Make Your Own Gel Air Freshener (Smelly Jelly) or Scented Pine Cones

See below for Fragrance Oil Primer and instructions on reviving gel air fresheners


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.

The Jar.  First decision 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.









The Gel Crystals.  Add a 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. 

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 detergents.
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 cone.
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 surfaces.

Mama.Sylvia's Fragrance Oil Primer

What can you use fragrance oil (FO) for?


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 another drop 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, click here.
For basic information on candle care and wax types, check out my Candle Primer page
Still have questions?  You can always Email mama.sylvia@steigerfamily.com and get a prompt response! 



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Copyright © 2007-2011 by Sylvia Steiger
Last revised: 11/22/2011
For more information, contact Sylvia.