Accentuate any room in your home with scented potpourri displays that you can easily make yourself. The supplies for making potpourri consist primarily of dried materials, such as flowers, fruit, herbs and spices. Potpourri blends can include any two or more of these supplies and are scented with aromatic oils for lasting freshness.
One of the most popular supplies for making potpourri is dried botanicals. Pressed leaves and dried flowers create a colourful display for potpourri centrepieces and sachets. To press dry flowers and leaves, place fresh material between two coffee filters. The coffee filters help absorb the water from the leaves and flowers during the drying process. Sandwich the filters between the pages of a book, then add weight to press the book completely closed. After about two weeks, the flowers and leaves will be dried and pressed. You can also hang flowers to dry for potpourri. Clip the stems upside down along the bottom of a clothes hanger. Suspend the hanger in a cool, dry location for several weeks. No matter which drying method you select, spray the dried botanicals with floral glaze to help preserve the colour.
Dried fruit is another decorative element for homemade potpourri. Slices of lemons, limes and apples in a bowl with dried berries, leaves, flowers and spices create an ornamental accent for your kitchen or breakfast nook. To make dried fruit slices, peel and core the fruit, if desired. In the case of lemons and limes, the peel adds colour to the potpourri. Cut the fruit into uniform slices. Wash blueberries, cherries, apricots and other fruits with skins to prepare them for the drying process. Steam the fruit for three to five minutes prior to drying. Place the steamed fruit on a parchment covered baking sheet---don't let the edges touch---and bake in a 150 degree oven to dehydrate the fruit. Check the fruit periodically to make sure that it is not cooking---you only need to remove the moisture. Remove the dried fruit from the oven and let it sit uncovered for at least 12 hours.
Spices and Herbs
Cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans and dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme and lavender add scent as well as decoration to potpourri. Purchase cinnamon sticks and whole vanilla beans from speciality food stores. You can break up the cinnamon sticks and the vanilla beans before adding them to the potpourri mixture, or use the whole pieces as accents around or on top of a potpourri display. Dry fresh herbs the same way you would dry flowers and leaves, pressing them in a book or hanging them upside down to preserve the shape.
Essential oils enhance the aromatic properties of any potpourri mixture. Extracted from plant material, essential oil is a concentrated liquid that is available in a wide range of scents at craft, home decor and speciality food stores. Sprinkle a few drops of essential oil into a bag of potpourri during storage or onto a potpourri display. Mix two or more types of essential oil in one potpourri supply to create distinctive fragrances.
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