How To Create Your Very Own Smudge Sticks

Photo by Ally Sands

Mugwort and cedar and sage, oh my!

Let’s be real, the world today is totally screwed up. With all of the negativity and madness we’re constantly seeing, hearing, or reading about, we could all benefit from cleansing ourselves from bad energy and vibes every so often. That’s where the act of smudging comes into play.

While smudging rituals date back to ancient Native American culture, they have gained a lot of popularity lately. The ancient practice consists of burning a special bundle or stick—which can contain a number of different plants or herbs, depending on which properties appeal to you—and using its smoke to cleanse and protect yourself or the objects around you.

Even if you’re not already familiar with smudging, chances are you’ve seen bundles of sage and Palo Santo for sale and wondered what they are for and how to use them. Today, you can purchase these tools pretty much anywhere and everywhere—from small neighborhood shops to Etsy and CB2.

With that being said, we thought How fun would it be to make our own? We’re obviously always down for a little DIY action, and with the holiday season now in full swing, what could make a more perfectly thoughtful and unique holiday gift for friends and family?

We reached out to Ally Sands, the brains behind crystal-infused apothecary Aquarian Soul and smudger extraordinaire, to give us the lowdown on creating our own smudge sticks. In addition to her array of healing facial, body, and bath products, she also carries a variety of gorgeous floral smudging sticks and bundles, which are a far cry from common sage and Palo Santo. These colorful blends of dried flowers and herbs are as stunning as they are healing, and we couldn’t help but feel inspired to create our own. 

Below, Sands shares with us her step-by-step guide to building beautiful smudge sticks. It’s easier than you think! 

Photo by Ally Sands

Gather your supplies
First things first, you’ll need to gather all of your supplies. Below, Sands outlines the most common tools and plants you’ll need to create your smudge wand:

  • Scissors
  • String
  • Sage (white sage is most common, but any type of sage you have growing near you, like black sage, desert sage, or even common culinary sage, can work in a pinch)
  • Mugwort
  • Cedar
  • Lavender
  • Rose

Sands recommends opting to only use plants that you grow yourself or that you can sustainably harvest. However, store-bought roses will work if that’s all you have, as the flowers serve more of a decorative purpose compared to the herbs.

The traditional elements of the smudge stick are the sage, cedar, and mugwort, with white sage being the most common. “It’s been used by Native Americans to clear the air of negative energies and prepare for ritual for centuries,” says Sands. “However, it’s becoming more and more scarce as irresponsible wildcrafters pillage white sage without picking properly. If you must use wildcrafted sage, pick only the tops of healthy, mature plants and never ever uproot the plant or take more than two pieces per plant.” 

Mugwort serves as a protective aid and will improve sleep and dreams, making it a great choice during a ritual. While cedar is equally protective, it’s also fragrant and grows in abundance. That being said, Sands recommends using it as the “backbone” of your bundle.

Lavender and roses are optional, but they sure make your bundle a lot more beautiful. Lavender also contains calming, sedative properties, which will help relax you during your ritual.