Make Your Own Herb Sachet

This activity comes to us from the educators at Prospect Park’s Lefferts Historic House. Check out the Lefferts at Home page for more.

Today we’re bringing you a fan favorite craft at the Lefferts Historic House, the herb sachet, based on an 18th century creation made to offer a fragrant smelling aroma in a world of unpleasant odors. 

In the 18th century, New York City’s streets were filled with livestock, garbage, and animal droppings, and bathing was not as simple as it is today. People were constantly being assaulted by bad smells, sometimes coming from themselves, so they turned to the use of herb sachets. 

Herb sachets are pouches of cloth stuffed with wool and spices. They are easy to make, and 18th century people could hold it to their nose if they smelled something unpleasant. These instructions will teach you how to make your own sachet with cloth, string, some spices and cotton balls. 

We normally use spices like star anise, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Rosemary, thyme and sage would also be good additions to a sachet. See what you have in your spice cabinet and what smells good to you!

Materials Needed:

  • Cloth square (8x8in)
  • String
  • Cotton balls or other filling
  • Spices—approximately one tablespoon total
  • Markers or other supplies for decoration

Step 1:
Cut out a square of cloth, about 8×8 inches. It can be larger but try not to go too much smaller or it will be hard to tie up. To personalize your sachet, decorate it at this step, or at the end. 


Step 2:
Take about 8 cotton balls and squish them into a clump. Use your thumb to press a pocket into the middle of the clump—this is where the spices will go! 


Step 3:
Place your spice mixture in the pocket within the cotton balls—no more than a tablespoon total of spice. The cotton will help the spice stay together inside the sachet.

Step 4:
Place your cotton ball full of spices into the center of your cloth square. Gather the corners and edges of the fabric together and scrunch them together tightly, to avoid leaks. Tie your string tightly around the fabric and knot it to seal up the spices—you may need an extra set of hands for this.

Your herb sachet is complete! You can use it to bring a fresh scent to a room or drawer, or carry it around like people did in the 18th century.