So hey, I did a podcast

Kimberly Wilson, a very lovely lady, interviewed me for a podcast on her blog Tranquility du Jour. We talk about tea, historical fiction, and of course, perfume. It was a new experience for me and a lot of fun. I was insanely nervous because I actually was 30 minutes late for the podcast because I can't read apparently and messed up East Coast vs. West Coast time and then I was afraid the baby would wake up and yada yada yada here you go. Even if you don't want to listen, there are some links to books I recommended to her so definitely check those out. I apologize profusely for the horrible, horrible vocal fry. I lived in Los Angeles for the majority of my life ok? I know I do it, but I can't stop. It is my great shame.

Featured on Offbeat Home!

The tutorial I wrote a while back on how to make perfume oil was featured on the Offbeat Home website yesterday. Heck yes! I love the Offbeat Empire and I'm so excited I could be a part of it. Here is the link to my article as it appears on their site: http://offbeathome.com/2012/09/diy-perfume If you've come from Offbeat Home and wanted to learn more (or if you're a reader and have forgotten), here are links to some of my other tutorials:

How to Make Your Own Eau de Parfum

How to Make Solid Perfume for Lockets and Compacts

Happy Perfuming!

How to Make Your Own Solid Perfume for Lockets or Compacts

Tired of TSA throwing out your perfumes or relegating them to a checked bag and spilled contents? Then have I the tutorial for you. We've talked about making perfume oil and eau de parfum, so it feels right that we should now discuss solid perfuming.

Making solid perfume is incredibly easy and fun! Once you get the process down, it only takes about 15 minutes and you're left with endless gift possibilities. You can put your perfume in a locket, compact, tin, pocket watch...seriously, any kind of small compartment will do.

No complicated maths this time around (HECK YES) so let's get right to it!

What You Need

3 essential oils or fragrance oils depending on what you want. If you want all natural perfume, only use essential oils. Fragrance oils can contain synthetics but have already been diluted in carrier oil so they tend to be less irritating. When choosing essential oils, make sure to look up any health advisories they may have as not all EOs are skin safe. Brambleberry has a nice, affordable selection of both EOs and fragrance oils. If you would like just one specific scent (lavender, jasmine, etc) it's ok to just use one essential oil.

3 pipettes or glass droppers

2 small bowls - use ceramic or glass as you will be melting the wax. I put the glass bowl over a candle and melt but you can use a stove or microwave.

Measuring spoons

1 tablespoon beeswax

1.5 teaspoons of Jojoba or Sweet Almond Oil. Trader Joe’s has a nice Jojoba in their spa section that is both affordable and great for dry skin beyond your perfuming needs.

Locket or container for your perfume

Let's Do This!

In our other tutorials we talked about a perfume being made up of base, heart, and head notes. If you need help deciding what essential oils to use and in what order, refer back to the sections "The Basics," and "How Do You Pick the Right Oils to Go Together?" in the tutorial on making perfume oil.

Alright, in this recipe, we are going to use 40 drops of essential oils. As we learned previously, the ratios of base, heart, and head are:

2 parts base : 1 part heart : 1 part head

That means we will have 20 drops of our base note and 10 drops each of our heart and head. Math, we have conquered you!

Using your pipette, count out 20 drops of your base essential oil. When finished, put the oil and the pipette aside. Next, use a clean pipette and count out 10 drops of your heart essential oil. Finally, using your last clean pipette, count out 10 drops of your head essential oil. Put your pipettes and oils to the side, they are done.

Next, measure out 1.5 teaspoons of Jojoba or Sweet Almond oil and mix with your essential oil concoction. Stir it up and sniff to make sure you like the scent. If you don't like it, toss it now and repeat the process until you've found a combination you like. If it smells heavenly, then let's move on to wax melting.

That site I mentioned earlier, Brambleberry, carries beeswax or you can find it at your local health food store. Slice off a tablespoon of beeswax and place it in your empty ceramic/glass bowl. Melt the beeswax thoroughly so that it is completely liquid. I prefer to do this over a candle but however you can melt it is fine. Once it has been liquefied, pour your essential oil/jojoba mixture in with the beeswax and stir over low heat. If you see solids form when you pour the perfume into the beeswax just gently stir it until the mixture is liquid again. Once your perfume/beeswax concoction is stirred and thoroughly liquid, pour it into your container. If you have a small locket I advise using a pipette to transfer the perfume so that it doesn't spill. Be advised that the wax will start to harden so if you do use a pipette make sure it's one you don't care about as it's hard to get wax out.

Let your locket or container sit open for the next 15 minutes. Marvel at the wonders of science as you watch your liquid perfume slowly solidify. Once it has cooled down and looks hard, close the lid. It's ready for immediate wear/use, but solid perfumes tend to smell amazing after they have sat untouched for a week. I'm not telling you what to do, but I am. Wait. It's worth it.

If your perfume comes out mushy that means you might not have added enough beeswax. The beautiful thing about making solid perfume is that if you mess up... you can just re-melt it and fix.

Clean Up

As you have no doubt noticed, melted wax is messy! Soak your bowl for a bit and then rub it down with a paper towel. Try to scoop all the wax out with the paper towel before putting it in the dishwasher.

I hope your solid perfume came out amazing and that it was a fun experience. I got into perfumery after making a solid perfume locket for a friend as a birthday gift. You never know where life will take you.

