Smudge sticks are derived from Native American culture, where they were used in ceremonies to cleanse and bless people and places. The sticks are usually made up of dried sage, but can be made with many other combinations of dried herbs and flowers like lavender, rosemary, thyme, or any other scents you prefer. When smoldering, the sticks give off a rustic aroma that’s calming and pleasant.
DIY Smudge Sticks
Here’s how we made ours:
- Fresh or dried herbs
- Twine or 100% cotton thread
You can make smudge sticks using bundles of both dried and fresh herbs and flowers. It’s a little easier to work with fresh because the stems are less brittle so you can really work it into any shape you like, but dried has its benefits too! You know that lavender plant that you forgot to water? Don’t just toss it, strip the dried lavender or use whole stems to make smudge sticks.
Gather your ingredients. I used fresh sage, rose petals that were partially dried (about 5 days old) and completely dried mini rosebuds.
Layer your ingredients, positioning the bases of the largest leaves (or stemmed herbs) at the same level as one another. This makes the binding process a bit easier.
Cut a piece of twine (or 100% cotton thread) that is 4 times the length of your bundle. Make a simple knot on one end of the string and tighten it around the stems, binding the bundle together. This should leave one side of the string approximately 3 times the length of your bundle.
With the long end of the string, begin to wrap the bundle tightly, spiraling up towards the top of the bundle. Fold in any stray sprigs, tucking them under the string as you go. Once you reach the top of the bundle continue wrapping, crisscrossing the twine as you head back down toward the base. Tie the loose end to the original knot at the base of the stick.
For best results, hang your fresh smudge stick and allow at least 3 weeks drying time.
How to use smudge sticks
When ready, light the ends, blow out the flame, and let the end continue to burn. Fan the smoke into the corners as you move around the space. Then place the still burning bundle in an abalone shell (a glass or clay bowl also works) and enjoy the calming herbal scent. You can find more info the history and origins of this ritual in our guide to smudging post.
After you smudge, throw open the windows to help get rid of negative energy. Keeping windows locked tight traps both toxins and negative energy inside the home. If the weather allows, throw open some windows and let the breeze refresh your home and fill it with clean, positive energy.
Keep the good vibes going by diffusing air cleansing essential oils or with a palo santo room spray. When combined with energy-clearing ingredients like sea salt and white sage essential oil, palo santo creates a potent room refresher that acts as a smokeless alternative to traditional smudge sticks.547