If you have a wood-burning fireplace, consider making scented waxed pine cones to use with your kindling to start your fires. When burned, the cones send a delightful scent throughout the room. Create for your personal use or give as a lovely gift.
–Pine cones—size doesn’t matter as long as they can be totally immersed in the melted wax. The usual size is three to five inches.
–Three or four bars of paraffin wax (available at craft stores) – see the notes at the end of this article about the use of paraffin wax.
–A double boiler (or an empty metal coffee can large enough to dip the pine cones in
–Wax candle coloring agent (available at craft stores)
–Essential oil of choice. Be sure you are buying a genuine essential oil or you won’t have much scent.
1. Melt wax in the double boiler or empty metal coffee can placed in a pan of simmering water on LOW heat (the can is preferable because you can just throw it in the recycle bin when you’re done and the wax has cooled).
2. Add the wax candle coloring agent until you get the color you like.
3. Add one or more droppers of desired essential oil until the scent is to your liking.
4. Using tongs, dip each pine cone into the wax to coat. Lift the cone and allow it to drip off excess. Place upright on waxed paper and allow to dry. Drying completely will help the next coat stick to it.
5. Dip repeatedly, drying between coats, until you are satisfied with the thickness (usually three or four coats will suffice). Too many coats will make the pine cone lose its detail and it may end up looking like a waxed lump, so use your judgment on thickness.
6. When completely dry, place the cones in a basket by the hearth or give as a gift.
Notes and hints:
Wax must remain completely melted during the dipping process or it will cause a dull, lumpy finish on the cones.
Leftover wax may be reused—just cover the can with a lid or foil when cool.
Paraffin wax is flammable. Keep the heat low, check the simmering water often, and don’t allow wax to drip onto the burner. In case of fire, turn off the heat and then place a wet, wrung-out cloth over the wax container. DO NOT throw water on the burning wax.
When using the cones in the fireplace, place a screen in front of the fire.
Suggested colors and scents:
Red wax with cinnamon oil, clove, or cranberry
Green with oil of balsam
White with vanilla oil
Pink with rose oil