DIY Pomander Holiday Balls Made From Small Oranges
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(Image credit: bonchan)

Are you looking for simple holiday decorating ideas? Try making DIY pomander balls. What is a pomander ball? A pomander ball is an aromatic holiday crafting project using citrus fruit and cloves that can be used in a few ways that make your house smell fantastic. Read on to learn how to make a pomander ball.

What is a Pomander Ball?

Cloves are rather synonymous with the holidays (pumpkin pie!) and the aroma of cloves combined with oranges is sublime. This particular combo creates the quintessential pomander ball.

A pomander ball is a whole citrus fruit, usually an orange, that has been studded with cloves. The cloves can be grouped or inserted in the fruit in a pattern. The DIY pomander balls can then be hung as ornaments, used in wreaths, or just grouped in a pretty bowl or basket.

The word pomander comes from the French “pomme d’ambre,” which means “apple of amber.” Long ago pomander balls were made using ambergris, a byproduct of the sperm whale’s digestive system and used to purify (cover up) “bad air” during the era of the Black Death. The French term refers to the ambergris and the round shape of a pomander.

How to Make a Pomander Ball

A DIY pomander ball is a truly easy holiday crafting project. You will need:

  • citrus, generally an orange but any citrus will do
  • a toothpick or a nail
  • whole cloves
  • paper towels

You can group cloves, make them into spirals around the fruit, or create another design. Using the toothpick or nail, pierce the citrus and insert the clove. Continue to follow your pattern.

You can also use a channel knife to remove the bright outer layer of the citrus. Then insert the whole cloves into the designs you have made with the channel knife. This gives a little extra pop.

Holiday Decorating Ideas Using DIY Pomander Balls

If you want an even stronger fragrance emanating from your DIY pomander balls, you can roll them in ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, or a combination of spices.

If you wish to hang them, push a length of wire or a barbeque skewer through the center of the fruit and then thread a ribbon or line through.

Allow to dry in a cool, dry area for two weeks or shake them around in a bag of orrisroot. When dried, use as ornaments, on wreaths or added to swags, or just grouped in a container garnished with evergreen sprigs. They also make wonderful air fresheners for closets, linen cupboards, and bathrooms.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.