There are a wide variety of commercial fragrance oils available for making candles. These are relatively easy to use and are usually designed to burn well with a candle flame. Unfortunately, many of these fragrances are made with synthetic scents, and they can smell fake or even release dangerous toxins into the air. Making your own fragrances gives you control over the materials that go into your candles, and allows you to be creative and invent your own scents.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Pure essential oils
- Olive oil
- Pint-sized clear glass wide-mouth jars with lids
- Flower petals (such as freesia, geranium or rose)
- Herbs (such as rosemary, sage or basil)
- Spices (such as cloves or cinnamon)
- Citrus zest
- Mixing bowl
- Small (3 to 5 oz.) dark glass bottles with stoppers or seals
Make a quick fragrance oil by mixing your favourite pure essential oil into olive oil. Read the label carefully to make sure it is actually pure essential oil extracted or distilled from plants, with no other ingredients. Add up to 10 drops of essential oil to ½ cup of olive oil. Close the jar tightly and shake it to distribute the scent. Put the jar in a cool, dark place overnight, and test it to see how the scent has matured. If you are mixing scents, let them sit up to a week before using them in a candle, as the scents may not mature as you expect.
Use the scented olive oil in an oil lamp, or put a few drops of it near the wick of an unscented candle. You can also add this mixture to melted candle wax to pour into your own moulds. After the wax has melted, take it off the heat and add the scented olive oil until it’s as potent as you want. Mix it well into the wax before pouring it into moulds.
Make your own fragrance oil with your favourite crushed flower petals or spices, chopped herbs or citrus zest with an extraction process called enfleurage. Put 1 cup of olive oil into a pint jar. Add 8 tbsp of flower petals, 6 tbsp of chopped herbs, 4 tbsp of crushed spices, or 6 tbsp of citrus zest. Any of these materials can be used individually, or you can mix them to create your own scents.
Close the jar tightly and shake it well. Leave it in a warm, sunny place for 48 hours, and shake it every 12 hours.
Put the cheesecloth over a mixing bowl, and empty the jar into the mixing bowl. Let the oil strain out as much as possible, then squeeze the cheesecloth over the bowl to extract as much of the scent as possible.
Pour the oil back into the jar and repeat Steps 3 through 5 with fresh materials to add new scents or to make a scent have the desired potency.
Use a funnel to pour the strained scented oil into small, dark glass bottles. Store the bottles in a cool, dark place and use as in Step 2.
Tips and warnings
- Use refined or virgin olive oil. It is not necessary to use the more expensive extra virgin olive oils, because they all hold the fragrances equally well.
- Be sure to use very fresh flowers and herbs, as these have the most potent aromas.
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