Fall craft-Reed diffuser

“What I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.”  Sorry, all of this mulling over my less than abundant crafting skills caused Liam Neeson’s speech from “Taken” to replay in my brain and I had to get it out. Speaking of skills, I rarely attempt anything more artistic than a coloring session. Designing displays, be they home or library-related and I got it, but otherwise my arts and craft skills are majorly lacking. I swear after the 5th grade I don’t even remember making any art projects at school!  Maybe I’ve repressed the memories because they were terrible…therefore, when I felt the weight of the craft blog post on my shoulders, I almost bailed out.

After more consideration, I thought that if I can find a craft that I felt confident enough to attempt and still remain true to my fragrance-loving self, maybe it won’t be a total failure. I may like Pinterest crafts that I see on my feed, but the thought of trolling through countless crafts and gauging my probability of success was too overwhelming for me-I did not even look at Pinterest once for ideas. So what’s a clueless crafter to do? Enter this gem of a book, “Forgotten Ways for Modern Days: Kitchen Cures and Household Lore for a Natural Home and Garden” written by Rachelle Blondel, published by Tarcher Perigee press.


The book is a treasure trove of mini-projects. There are a few sweet old-fashioned sewing projects, some home remedies, natural gardening methods, countless uses for household ingredients, such as honey and vinegar, and a recipe for a DIY reed diffuser. A DIY reed diffuser…hey I can do a reed diffuser, can’t I? Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Homemade Reed Diffuser recipe: adapted from “Forgotten Ways for Modern Days:Kitchen Cures and Household Lore for a Natural Home and Garden”

Materials List:

6-8 thin bamboo skewers, sharp ends removed (bonus for me, I already had these)

1/4 cup rubbing alcohol**

1/4 cup light oil (grapeseed*, sweet almond or light olive oil)

*got this liter of natural grapeseed oil for $5.39 at Marc’s grocery store

Narrow-necked vase or bottle (I wanted to try out 2 types of scented oil, so I needed 2 bottles) total Michael’s bottle/ribbon purchase=$5.90

30-40 drops of your fave essential oil or blends

Does anyone else remember BBW’s fragrance oil line? I still own a bottle of Paris Amour.

I have many fragrance oils and a few essential oils, I thought I’d try lavender essential for the bathroom and a ginger/cardamom blend for the kitchen.


  • Snip off those pointy ends of the skewers with sharp scissors ( I lined mine up with the bottle first to judge the best height before cutting them)
  • Place the rubbing alcohol and base oil into the bottle and swirl around until well mixed (I used this little funnel because I’m a klutz!)


  • Add the essential oil, or fragrance oil if using, swirl again, I also stirred furiously with a skewer but that’s because I overdo things
  • Place as many skewers into the bottle as will fit, DON’T overfill; skewers need room to release the fragrance
  • Decorate your bottle if you like
  • Leave for a few hours then flip the skewers until all of the dry ends have absorbed oil
  • Flip every so often to keep the fragrance wafting
Right about then was when I started getting nervous about how cloudy the liquid was becoming:(

I mentioned to Sandra from FingerCandy blog, that I was thwarted by my craft; you can see why. What went wrong here? I’m pretty sure the photo in the book didn’t show a milky non-blended finished product. Was it my choice of oil? After double-checking my materials, I still wasn’t sure where I messed up, so…on to the internet! Maybe there’s a good reason for researching Pinterest craft projects. Darn this #$@%*! craft…

Here’s what I found out after a few minutes of searching: the alcohol acts as a binder for the oils, but the cheap bottle of alcohol that I purchased was merely 70% isopropyl alcohol. What was the other 30%? Water and ohhh, oil and water don’t mix!

After I walked away in disgust for awhile, I considered my options. I could try to find a 99% rubbing alcohol solution (**WHICH would have been helpful if specified in the recipe!) But I had some from my local drugstore in the house, which was still only 91%, better, but not potent enough. Or, I could explore other options…another ingredient mentioned in the online recipes was the use of vodka. It turns out I had some bottles of that handy, (I like to make Moscow Mules) and vodka sounded like a good idea right about then.

