How To: Smudge Stick

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. Today I’m using sagebrush, lavender, yarrow and peonies (for color). When smoldering, the sticks give off a rustic aroma that’s calming and pleasant.



Here’s how I made mine:

Supplies needed

💐Fresh or dried herbs and flowers 

🧵Hemp twine/rope or 100% cotton 


🔥 Lighter or matches


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.


Step 1

Gather your ingredients. I used fresh: sagebrush, lavender, yarrow and peony petals that were partially dried (4 days old, my mom brought them over Sunday and they were already wilting... time to make lemonade out of lemons).


Step 2

Layer your ingredients, positioning the stems at the bottom and making the base of the stems the same length. This makes the binding process a bit easier.


Step 3

Cut a piece of twine (or 100% cotton thread) that is 4 times the length of your bundle. Tie and wrap 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.


Step 4

For best results, hang your fresh smudge stick and allow at least 3 weeks drying time. 


Step 5

When ready, light the ends and enjoy the calming herbal scent. I normally light a candle and then use the candle to relight my smudge stick as needed. 

Written by Claire McNeil, The Gypsy Life 

Want to make one yourself with some help? We're hosting an event in August where you can make your own. Message us for details.