How to make a reed diffuser with a high-end fragrance


I have a confession to make. I’m addicted to reed diffusers! Back in the day, I was a candle girl and would light a handful every evening, but now I much prefer having a few diffusers scattered around the house. While candles still have a place in my heart, diffusers are so much easier for home fragrance. You don’t have to light them, and they tend to pack a bigger punch on the scent front.

Thankfully reed diffusers are gaining popularity so it’s easy enough to find a decent one in a supermarket or drug store (Aldi - I’m looking at you). However, the range of scents is fairly limited. So, I set about finding a way to make reed diffusers that smelt unique and beautiful, without the price tag.

Here’s what I learnt.

1. Use a broader range of oils

You’re not going to get a unique scent with cheap essential oils. Tea tree, eucalyptus and lemon are all lovely, but they’re not what Diptyque are using! Or at least, not on their own. To develop unique fragrances, you need to use unique oils. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot. Oils like vetiver, grapefruit, petitgrain (bitter orange) and geranium are all reasonably affordable, but can add depth and variety to the selection of oils you already have.

2. Add flower waters

Some oils are extremely expensive. I absolutely love the scent of neroli, but it can cost up to £30 for 10ml! Instead, I add a little neroli water for a more affordable touch of the scent.


3. Spend time developing your blend

If you want to create a really special blend, it’s worth spending some time on it. And why not, since this is the fun part! Try lots of different combinations by taking the lids off and wafting several bottles under your nose. If one smells too strong, hold it lower down in your hand to weaken the scent, and use fewer drops when you come to create your blend. Don’t be afraid to use more than 3 different oils - sometimes even one drop of an oil can completely change the way a blend smells. Try to challenge yourself too. I find myself automatically going for ‘standard’ combinations, and am surprised when something I hadn’t thought of works so well.

4. Use a pre-scented ‘base oil’

Your base oil can be any light oil (sweet almond, safflower, grapeseed and the like) and you’ll find that many standard bath and body products are actually one of these base oils with a couple of essential oils added. Recently, I used an old body oil which was a blend of sweet almond and safflower oil with camelina and orchid essential oils. If I'd wanted to use those from scratch, I wouldn’t even have known where to start with finding them! Together with my own additions, they help to create a scent that smells like I spent a lot more on it than I did.


How to make a reed diffuser

Here’s my recipe, though I highly recommend experimenting to see what you prefer in terms of strength of scent. Remember that you will want your diffuser oil to almost smell too strong in the bottle, so that it carries through the room.

You will need:

  • An old 200ml bottle, ideally amber, blue or green to protect your oils from sunlight

  • A small funnel

  • Diffuser reeds

  • 100ml base/carrier oil (sweet almond, safflower and grapeseed work best)

  • 30 drops of essential oils of your choice

  • 1 teaspoon of vodka or rubbing alcohol (must be at least 90% alcohol)

  • Optional - 1 teaspoon of flower water

Place the funnel into your bottle and pour in the oils, alcohol and flower water. Swirl to combine. Drop your reeds into the oil and then turn them 10 minutes later. Turn your reeds once a week for a scent boost.