First, I experimented. I didn’t want to waste essential oils on another fail. I didn’t care for the color of the grapeseed oil from the initial try, but luckily I had a bottle of much lighter Safflower oil in the pantry. After mixing that around for awhile, I still wasn’t happy. So, much later, I went with the 3rd alternative I found…water. Yup, tap water. I mixed it with the vodka and the essential oil and according to makeyourownzone.com it’s more easily absorbed by the bamboo than oil is anyway.

I didn’t use the Belvedere, it’s too premium, but I like the look of the bottle:)

TIP: play with your fragrance oil amounts to your preference, but keep the alcohol/vodka and base oil/water a 1:1 ratio, whatever the size of your bottle.


There you have it. Leave it to me to turn a 16 minute DIY into an all day trial and error fest. What’s the lesson for today kids? When everything goes wrong, vodka is the answer. No! it’s this: If you fail on your first attempt, try again until you’re satisfied:)

* I don’t know how long the fragrance will last, I’m hoping a month, but I will update with the results when I can no longer detect a scent.

Forgive the fact that this craft really has nothing to do with fall, you can make a fall scent blend if you’re so inclined. I’ve never been impressed with the few store-bought reed diffusers I’ve tried, not enough payoff for the cost. Now that I’ve got this altered recipe in my repertoire, I might play around with different fragrance blends. It’s also a great way to use up the stash of fragrance oils leftover from my Yankee days. I will keep my failed version in the kitchen to see how it performs and hopefully, the reeds will prevent my husband from mistaking it for salad dressing!

Some personalizations:

Glass beads in the bottle would make a colorful touch, those fancy spiral reeds found at craft stores, any manner of bottle decorations or colored glass vessels and countless combinations of oils.

If you haven’t yet checked out the Fall Fun bloggers’ crafts, what are you waiting for? These ladies know their stuff and make you believe you can do it too! It may just be the post-diy high (is that a thing?) but I plan to get crafty with their projects as guides:

Amanda at ThriftyPolished
Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast
Lauren at LoloLovesScents
Liz at Furianne
Sandra at Finger Candy
Stephanie at Imperfectly Painted
Sunnee at Our Sunny Life.
The first blend I tried with the rubbing alcohol/oil combo completely failed. The oil cleared up but never blended with the alcohol. Each time I went near it I got a strong whiff of isopropyl fumes for 2 weeks. The scented oil never had a chance, I threw this attempt away.
The vodka/water combo worked well for a couple weeks, 12-14 days. I placed in a smaller space and could detect the lavender easily. Then the reeds attracted fruit flies, drunkards I guess, lavender addicts? Goodbye to that mix too. Not what I was hoping for, maybe I’ll rework this one in the future.


7 thoughts on “Fall craft-Reed diffuser

  1. This is a neat craft that I really never thought I could do myself! I’m glad you found out the right combination of ingredients to get it to look how you want it. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Thanks Steph, the bad news is I kinda hated it when it didn’t turn out the way I hoped, but good news is I put the altered lavender version in my bathroom and the fragrance is really coming out. Yay, what a relief!


  2. Whew! I am glad you got it worked out! What a relief, I was stressed for you reading this lol. Don’t you hate it when you sit down to do something fun that is supposed to be stress relieving and then it just doesn’t work out? Seems like a fun idea though to be a blend master and blend up some of your own scents for your home! Great idea and post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I will update in a little while with the results, but I’m actually loving the water/vodka/essential oil combo! Its freshened my bathroom nicely:) It was ridiculously frustrating that a simple recipe would not work out, but I’m glad I stuck with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great idea! My mom has a ton of BBW fragrance oils left from when they went 90% off before they were discontinued. I will show her this because she doesn’t use the lamp rings anymore. Vodka is good for making homemade vanilla extract too. Though i like to use spiced rum. Enjoy your diffuser and update back with how well it does long term. And I may pick up some peppermint oil.


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