Make Your Own Aromatic Reed Diffusers

Make Your Own Aromatic Reed Diffusers

As Fall approaches, I love to fill my home with all the warm inviting scents the season brings along. With my precious little guy running around, it’s important to try and find scented alternatives that are not only flameless but safe and non-toxic – unlike most of the commercial fragrances sold in the stores today.

Reed diffusers are a great option, especially if you make your own. They work really well in smaller areas since they do not have a very powerful scent throw. They are quite simple to put together and pretty inexpensive plus you have the option to create your own favorite fragrant combinations.

Materials Needed:
Tall container – preferably glass to safely hold the oils
Reeds or Wooden Skewers
Carrier Oil {see below}
Essential Oils

When looking for a reed container, make sure you use one that is made of glass or another material suitable for safely holding the oils. {plastics are not recommended as the essential oils can dissolve them} You want the opening of the container to be tapered as well, but large enough to hold the reeds. Cleaned recycled containers can always be used or I simply picked up some vases at the local dollar store.

There are many online retailers that sell reeds specifically for diffusers as the porous fibers work best. You can also get away with using skewers as they work as well. Dried stalks or branches from your garden, such as hydrangea branches can be used as well. The reeds should be at least double the height of the container you are using – and if you are using skewers be sure to snip off the sharp pointy ends.

Depending upon the opening size of the container, it is a good idea to use a cork if at all possible. You can find corks of all sizes at your local craft store. Using a drill bit simply drill completely through the center of the cork to create an opening large enough for the reeds. The cork helps prolong the oil mixture from evaporating.

There are three main ingredients used to create the diffuser oil for the container; a carrier oil, essential oils, and a flow agent.

Carrier Oils – Almond Oil, Safflower Oil, Jojoba oil or Mineral Oil work best. You can also use plain water if you can not find any of the above – though it does tend to evaporate very quickly. Using a heavier carrier oil makes the fragrance slow to diffuse – as a thinner base will travel into the reeds a lot quicker.

Essential Oils – Essential oils are highly concentrated and derived from true plants. An essential oil is basically the liquid distilled from the leaves, bark, roots or other elements of the natural plant. Essential oils are not the same as fragrance oils or perfumes and can usually be found in the health section of local health stores. There are many different scents available so mix it up and have fun creating a fragrance that best suits your taste.

Flow Agent – Inexpensive Vodka works as a flow agent to help the oils be absorbed by the reeds and disperse better. If using water, it also help to bind the oils.

The general mixture for the diffuser oil is 1/4 cup of carrier oil, 12 drops of essential oil, and 1 teaspoon of vodka. More essential oil may be added if you prefer. Extra diffuser oil can be made ahead of time and stored in a sealed glass container until ready to use.

For first time use, fill the container 3/4’s of the way full and insert the reeds, soaking them for at least minutes. Then flip them upside down and replace them back in the diffuser.

Once a week swirl the oil in the container and rotate the reeds to keep the aroma going. The different ingredients in the mixture have a tendency to settle over time and an occasional swirl will help better diffuse the scents. Make sure the diffuser is placed in a room with good circulation to best throw the scent.

Once the reeds become totally saturated they lose their ability to diffuse the fragrance and need to be replaced.

I like the simplicity of a plain diffuser in my own home, though the container can be embellished to fit in with any decor. Some simple ideas using scraps include ribbon rosettes, fabric ruffles or added vinyl.

I love all of the warm scents of fall – they are my absolute favorite – how about you?

This was originally shared as a guest post over at 3 Sun Kissed Boys
Thanks so much Yanet for inviting me!


  1. I need to try this! What a nifty little idea.

  2. Just lovely and thrifty

  3. WAY prettier than the icky ones in the stores.

  4. I love this! THanks for sharing all your great ideas. I can totally do this. And was just thinking of some fun ‘skinny’ things I needed to decorate my small window seal.

  5. Thank YOU, Stephanie! This was a fun project.

  6. I would love to feature this tutorial on my Creative Estates blog. Would you be interested?
    [email protected]

  7. What a great idea..I can’t wait to try this..

  8. Love these! Thanks for the tutorial!

  9. Nice one Stephanie, I was thinking of making these myself and there was your post. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Great idea Stephanie!

  11. Love this. Everything else causes an allergic reaction with me. I am thinking this one would be natural enough to not make me ill. Thanks.

  12. Now I finally know what to do with my milkglass bud vases! Can’t wait to get started on this!

  13. Great idea, We Have many fans in our home so now it is my turn to make some wonderful fall scents! Thankz!

  14. This project rocks! I just wanted to let you know that I featured this today on You Sew Rock Me Fridays. Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

  15. this is neat and different – you’re so creative!

  16. I’ve wanted to do make my own reed diffuser! Thank you so much! I do want to warn you, though, that just because they’re natural, doesn’t mean essential oils aren’t safe and non-toxic. Some can burn or irritate even non-sensitive skin when used neat, so make sure not to leave the pure EO’s where little ones can reach. Once they are diluted in carrier oils, they’re MUCH safer, so I wouldn’t worry about those near my kids (though they can still stain your carpet, lol!)

  17. I love this tutorial, I’m so fed up of buying reed diffusers and then not being able to find a refill (without buying the whole thing again) so can’t wait to try and make my own. I’m sure it will help save money too and would make perfect gifts!

  18. Could you use fragrance oils instead of essential oils as well?

  19. I made this yesterday, but it doesn’t seem to be diffusing the scent. I used safflower oil, vodka and eucalyptus essential oil and real diffuser reeds… Any tips on what I could have done wrong or could do to get the scent to diffuse?

  20. I am so glad to have found your tutorial… I found another tutorial that said just to use oils and carrier oil but I knew there had to be more to it (ie the vodka!) Wonder if this would work with rubbing alcohol instead of vodka?? I don’t have any vodka, but I do have rubbing alcohol….. hmm…


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