DiY Essential Oil Diffuser with a holiday essential oil blend
What smells are you looking forward to this December? Pine needles? Cinnamon and ginger? Snow? Candy Canes and caramelized sugar? The sweet-pungent scent of pine logs burning in the fireplace? This DiY essential oil diffuser brings holiday aromas to your home, easily and affordably.
One reason the holiday season fills us with such delight is the awakening of our senses. Our taste, touch, sound, smell, and vision are excited, after all the hard work of the harvest season. We move from tired and sleepy, to alive again by the energy of the season. Light fills all the dark places. With fresh eyes, invigorated, we meet the season with the crunch of boots on snowy paths, the sparkle of diamonds, as the sun kisses snowy fields, and the spicy aroma of cinnamon, ginger, and apples, simmering on the stove top. Our snow-caked woolly mitts spit and sizzle on the stove top, as we slip them onto the drying rack, next to the woodburner. The resinous fire immediately warms us and we feel flush after the walk outside to do chores. There is a satisfying, enough-feeling in November before the wants and hunger of February set in.
One of my favorite things to do with our kids, was driving through the dark December roads, frosty and glinting in the headlights, to scout out Christmas light displays. “Christmas Lights!” someone would say in a sing-songy voice. We’d “ooh” and discuss the fine points of each lighted fantasy.
My favorite was outside of Abbotsford, BC, up on Sumas Mountain, the year the first subdivision went in. That year the realty company created a life-size nativity with a woman, her baby in a manger, and her husband, along with shepherds, sheep, and a few angels – dressed up forms, silhouetted against the light, to give a hint of the classic story. I can still see the star silhouetted on the roof of the stable scene, the music of Handels’ Messiah playing through stereo speakers, hidden behind. We watched the lighted scene for a long time, awestruck, waiting to hear the familiar, “Ha-lle-lu-jah, ♫halle-lujah, ♫halle-lujah.♪♪ “ That night we drove around Abbotsford for another 30 minutes and then returned to catch one more delighted glimpse at the lifesize nativity and listen to the song, one more time.
Aroma is so much a part of the set apart season. Baking smells. The smell of cold air. And especially the sacred smells of frankincense, myrrh, and beeswax candles. There are several options for diffusing essential oils into your home. An electric essential oil diffuser works for about 2 hours and needs to be plugged into an electric socket, limiting it’s usefulness. (This is the one I use.) It needs to be refilled regularly to continue working. While it’s effective, it does require consistent attention.
A reed diffuser, on the other hand, works continually, as long as the reeds draw up essential oils through capillary action. The essential oils evaporate off of the surface of the reeds into the air. Reed essential oil diffusers work without electricity. They work continually. While the reeds need to be replaced about once a month, as the pores in the wood get saturated with essential oils, they are inexpensive to replace. There are even a few free reed replacements you can forage for. (See below)
Equipped with essential oils, a small bottle, and natural reeds, you can make your own essential oil diffuser for just a few bucks. This essential oil diffuser captures the essence of the holiday inexpensively. You can even creatively blend your own natural fragrances to use in your diy essential oil diffuser.
DIY holiday essential oil diffuser
(makes enough fragrance blend for 3 containers)
15 to 20 — 6 inch bamboo skewers, reeds, horsetail fronds, or stemmed dried poppy heads
Small vases or glass bottles
½ cup carrier oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil,
¼ tsp. vitamin e oil
½ tsp. frankincense essential oil
½ tsp. myrrh essential oil
10 drops sandalwood essential oil
30 drops cinnamon essential oil
8 drops clove essential oil
½ tsp. sweet orange essential oil
30 drops bergamot essential oil
Prepare bamboo skewers, reeds, or natural diffuser stems by cutting to 6 inch length with sharp scissors or pruning shears. Clean off any debris. If you want to buy reed diffuser sticks rather than gather them from the wild, you can get them at Amazon here or a Mountain Rose Herbs here.
In a 1 cup mason jar mix carrier oil, of your choice, with the essential oils. The carrier oil should have a neutral smell and remain stable at room temperature. This combination of essential oils gives a complex fragrance that lingers.
Fragrance notes of essential oils in this blend
Top notes: Sweet orange, cinnamon
Middle notes: Bergamot, cinnamon
Base notes: Frankincense, myrrh, Sandalwood, clove
How to blend your own holiday essential oil blend
Once you’ve made a few essential oil diffusers and you’ve seen how easy it is to do, you’ll want to start creating your own essential oil blends. An essential oil blend should be pleasant to your own nose. Since essential oils evaporate their fragrance of different rates, the idea essential oil blend will be made up of a mixture of essential oils. Essential oils are loosely separated into groups based on the staying power of their fragrance.
