (like this Commercial Ice Pick with Sheath, $4, Bed Bath & Beyond). Be sure to keep some napkins or paper towels around for the orange juice that's sure to escape!

Step 2: Create designs

Once you have the hang of adding the cloves to the orange rind, try making detailed designs. Plan out the design of each pomander ball ahead of time with a pen. Try designs like swirls, stripes, stars, or Christmas figures. Kids are sure to have fun planning and creating their designs, and you'll enjoy the delicious scent their pomanders create when they're finished!

Greenery and pomanders in a basket with floral foam

How to Use Pomander Balls

Once you've made your pomander balls, display them somewhere you'll be able to enjoy the holiday scent. Place them in a Christmas centerpiece, dress up a festive garland on a staircase or mantel display, or include them in a holiday arrangement. To create a gorgeous arrangement, we recommend filling a container with floral foam. Use florists wire to secure evergreen sprigs, pinecones, and pomanders to the foam. Fill in any holes or gaps with extra greenery until the foam is covered.

If you plan on hanging your pomander balls as Christmas ornaments, tie decorative ribbons around the oranges before you plot your design. This way, you won't be attempting to arrange a ribbon around the cloves.

Centerpiece with greenery and fruit pomanders

Other Fruit Options

Maybe orange isn't your favorite smell—if so, don't be deterred from making pomander balls. Other citrus fruits make great pomander balls as well! Add cloves to grapefruits, lemons, or other citrus fruits for a slightly different scent and an added pop of color. You can also mix orange pomanders with cut citrus fruit for a unique blend of scents.

Drying Your Pomander Balls

Once each of your citrus fruits has cloves in perfect order and design, hang them up to dry. The scent of any pomander ball comes through once the fruit has dried a little. Hanging them up can help your pomander balls dry quickly and avoid mold. Be sure to make your pomander balls right at the beginning of the Christmas season—you want to make sure they have enough time to dry and become aromatic before the season is over.

Pomander balls are beautiful, smell great, and provide the perfect addition to your Christmas decorations. Plus, getting the entire family involved is a great way to build more Christmas memories and add to your family's Christmas traditions. Drying the fruit and cloves at the end of the season is a wonderful way to remember the memories your family made while making this Christmas craft.

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