Reed diffusers are an attractive way to subtly scent a room. Plain reeds in a decorative jar of scented oil wick the oil out of the jar and release the aroma into the air. Most reed diffusers sold in stores come with synthetic scents, which often smell "fake" and might affect people with allergies. Making your own scented oils for a reed diffuser lets you create more natural aromas and mix oils to suit your tastes.
About Essential Oils
Reed diffuser oils are generally made with essential oils for the scent and a carrier medium to help release the scent into the air. Essential oils can be expensive, but most are so intense that you won't need more than 15 drops to scent a room. When you buy an essential oil, check if it is pure or if it has already been blended with another oil, like almond oil or olive oil. If your essential oil has already been blended, you will need to use more of it in a reed diffuser, or you may just need to add a little alcohol to make it thin enough for the reeds to wick up.
Diluting Essential Oils
There are two ways to dilute pure essential oils for use in a reed diffuser. One way is to use another thinner oil, such as jojoba oil, mineral oil, or sweet almond oil. You can find these products in a natural food store or a craft store that has candle-making or soap-making supplies. Essential oils need to be protected from light to keep them from breaking down, so mix your oils in a dark glass bottle and store them in a closed cupboard. Mix ¼ cup of carrier oil with about 12 drops of pure essential oil or up to 250 drops of blended essential oil. Close the container tightly and shake it gently to blend the oils.
The other way to dilute essential oils is to use a common perfume base called dipropylene glycol, or DPG. DPG has no scent and both dilutes and carries the scent of the oils. You can buy DPG in a craft store where candle-making and soap-making supplies are sold, or you can get it at a chemical supply store. Make sure to get fragrance-grade DPG or you might end up with a strange smell in your diffuser. Use DPG with pure or blended essential oils in the amounts listed above.
Sometimes a homemade reed diffuser won't distribute scents very well. You can try moving the diffuser to a place with better air circulation, and make sure you are using new rattan reeds. Bamboo reeds or reeds that have been used in diffusers before can't absorb oils as well. If your oil solution is too thick, try thinning it with a little vodka. Leave the diffuser for a day, and add a few more drops of essential oil if the aroma is still too faint.