How to Make Perfume in a Lab

Written by lana m. ulrich
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How to Make Perfume in a Lab
Creating a homemade, eco-friendly perfume is simple to do. (perfume image by Andrey Rakhmatullin from

Making your own perfume at home or in a lab is a great way to personalise your own particular scent. It is also a more eco-friendly alternative to buying fragrances in stores, as many commercial perfumes use petrochemicals that can have a negative impact on the environment and cause serious health problems in animals. Learn how to make homemade perfume by using simple, natural ingredients, and who knows---perhaps you will discover a new business, passion, science project or hobby along the way!

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Essential oils
  • Glass beaker
  • Denatured ethyl alcohol (pure grain alcohol)
  • Distilled water
  • Beeswax
  • Flowers
  • Glass or metal container
  • Cheesecloth

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  1. 1

    Decide what type of perfume you would like to create. Perfume itself normally contains 22 per cent of essential oils; Eau de Parfum has between 15 and 22 per cent essential oils; Eau de Toilette contains 8 to 15 per cent; and Eau de Cologne has only 4 per cent. Depending on the type of fragrance, use more or less oils.

  2. 2

    Next, select the right essential oils that will result in the fragrance you wish to create. There are hundreds of essential oils to choose from; bergamot, chamomile, cedarwood, ginger, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, lemon grass, nutmeg, orange, patchouli, peppermint, rosemary, rose, sandalwood, tea tree, thyme and vanilla are some examples. Visit a local health-foods store or online retailer to purchase essential oils.

  3. 3

    In a small glass beaker, add several drops each of your chosen essential oils. Only add a few at a time, and smell the concoction frequently in order to monitor how the scents are combining. Once you feel that you have created the perfect mixture, slowly stir in the alcohol---between three and five teaspoons, depending on the amount of oils. If you cannot find grain or perfumer's alcohol, vodka will suffice, but make sure it is at least 100 per cent proof.

  4. 4

    Cover the oil and alcohol mixture, and let sit in a cool dry place for 48 hours.

  5. 5

    After 48 hours, uncover the perfume and stir in up to one cup of distilled water. Ultimately, the strength of the perfume will depend on the ratio of fragrant oils, alcohol and water in the final blend, so use your discretion when determining how strong or weak to make the fragrance.

  6. 6

    For the creation of a solid perfume, or as alternative to using an alcohol-based fragrance, set aside the essential oil blend created in step 3. Heat 1/2 teaspoon or so of beeswax over a Bunsen burner or hotplate, and combine with the oil mixture in a small container with a lid, such as an antique case, a small tins, or old lip-balm jars. Consider adding crushed flowers to this mixture to heighten the depth of the fragrance and add colour and texture to the final product. Let sit for 10 minutes until the mixture hardens.

  7. 7

    As another alcohol-free alternative, simmer handfuls of washed, dried and chopped flowers in distilled water in an aluminium pan. Let simmer for two hours, turn off heat, and let the mixture cool. Strain through a cheesecloth, and pour into a perfume bottle to store.

Tips and warnings

  • Store perfume in a cool, dry place.
  • Use caution when handling ethyl or grain alcohol, as well as alcohol-based perfumes, as both are extremely flammable.
  • Follow proper safety procedures in the lab while using a Bunsen burner or open flame.

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