Although essential oils are most well-known for being used in aromatherapy, they can be used in different ways in addition to adding a few drops to your temples or to a diffuser. If you’re looking to expand your essential oil use and get creative, we’ve rounded up 10 DIY ideas that you can easily do at home. And, once you try them all and find your favorite one, you can make these DIY essential oil projects into thoughtful gifts for all your friends.
Although essential oils have lots of great properties, they can also cause photosensitivity. Make sure to research the ingredients and read the safety information from the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy before adding specific essential oils to products that are used on the skin.
1. Scented Candles
Candles are a great decorative item and can be quite cheap and easy to make at home! You’ll need to use a double-boiler method to melt the soy wax, then pour it into a glass container with an affixed wick. To make it scented, spice up this common DIY project with your favorite essential oils. Read our step-by-step instructions on how to make a scented candle.
2. Reed Diffuser
If you don’t want to buy an electric diffuser or want to scent the air in a place that doesn’t have easy access to electricity, you can make your own reed diffuser. Grab a small decorative vase with a narrow opening, add ¼ cup of a carrier oil (such as coconut or almond oil), add about 15 – 20 drops of essential oils, and pop in a handful of reed diffuser sticks, et voila! Reed sticks will probably be the only thing you don’t have on-hand, but they can easily be found online, at your local craft shop, or candle store.
Pro tip: Essential oils usually travel up the sticks and release the scent, however, that can take a few days. Feel free to flip the reed sticks after a few hours to get immediate benefits!
If you’re tired of commercial perfumes, it’s time to dive into DIY-ing your own scent with essential oils. You only need to gather a few supplies: a 5ml rollerball bottle, an unscented carrier oil like jojoba, and your choice of essential oils. One thing to be aware of is that too much essential oil in your perfume oil can cause irritation to the skin, so a good standard to keep in mind is 80 drops of carrier oil to 20 drops of essential oils.
4. Hand Sanitizer
We’ve all been using more hand sanitizer over the last couple of months than usual and, sometimes, it’s been hard to find in stores. Some hand sanitizers can be quite harsh and dry out your skin or just have a strong alcohol smell, which is where essential oils can help! The CDC recommends hand-sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol.
You can usually find and use isopropyl alcohol or ethanol with 91 to 99 percent at your local drug store. A good rule of thumb is to use two parts isopropyl/ethanol to one part aloe vera gel (which will make it about 60 percent strength) and add your preferred essential oils such as peppermint, lemon, or eucalyptus.
5. Decorative Potpourri
A fun DIY idea with essential oils–that will also leave any room smelling great–is creating your own potpourri! Take any type of flowers (roses are always a favorite), cut off the stems, and lay them in one layer on a piece of parchment paper. Once the oven is preheated to 175 degrees, transfer the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and let the flowers bake for one and a half to two hours. Once the flowers are nice and dry, mix 10 drops of essential oils with a fixative such as orris root to make the scent last four to six weeks.
6. Vanilla Body Scrub
After a long day, there’s nothing better than giving your body some much-needed self-care in the form of a sweet-smelling body scrub. With many higher-end body scrubs costing $30 to $50, you can make your own at less than half the price. All you need is ½ a cup of brown sugar, ½ of coconut, jojoba, or grapeseed oil, plus two drops of essential oil. Pro tip: Vanilla essential oil pairs well with brown sugar. Mix everything together in a large bowl and pour into a clean container to use next time after your shower. This body scrub will last for up to one month.
8. Body Lotion
Now that you’ve scrubbed off all the dead skin, you’ll want to keep your skin hydrated with a body lotion. So, why not make one yourself? This way you can match your scrub and lotion scents!
This easy DIY project just needs three ingredients: ½ cup solid cocoa butter, ½ cup coconut oil, and 15 drops of your preferred essential oils. Add the cocoa butter and coconut oil into a heat-proof container and put it into a saucepan over medium heat until melted. Once liquefied, pour into a bowl and cool in the fridge for half an hour. Once cooled, dispense the essential oils into the lotion and stir. Keep your jars of body lotion at room temperature and use within six months.
8. Scented Bar Soap
Using a melt and pour method, you can create fun bar soaps with different scents and dried fruits and plants. Using the double-boiler method, melt one pound of goat’s milk soap base on the stove. Incorporate about 20 – 25 drops of essentials oils and a food dye for color. Pour into your choice of silicone mold–square, rectangular, or round! At this point, stick a few herbs, fruit, or flower petals that match your oils. A few oil blend ideas for your DIY bar soap include lavender and rosemary, lime and spearmint, and anise and orange.
9. Surface Spray
Although this shouldn’t replace your commercial-grade cleaning products for disinfecting purposes, a natural surface spray can help clean grease and dirt while making your kitchen and surfaces smell fresh. First things first, pick up a 4 oz. glass bottle with a spray top as a container for your DIY essential oil surface spray. Add a 1 to 1 ratio of white vinegar and water and about 10 to 12 drops of essential oils. Try a mix of lemon and lavender or orange and cedarwood.
10. Dry Shampoo
Looking for a way to get fresh, clean-smelling hair on the day when you don’t wash it? Adding a few drops of cedarwood and tea tree essential oils into your dry shampoo can help you feel refreshed! To DIY your own dry shampoo, stir together three ingredients: ¼ cup of cornstarch or arrowroot powder, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, and 4-5 drops of essential oils throughout the dry ingredients. If you’re using multiple essential oils, only 1-2 drops of each is needed. If you have dark hair, you can also add 2 tablespoons of cacao powder.