How to Make Smudge Sticks
Soothing, sweet-smelling sage-and-herb bundles are the perfect weekend project
To freshen the air at home and give rooms a calming, rustic aroma, we like to light a match to a bundle of dried sage and other sweet-smelling botanicals. Any flower or herb that you’d want to bury your nose in will do. Follow the instructions here from Baylor Chapman, the founder of San Francisco’s Lila B. Design, to create your own bundles from the garden’s bounty. Then set them aflame—or simply admire these beautiful packages untouched on a bedside table or a kitchen counter for a lighter, mellow fragrance.
To grow the base material for your smudge stick, plant easy-growing common sage (Salvia officinalis) in the garden. Place in full sun with well-drained soil—occasional deep watering is preferred to frequent drinks. Harvest stems just above new growth; cutting into bare wood will cause dieback.
Try these three variations on our smudge stick, or use them as inspiration to build your own.
Classic: Use a single ingredient, such as California white sage (Salvia apiana). If you find this variety to be too pungent, weave in some California blue sage (S. clevelandii) for a softer fragrance.
Floral. For a combination that looks as good as it smells, use a twig of palo santo as your base and add colorful sprigs of globe amaranth, lavender, miniature roses, and yarrow.
Aromatic. Eucalyptus and cedar make for an earthy duo that’s strong but won’t overpower. Use equal parts of both or play with the ratio if you have a favorite of the two.