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Make Scented Pillows | Inspired Ideas

Photo/Art by Webb Chappell
I love hosting family and friends in my home. When I have overnight visitors, I like to make them feel welcomed. Leaving a scented pillow on a guest’s bed is one of my favorite greetings–and what’s best is that it’s also his or her gift to take home as a fragrant memory of a warm visit. Always a fan of the gift within a gift, I like to embellish each pillow with a vintage scarf and brooch (or for gentlemen, a tie and tie clip). All of these components look beautiful together, but may be enjoyed individually as well.

Instructions to Make Scented Pillows

1. First, assemble your materials. At your local fabric store, ask for cotton drill (a durable twill weave). It’s usually priced at about $5 to $10 per yard; one yard can make six pillows.

2. Find a quantity of loose New England balsam, either from local craft sources or for about $3 per pound from Kelco Industries ( Another source is Vermont Balsam ( Lavender, sage, rose petals, and rosemary are other fragrant filling options.

3. Scour local flea markets for scarves and brooches. One of my favorite spots is Todd Farm in Rowley, Massachusetts, on the North Shore (

4. Now it’s time to put it all together. For each pillow, sew a portion of fabric, wrong side out, into a 10-inch square, leaving 1 inch open for the balsam filling.

5. Turn the pillow right side out. Using a kitchen funnel, fill the pillow 90 percent with balsam.

6. Sew the 1-inch gap closed.

7. Wrap the pillow with a scarf and tie a bow.

8. Fasten with a brooch, and voila–a surprise gift for your happy guest!

2 Responses to Make Scented Pillows | Inspired Ideas

  1. Andrea McKenzie December 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

    Has anyone made this? I’m unsure exactly how much balsam will be required for each pillow. Since I don’t have a balsam tree in my backyard, I need to know exactly how much to order.

  2. Leslie Evans April 26, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    how much balsam for a 5 inch pillow?

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