Prep Your Pine Cones The only downside to collecting pine cones from outside is they’re likely to have dirt, sap, or even small bugs on them. But don’t let that deter you. It’s easy to clean them. Simply give the pine cones a good rinse in the sink. You can use Thieves dish soap or just water. The scent from the store bought dish soap will linger (and possibly interfere with the oils) so I don’t recommend using anything other than Thieves.
Then, place the pine cones on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake them at a low heat (roughly 200 degrees Fahrenheit) for about an hour. Baking works to preserve the pine cones, opens them up and gets rid of any creepy crawlers. Keep an eye on them throughout the entire baking process to be sure they do not burn. While it is unlikely that they will burn, it is important to take them out immediately if it looks like they are. Finally, remove them from the oven, and wait for them to cool before proceeding to the next step.
Apply essential oil(s) to scent your pine cones, choose any essential oils that you like. While many people prefer to use Christmas Spirit or cinnamon because it’s associated with the fall and winter months, other good options include Citrus Fresh, vanilla, peppermint, and even pine essential oils (Scared Mountain or Winter Lights). You can apply just one type of oil, or you can mix and match. For instance, cinnamon and vanilla blend together to form a pleasant, warming aroma. Place the pine cones in a gallon-size zip-top bag, and pour at least 10 drops of essential oil right inside. You can always add more drops if you feel the scent isn’t strong enough. Seal and shake the bag to spread the essential oil on the pine cones, and then leave them in the bag for a week. Finally, remove them from the bag, and make sure they’re dry before using them to decorate. You also can use a spray bottle for a quicker and more uniform application of the essential oil. Fill the bottle with a few ounces of water and about 10 drops of essential oil to start. (You always can add more.) Then, spray the pine cones, and place them inside the gallon-size zip-top bag. With this method, they only need to remain in the bag for about a day because they’ve taken a more direct hit of essential oil thanks to the spray bottle. Finally, remove the pine cones from the bag, and let them dry completely before placing around your home.
Repeat as Needed Once the pine cones are out on display for a few weeks, they’ll start to lose their fragrance. You can continue to add essential oil as needed to refresh the scent. You don’t have to use the same scents that you previously used on the pine cones, as long as the previous scents aren’t detectable to the point that they clash with the new scents.