Compared to musical notes on a scale, essential oils are divided into top notes, middle notes, and base notes. Don’t ask me why that last one is spelled b.a.s.e. instead of b.a.s.s It’s a puzzlement.
Top notes are your first impression of an essential oil blend. Top notes are spritely and uplifting. Top notes evaporate quickly in a blend but linger just a little longer, when combined with base notes, and middle notes. Only 10 to 20% of any essential oil blend should be made up of top notes. Top notes can seem overpowering at first so a little goes a long way.
Middle notes, linger a bit longer than the top notes in a blend and give bulk and body to the blend. No more than 30% of an essential oil blend should be made up of middle notes. Middle notes can be either toward the lighter top note or toward the lower base note. Some middle notes are classed in two note categories, depending on the essential oil blend they are being used in.
The base notes of a blend have staying power. The fragrance lingers for a long time. Base note essential oils also act as a fixative to increase the staying power of lighter top note essential oils. The base notes should make up 50 to 60% of an essential oil blend.
Make your own holiday essential oil blend
Make your own holiday blends using a combination of these precious and evocative essential oils. Use the following chart and your own nose to guide you in your creativity. Don’t be afraid to use expensive essential oils in small amounts to give your personal blend it’s signature. Oh, and remember to write it down in your journal. If your personal essential oil blend
|Top Notes 10-20% of blend
||Middle Notes -30% of blend
||Base Notes 50-60% of blend
A word about essential oil quality
Essential oils are sold in varying qualities. Essential oils are concentrated plant oils and represent the fragrance captured by distillation from many pounds of plant material. The more plant material necessary to extract the essential oil successfully, the more expensive the essential oil will be. Some essential oils are extracted by solvent distillation and some essential oils are extracted by steam distillation. Citrus essential oils like sweet orange, and bergamot are pressed from the peels. When it is possible choose certified organic, steam distilled essential oils. Everyone has a their own favorite brand.
I buy my essential oils two ways. For essential oils where I only need a few drops or less than 5ml, I buy my essential oils in small bottles either from Mountain Rose herbs or from Tropical Traditions. Both of these companies carry high quality, certified organic, steam distilled oils from vetted suppliers. One doesn’t have to buy into a business scheme in order to purchase from these reputable companies, hence the price is generally less.
For essential oils that I used a lot of – like a 1000ml (1 quart size) a year, I purchase from a whole sale supplier and choose certified organic, steam distilled oils. Lavender, tea tree, rosemary, eucalyptus, lemon verbena, orange, anise, cinnamon, and clove are some of the oils that I purchase wholesale each year, in 1 litre/quart bottles. I transfer these to smaller glass bottles for use as the large bottles have wide mouths and can’t be measured in drops.
I used a stainless steel funnel set to transfer the organic essential oils from their large bottles to smaller glass bottles with drop reducers. I really like these Glass roller top bottles for my essential oil first aid kit. They are perfect for DIY perfume blends, first aid blends, and to keep in your purse for emergencies. The ones I have are leak resistant.
Natural materials to forage for the reed essential oil diffuser rods
Poppy seed heads with 6 inch stems
Fine willow twigs with the bark peeled off
Pine needles from long needled pines — 4 to 6 inch length or more
Linden (basswood) twigs, peeled
Birch twigs, peeled
The reeds used for oil diffusers get saturated with the oil over a period of time and have to be replaced. Initially they draw the oil up through the stem by capillary action. Once the reed is fully infused with the oil, no more oil is drawn up and the reed stops diffusing the essential oils into the air. At this point many folks simply flip the stems and let the essential oils evaporate off of the reed. However, no new essential oil is drawn up the stem. Replacing the reed with fresh plant materials will extend the functional life of your essential oil diffuser.
If this seems like too much work to you, you can buy a pretty pinecone reed diffuser with pine scented fragrance oil (not pine essential oil) for $40 to $60 on Amazon, like the Thymes Frasier Fir Pinecone Reed Diffuser.
Or mix your own organic essential oil blend (the healthier choice) or even use a single fragrant essential oil like pine or cinnamon. And add reed diffuser sticks (made in China of rattan)