Making a Pomander Ball

Pomanders have been around for centuries, providing people great scents and aromatherapy. During the Great Plague, they were hung around in hopes of purifying the bad air. Today, there are many varieties available. These here are made from citrus fruits and cloves. They are easy to make, all-natural, and work wonders as moth repellents in your closets. Right before I was making this batch, I was feeling a bit blue. The aromas from the citrus and clove immediately perked me up, I kid you not. They make beautiful Christmas ornaments and decorations that last for years. And yes, they do keep smelling good the entire time. I hope you try making these, holiday or not!


Total Time: 45 minutes


  • oranges, tangerines (scrubbed clean and dried)
  • ribbon
  • scissors
  • marker
  • toothpick
  • cloves


  1. Place orange on center of ribbon. Wrap your orange in ribbon and knot once.
  2. Cross the ribbon to tie it the other way around the orange (like a present), and knot again tightly on the other side.
  3. Give it another knot.
  4. Tie a bow and cut the ends so they're equal.
  5. Use your marking pen to make dots where you'd like your cloves to make a design.
  6. Poke those dots with a toothpick.
  7. Fill the holes with cloves.
  8. Make your way around the orange. You don't want the cloves too close together because the orange will shrink over time, causing the cloves to shift together.
  9. I like to break the heads off some of the cloves to make star shapes.
  10. Continue making more designs on other oranges. You can go freehand, too.
  11. If you'd like to hang them, tie another ribbon under the bow and hang. Alternatively, you can poke a wire through the entire center of the orange, looping the ends, then string to hang. Let these rest in very dry open spaces to avoid molding over the weeks. You can also dust them with ground cinnamon, which also keeps mold at bay (and smells so yummy).
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These are great gifts and certainly lift your spirit with the clove/orange aroma. When dried, these can be hung or kept in closet/drawer for an amazing fragrance.

Orange studded with cloves.

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Every year for Christmas I try to make old fashioned pomander balls: stud citrus fruits with cloves, roll in cinnamon, then put in a cool dark place for several weeks. But this climate is so hot and humid they always mold before the process is complete. I've tried putting them in a very low heat oven but they scorch and smell awful. Anyone have a solution?

peanut from Virginia


October 6, 20070 found this helpful

How about if you re-think the process. The item that molds is the orange - so discard it and replace with a styrofoam ball. Cover the styrofoam with something that will permit cloves to penetrate (or pre-make the holes with a straight pin) and secure with a dab of special glue.
For the scent, go to a store (like Ulta or a health food store) and check out their aromatherapy essential oil selection. Right before you present the gift, mist it with the scent. Or soak the scent into the styrofoam (unless it crunbles the foam - must investigate).
The alternative is to buy at great expense some potpourri dried fruit and stick the cloves into these - but this is probably going to cost more $$$ than it's worth.

How about a small crocheted doily wrapped around a styrofoam ball, the ball being first covered in red Saran Wrap. Then do the scenting and give.

Good luck!

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October 6, 20070 found this helpful

Maybe use a food dehydrator?

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By Pollegra (Guest Post)
October 6, 20070 found this helpful

Try using your micro wave. I have done it and it does work. I microwave the pomeranda in 20 second intervals that way you can control how dy it gets and it doesnot scorch.

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By Nick (Guest Post)
October 16, 20070 found this helpful

Maybe putting them in a food dehydrator on the lowest temperature would work. I live in southern California where the climate is dry and relatively warm year round, So I haven't tried this myself.

Good Luck!

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September 27, 20080 found this helpful

We used to use silica to dry them out, like you use to dry out flowers. We'd get it at craft stores, they even have food grade. Anything very dried out won't look as pretty. Also try covering the whole orange with cloves till it dries then remove some the cloves preserve it.

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