Have a Very Smelly Christmas: An Aromatic Ornament Tutorial

Aromatic herb ornamentIt’s the holiday season, and I understand that my house is supposed to smell like cinnamon and cloves and nutmeg and whatever, but I hang out all day with two little kids–my house smells like burnt popcorn and the laundry that I forgot to take out of the washing machine last week and the doings of the kid who’s afraid to flush the toilet. Also, nutmeg? Eh.

Gluing junk to cardboard with the kids the other day, however, I had a flash of inspiration: that stuff in the kitchen? That smells good? That I don’t cook with on account of I don’t know how to cook? It could make my house smell less redneck!

Come on–get some glue, some cardboard, and some smelly stuff you don’t know how to cook with from your kitchen, and your house can smell less redneck, too! We’ll make an ornament out of dried herbs or seeds that can scent your house and look festive from now until spring.

Cardboard herb basesYou will need: used cardboard, a cookie cutter or other cutting template, white glue, some aromatic dried herbs or seeds (don’t use the powdered stuff!), sturdy sharp needle and thread

1. Find some herbs. The beauty of this ornament comes entirely from the color and texture of the herbs, contained within the simple cut-out shape, and from their scent, and you should be as creative as you like in choosing your aromatic herb. My current favorites are cardamom and fenugreek seeds, and dried spearmint and rosemary. You can see, though, how the powdered stuff is not exactly going to work for this project–that stuff, you can cook with.

cardboard spread with glue2. Using a cookie cutter or other cutting template, cut out two identical shapes from your used cardboard. You will be gluing these together back-to-back, and gluing your herbs onto the fronts.

3. Spread a good layer of white glue all over the fronts of your cardboard shapes. You want it to be thick so that you can embed your herbs into the glue for a firm hold–the glue will dry clear, and as long as you don’t get any on top of your herbs, it’ll look awesome.

4. Press your herb all over the fronts of your shape, embedding everything into the glue in a single layer as much as possible, and using your fingers to keep the herbs confined within the cardboard shape.

finished ornament hanging somewhere stinky5. Shake off the excess, and let dry.

6. Glue your two identical shapes together back-to-back, and let dry.

7. With a really sharp needle, a nail, or a micro-punch, punch a hole into the top of your ornament, thread some pretty yarn through, and hang your new ornament up somewhere stinky!

Want to have a handmade holiday? Take the handmade pledge and check out some other options for crafting a Green Christmas.

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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  1. I went through this Indian cooking phase that lasted just long enough for me to pore through an authentic Indian-food cookbook from the library numerous times and buy all the spices I’d need for all the recipes I was interested in–I didn’t cook a thing. I don’t actually cook. I don’t know what I was thinking.

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