Craft Potpourri


The art of making smelly crafts.

Spend any time around kids at camp and you'll notice some… well… smells. There's the smell of pancakes in the morning and smoke around the campfire. Let's not forget the smell of a camper's suitcase where he stored an entire week of dirty socks.

How about incorporating some "good" smells during your craft programs? Using spices, dried flowers and concentrated oils while crafting helps children experience a variety of odors. Odors much more pleasant than stinky socks!

The following are assorted craft projects using spices and other aromatic supplies.

Extra Smelly Potpourri

Here's what you need:

New or used dryer fabric softener sheets

Thin ribbon

Assorted citrus peels, cloves, dried lavender or Potpourri


Nylon net

Follow these steps:

1. Lay out a section of nylon net on a flat surface.

2. Place the dryer sheet on top of nylon net.

3. Cut nylon net so it is same size as dryer sheet.

4. Scoop 1 tablespoon potpourri or assorted dried fruits and flowers in middle of dryer softener sheet.

5. Carefully gather both pieces of fabric to form a small pouch, with spices in the middle.

6. Use ribbon to tie ends shut.

7. Place "Good Smell Bags" wherever you want a pleasant odor.

Potpourri Play Dough

Here's a great recipe for kids to make that lets them be creative while using "smelly" play dough.

Here's what you need:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

1 cup potpourri or an assortment of dried fruits and flowers

Up to 1/2 cup water

Follow these steps:

1. Have children break up the dried fruits and flowers into small pieces. Tear rose hips or sunflower petals into tiny pieces, or if using potpourri, make sure all the elements are in small sections.

2. Mix flour, salt and "scented" elements together.

3. Slowly add water, until mixture is consistency of play dough.

4. Let children make miniature sculptures.

5. Air dry overnight.

Mini-Sweet Smelly Pies

Here's what you need:

Cookie sheet

4 cups flour

1 cup salt

1 1/2 cup hot water

Assortment of potpourri items

Follow these steps:

1. Mix salt and hot water so salt dissolves.

2. Add flour.

3. Mix until mixture is smooth.

4. Give campers chunks of dough and ask them to make mini-pie shells.

5. Fill each "pie" with a few dried fruits or flower petals.

6. Roll out excess dough into short strips.

7. Attach a few strips to top of pie to make a lattice effect.

8. Bake pies on cookie sheet for about 1 hour on 300 degrees.

9. Let cool before giving to campers.

Easy Potpourri Jars

Here's what you need:

Assortment of supplies for making potpourri

Clean baby food jar or other small jar (no lid)

5" paper doily

Assorted markers

Rubber band


Follow these steps:

1. Set out an assortment of potpourri making supplies such as dried fruits, scented oils, cloves, dried flower petals, etc. Take time to talk with campers about the smells and textures of each item. How are dried rose petals different from a blooming rose?

2. Let children select various items to put in their jar.

3. Use the markers to decorate their doilies.

4. Place the doily on top of the filled jar and attach with the ribbon.

5. The potpourri jar is both decorative and sweet smelling!

Sweet Smelling Wreath

Here's what you need:

Unwanted CD

Votive or small candle

Assorted dried fruits and flowers

Silk leaves (available at Dollar stores)

Glue (low temp glue gun works best)

Follow these steps:

1. Glue candle in center of CD.

2. Glue a few silk leaves around candle.

3. Add larger pieces of dried citrus, dried apple, jasmine flowers, cinnamon chunks, etc, around candle.

4. Display your candle wreath!

Cinnamon Applesauce Air Fresheners

Here's what you need:

1 cup applesauce (cheapest brand possible)

1 1/2 cup cinnamon

1/3 cup glue

Cookie cutters

Waxed paper

Thin ribbon


Follow these steps:

1. Mix applesauce, cinnamon and glue until it forms a smooth ball. If too sticky, add more cinnamon.

2. Chill for about 30 minutes.

3. Roll dough on waxed paper about 1/4"-1/2" thick.

4. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes.

5. Use the straw to make a hole in top for hanging.

6. Let dry at room temperature for two days.

7. String a ribbon through hole and hang "cookies" for a warm, cozy smell.

Making and using potpourri:

According to San Francisco Herb Company (, here are a few tips on using potpourri ingredients:

1. Mix dry ingredients in a non-metal bowl or even a paper bag.

2. Fixatives such as Oak Moss, Orris Root, Cellulose, Citrus Peels and spices help absorb, preserve and release the fragrance of your blend.

3. Dyed potpourri items should be blended after potpourri is scented to prevent color from bleeding.

4. Use a pipette to gradually add fragrance or essential oils to potpourri. Campers often want to add a few teaspoons of fragrance, which can be very over-powering!

Silvana Clark has over 20 years experience helping thousands of children create arts and crafts projects and presents keynotes and workshops on a variety of recreation related subjects. Silvana can be reached at (615) 662-7432 or

Bryan BuchkoComment