This post was originally published in 2011 and has been recently updated with additional photos and steps. I'm re-sharing it today because it makes a great project to make with the kids during the Thanksgiving weekend!
Learn how to make orange clove pomander balls, a classic holiday tradition. They're easier than you think and will make your home smell amazing for the holidays!
Pomander balls are very simply those oranges decorated with cloves you probably made for your mom back when you were in the Brownies.
They are so easy to make, a fun holiday craft project to include the children in, and will fill your home with the scents of the season.
And make super festive Christmas decorations!
How To Make Orange Pomander Balls
- Whole Cloves
- Oranges (or other Citrus Fruit)
- Wooden Skewer or Toothpicks
- Paper Towels
All you need is a can of cloves (found in the spice aisle of the grocery store),
some oranges and a wooden skewer or toothpicks.
The paper towels are just to catch any juice that may leak out of the oranges when you're poking holes in them. This project can get your hands a little sticky.
Plan out a design for the oranges. Stripes, stars, circles, and swirled patterns are popular choices and easy to accomplish. Alternately, you can go with just covering the entire orange with cloves for a super simple design.
To make your pomanders, just simply poke holes in the orange with the skewer and then push in a clove.
It is really that easy!
Cloves are sharp and pointy by nature, so you wouldn't have to use a skewer to make a hole, it just saves you a little time to poke a hole first. And is also easier on your fingertips, since you'll be inserting a LOT of cloves into each orange.
Please note - if you are making these with children, make sure you supervise their use of the skewers or toothpicks.
The smell of the clove mixed with the juice of the orange is heavenly.
The cloves also help preserve the orange as it dries and acts as an anti-microbial. But it really is all about the scent!
Christmas pomander balls only take about five minutes each to make and the cost of three oranges and a can of cloves is around $5.00.
Those Brownies know something about making easy and classic crafts.
Additional Fruit Options For Pomanders
Oranges aren't the only fruit that can be made into pomanders, so if orange isn't your favorite scent try one of these:
Basically, any citrus fruit will work.
A note about Clementines though, I made them for hostess gifts a few years ago (you can see the post here - Cloved Clementines Hostess Gift). They were aromatic and looked so cute stuffed into mason jars as a fun packaging idea, but they did not last a long time. I think the reason is the fruit was not firm enough. Clementines tend to have looser skins than oranges and limes.
How To Use Pomander Balls
- Give As A Hostess Gift - wrap in a cellophane bag with instructions printed out (or a history of the pomander).
- Hang On The Christmas Tree - all the better if you have a live tree, so you can get the pine scent mixed in with the orange and clove scents!
- Use As A Centerpiece - making a grouping of pomanders in the center of the holiday table for a festive look.
- Dress Up Holiday Decoration And Garland - tuck them into just about any place you have holiday greenery whether real or faux pine boughs.
- Use As A Sachet - hang one in your closet for the fresh aroma.
Drying Pomander Balls
If you want your pomander balls to last long after Christmas, you will want to dry them. They can actually last for years!
You can use a dehydrator set at a low heat (100° or so) until they have hardened.
Since I do not have a dehydrator and prefer to do it the old-fashioned way, I hang my pomanders and air dry them for roughly 6 weeks. Hanging your pomander balls will help them dry quicker than leaving them in a bowl. This will also help them avoid mold while drying.
I normally make two sets of pomanders, one I use for holiday decor and the other I make for drying for year-round sachets.