How To Make Your Own Perfume: Eau de Parfum

I've dubbed today, Tutorial Tuesday, and on this most wondrous day of DIY, we shall be fancy and French. Remember how we learned how to make perfume oil? Well, today we're going to learn how to make the gold standard: Eau de Parfum. Translated by Google, Eau de Parfum means "Perfume." :O

So what's the difference between perfume oil and Eau de Parfum? Well, for starters, Eau de Parfum is probably what you're used to wearing. Instead of using a carrier of Jojoba like we used in our perfume oil, Eau de Parfum has alcohol and is what you buy at most stores. It's that friendly little spray bottle that you can carry in your purse and spritz on throughout the day, or you can be all 1930s awesome and have an atomizer bulb.

Alright, so now that we have the terminology down, let's get to work.

If you have not already read my tutorial on how to make perfume oil, go there first. Read until the section: The Maths. Then you will be sufficient expert in basic perfumery and blending so that we may begin. Go ahead. I'll be here.

The Maths for Eau de Parfum

Ick. More math. But don't worry, Eau de Parfum math is arguably easier in that you can get Google to do most of the work for you. For today's lesson, we are going to use a 10ml atomizer bottle. As you recall from last time/what you just read, each ml has 20 drops, sooooo:

20drops X 10 ml = 200 drops

Our perfume today will have 200 drops. Alcohol based perfumes are generally comprised of the following parts:

20% essential oil

70% alcohol (190proof)

10% distilled water

So if our essential oils comprise 20% of 200 drops, that means that we need 40 drops total of essential oil. 70% of 200 is 140, so 140 drops of alcohol. 10% of 200 is 20, ergo, 20 drops distilled water. (Thanks Google!)

This makes figuring out how much of each essential oil a lot less complicated. Since our note ratios are:

2 parts base: 1 part heart: 1 part head

That means the drops will be:

20drops base: 10 drops heart: 10 drops head

SO MUCH EASIER!! (If you have no idea what I'm talking about when I say base, heart, and head then you get an F on your homework of reading.)

What You Will Need

1 - 10ml atomizer bottle (you can do a search online for this, or you can re-use an old perfume bottle. Just make sure you wash it out with some rubbing alcohol and then maybe run through the dishwasher.)

3 essential oils or fragrance oils depending on what you want. If you want all natural perfume, only use essential oils. Fragrance oils can contain synthetics but have already been diluted in carrier oil so they tend to be less irritating. When choosing essential oils, make sure to look up any health advisories they may have as not all EOs are skin safe. Brambleberry has a nice, affordable selection of both EOs and fragrance oils.

7ml of 190 (preferably) proof grain alcohol. If you can get your hands on some Everclear, that is the best you can get for make-at-home perfume. Unfortunately, Everclear is illegal in many states. You can also use grape alcohol. Short of Everclear, buying 190 proof alcohol is sort of tough because it's hard to find and when you do find some, it tends to be sold in big bottles that are often expensive. If you're serious about perfumery, spend the money. If you're just having fun, it won't kill your perfume to just use some vodka you can get at the store. Just get the highest proof available. Do not use rubbing alcohol. No! Bad!

3 pipettes or glas droppers for your EOs

1 measuring cup that has ml units

1 small funnel

20 drops of distilled water (optional) I say optional here because a lot of the times the distilled water makes your perfume cloudy. If you don't care, use the water. If you do, don't use the water, it won't kill you.

Tag or label for your perfume; I usually just use some masking tape when I’m experimenting.

Let's Do This!

[The process is pretty much the same so some of this will be copied and pasted from my previous post. I'm not re-inventing the wheel here guys.]

Clear off a workspace; wipe it clean and put some newspapers or table cloth down to prevent spill damage. Make sure that all your materials – bottles, droppers – are clean. Next open up your base note and insert your pipette. Gently squeeze the bulb and let go to get the oil in. Carefully (and slowly!) count out 20 drops of your base note into the 10ml bottle. When you’re done, close the EO lid and put it and your pipette to the side. Next, open up your heart note. Count out 10 drops; then put that EO and pipette aside. Don’t shake yet! Last, count out 10 drops of your head note. Once you have transferred the 3 EOs into your 10ml bottle, close the lid of the bottle and shake it up gently to let the oils mix in with each other.

Now, YOU HAVE TO WAIT A WEEK! Sorry, Eau de Parfum oils and alcohol like to go to the dance just as much as the perfume oils. Don't deny them! Put your bottle in a dark place for a week before adding the alcohol.

After the week has passed, check your oil blend to make sure you like it. If you do, let's move forward. If not, chuck it and try again. Blending essential oils for fragrances can be challenging, don't always expect to get it on your first try.

Get your bottle of blended EOs, your funnel, measuring cup, and alcohol. Over the sink, pour out 7ml of alcohol into your measuring cup. Once you have this, stick your funnel into the bottle of EOs and pour the alcohol into the funnel. This minimizes the mess and is nice because you don't have to sit hunched over counting out 140 drops with a pipette. Put the lid back on your bottle, shake it up, and put the bottle away. You didn't really think you'd get away with waiting the month did you?

What You May Notice About Your Eau de Parfum

After your month has passed, smell your concoction. Does it have a strong odor of alcohol? That's generally ok. Test it out by spritzing a little on your pressure points. The alcohol smell should dissipate after a few seconds and your gorgeous perfume notes will be left behind. If, however, the alcohol is all you smell after some time has passed, you might have put in too much alcohol, you might not have a good blend of EOs, or it's possible that you need to let the perfume sit a bit longer. While Eau de Parfums are ready to wear after about a month, I've found that the 3 month marker is the sweet spot. After 3 months, these perfumes really shine.

You now know how to make two varieties of perfume. For our next Tutorial Tuesday (which may not be on a Tuesday, let's see how ambitious I am), let's learn how to make solid perfume, shall we? Stay tuned.