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DIY Reed Diffusers

I love reed diffusers. But the diffusers with the fragrances I like are always so darn expensive. And the inexpensive reed diffusers -- I'm not always keen on the scent options.

But they are so easy to make yourself. Seriously. Even if you don't consider yourself at all crafty, you can do this. And the end result looks beautiful, not like a cheap homemade knockoff of what's available in the store.

In fact, I like the homemade diffusers better than the store bought versions for a few reasons. First, you can choose a super cute bottle (because I want it to look gorgeous sitting on my desk). Second, and most importantly, you can customize your fragrances to what suits you.

If chemical fragrances bother you or give you a headache, you can make an all-natural reed diffuser with essential oils to scent your home. 

Want to make a custom scented blend for a friend? You can do that too.

These make darling gifts for friends and family, too. And when you tell them you've custom blended a fragrance just for them, they'll feel so special (and think you're the cleverest darn thing ever.)

Here's what you'll need:

A glass jar/flask with a narrow mouth opening

5-6 rattan reeds (Hobby Lobby or Michael's -- just $2-$3 for a pack)

1/4 cup canola oil or sweet almond oil

1 teaspoon fragrance oil (the stuff you use for soap fragrance is fine, as is candle fragrance oil) 
OR 30-35 drops essential oils of your choice

Optional: 90% rubbing alcohol

Step 1: Find a pretty glass jar with a narrow mouth opening. Yes, it must be glass, because all fragrance oils and essential oils are corrosive and can eat away plastic. And a narrow mouth keeps the scent from evaporating away too quickly, so as much as I love mason jars they simply won't do for a reed diffuser.

I found some super cute little jars at Michael's for $1 a piece that are perfect.

Step 2: Pour 1/4 cup canola oil or sweet almond oil into the jar. No need to fill the jar completely. Mine only comes about halfway up the jar -- perfect!

Canola is a light, inexpensive oil with a long shelf life and no scent, so it works great for this application. Sweet almond oil works too, it's just more expensive so I like to save that for lotions and lip balms.

Olive oil has a scent itself, so I don't care for using it in a reed diffuser. And, although many other recipes call for safflower or sunflower oil, these both have a short shelf life. I want the oils in my diffuser to last!

Step 3: Add 1 tablespoon 90% rubbing alcohol (you can find this at your local pharmacy; don't use 70% because it won't mix properly). The rubbing alcohol helps thin the oil so it can travel up the reeds more quickly.

But the alcohol is completely optional. I don't often use it and the diffuser works just fine (it only takes a bit longer for the oils to travel up the reeds.)

Pour the alcohol into the oil and swirl to disperse. If you're not using alcohol, just skip this step.

Step 4: Add your fragrance oils or essential oils. You can add a bit less if you want a subtle fragrance, and a bit more if you want a stronger scent. Since this isn't going on your skin you've got tons of wiggle room here!

Swirl your jar to incorporate your fragrance/essential oils.

Step 5: Stick your reeds into the jar and you're done. Give the oil a day or so to travel up the reeds and begin releasing the fragrance into the air. You can turn the reeds after a day to help speed the process, or whenever you want an extra boost of fragrance.

Eventually, the fragrance/essential oils will completely evaporate and the reeds will be oil-saturated. When this happens, replace the oil, fragrance and reeds and make yourself a new blend.

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