Make Your Own Gel Air Freshener (Smelly Jelly) or Scented Pine Cones
See below for Fragrance Oil Primer and instructions on reviving gel
You don't have to pay a fortune to have these delightful and attractive
gel air fresheners in your home or office! All it takes is a jar,
the gel crystals, some fragrance oil, a few drops of liquid food
coloring, and a non-metal spoon. Distilled water works best, but
tap water will work fine for most purposes.
is to select the jar. As a rule of thumb, the larger the mouth
opening in relation to the size of the jar, the better scent
distribution you will have AND the faster it will be used up. An
8 oz jar is a popular size, particularly Mason jelly
jars (bottom left of photo). Besides being easy to purchase and
tough, these jars come
with 2-part lids; you can leave the inner lid in place to keep the gel
intact until you are ready to use it, then remove the inner lid to
use. You can also cover the mouth opening with fabric or lace,
then use the screw part of the lid to hold it in place. But there
is nothing wrong with using leftover jars that you have around the
house, as long as they have been well-washed and dried.
All the following instructions are based on an 8-oz jar; if you use
something smaller or larger, adjust the volumes accordingly
The Non-Metal Spoon. To
be honest, I don't *know* that a metal spoon will cause problems.
But metals do sometimes interact with chemicals, and fragrance
oils contain a lot of different possibilities. To be safe, I
suggest using a wooden or disposable plastic spoon.
generous teaspoonful of gel crystals to your jar. The "kit" I
sell is pictured at left, with the gel crystals in the little plastic
bag. It won't look like
much, but the crystals REALLY absorb water. Add
3/4 cup water to the jar. Distilled water will
absorb better but tap water is okay.
The Additives. First,
stir in your food coloring of choice. Add just 1-2 drops for a
paler color, 4-5 drops for a rich jewel color. (Do NOT use candle
or wax dyes. Soap or lotion liquid dyes will work fine.)
Once it is stirred
in, add a teaspoon of fragrance oil and stir well. (If you want a
very strong fragrance, add 2 teaspoons of fragrance oil.) Tiny
beads of fragrance oil may develop; they aren't a problem. I like
to give it an occasional stir while absorbing to promote even
distribution of scent, but it's probably not necessary.
After about an hour, you're done! Keep the lid on tightly until
you want to release the lovely scent. When the air freshener is
used up, don't throw it away; the gel crystals can be reused up to 4
times (depending on how much the fragrance oil depletes their
water-holding capability) and then worked into your garden soil.
(I sell potassium-based crystals, not sodium-based, so they will
actually function as fertilizer in your garden.)
To keep your gel air freshener working as long as possible:
DON'T EMPTY GEL CRYSTALS DOWN THE DRAIN.
(Putting something that absorbs water down a drain that water runs in
-- bright idea, right?) The best disposal of used-up gel crystals
is in your garden. The fragrance oil has evaporated, and any
small residual absorb-and-release capability will be wonderful for your
garden; once worked into the soil, the gel crystals both reduce need
for watering and aerate the soil.
- ONLY use distilled water
- Add a teaspoon of alcohol (rubbing, Everclear, or high-proof
vodka or gin) about every 3 months to prevent mold
- Periodically add more distilled water when the crystals have
noticeably shrunk, and add another teaspoon of fragrance oil when the
scent seems to be getting weak.
Make Your Own Scented Pine Cones
1. Collect pine cones. They should be clean and intact. If needed, you
can wash dirt off with cool or lukewarm water, but do not scrub or use
2. Arrange cones on a glass or ceramic plate so they are standing
upright. You may put crumpled paper towels under the bottom to hold
them upright, but do not use plastic or metal.
3. Hold a bottle of fragrance oil that is equipped with a dropper over
a cone, and drip 1 drop onto 3-4 scales of the cone. Repeat for each
4. Allow to dry completely, about 24 hours.
5. Bag in a pretty mesh bag or a ceramic or glass bowl, or use as
mantel decorations. Always use a ceramic or glass plate or bowl to
display them, do not place directly on plastic, wood, or painted
Mama.Sylvia's Fragrance Oil Primer
What can you use fragrance oil (FO) for?
- Candles Probably the
most common use is in scented candles. Paraffin, soy, and
palm wax candles can all be scented, although soy is somewhat
quirky about which FOs it blends with.
- Gel air freshener
(Smelly Jelly): This popular item mixes FOs with waterlogged
crystals. As the water gradually evaporates, the scent diffuses
through the room.
- Soap, lotions Fragrance
oils and essential oils are the scent source in scented soaps and
lotions, including shampoos, shower gels, bath salts, and body
lotions. However, not all FOs are safe to use where they will be
in contact with skin. If in doubt, test!
- Reed diffusers Mixed
with a special thinning oil, FOs will diffuse through reeds and spread
through the air, functioning as a kind of air freshener
- Flameless candles Again, FOs need to be thinned with a
special oil to be used here.
- Potpourri Once the
original fragrance of potpourri has been depleted, it's easy to revive
by sprinkling with FO and letting dry.
Reviving Smelly Jellies
For Smelly Jellies: if crystals are dried up, add 3/4 cup water and
stir well. Let sit until water is absorbed. If fragrance is
weak, add another teaspoon of fragrance oil and stir well.
For Aroma Ornies: lay drained ornie on wax paper or ceramic plate, NOT
metal or plastic. Drop a drop or two of fragrance oil on the
ornie and use a toothpick or paper towel to spread it around. Add
or two if necessary to coat the whole ornie. Let absorb
undisturbed, which might take several days. When top is
completely dry, lift ornie. If scent is strong enough, continue
using. If you would like a stronger scent, lay ornie on other
side and apply fragrance oil and allow to absorb as above.
I sell only 100% uncut pure fragrance oil!
To see the fine candles and other scented products I have for sale,
For basic information on candle care and wax types, check out my Candle Primer page
Still have questions? You
can always Email firstname.lastname@example.org and get a prompt
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Copyright © 2007-2011 by Sylvia Steiger
Last revised: 11/22/2011
For more information, contact Sylvia.