DIY Scented Gel Air Freshener: {Smelly Jelly Version}

Here’s a nifty way to freshen your rooms with a long-lasting fragrance that can be customized in a variety of ways: color, scent and size.

One great feature about these is that no heavy, chemical-laden perfumes are used so if you have allergies to commercial products because of the fragrances used, give these a try!

Since there’s no open flame involved, they are safe to place anywhere (work, vehicles, campers, etc.).

All types of attractive glass pots can be used for an extra decorative effect but make sure to select one that can handle the heat as the mixture is being poured.

Recipes & Instructions

2 cups water
4 packages Gelatin (plain)
15 to 20 drops Essential Oil (adjust to personal preference)
1 to 2 TBS salt
Food Coloring


  • In a small pot, mix 1 cup water, essential oil and food coloring. As soon as it starts to boil, remove from heat.
  • Completely dissolve gelatin and salt in the hot water then add the other cup of water (cold)–stir well but do this gently so it doesn’t foam.
  • Pour the liquid into jars and set aside for a couple days before using so the gelatin has a chance to completely set (you can refrigerate to speed up the process). Once fully cooled, cover with lids that have a few holes punched in them to allow fragrance to escape.

The salt in this recipe is used to help combat mold, please make sure to add it.

Alternate Version:

  • Follow the recipe above but substitute the water and the essential oil with 2 cups of concentrated liquid potpourri. Proceed as directed above by heating 1 cup first with the food coloring, remove from heat, dissolve the gelatin and salt then add the other cup.

Homemade Super Smelly Jelly

  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 pkg of 4-serving jelly powder (ie. box of instant Jello)
  • 1 Tbsp. vodka
  • 1/4 tsp dish soap
  • Essential Oil or Fragrance

Combine & set in a jar with holes poked in the top covering (the new mason lids that are out with a daisy/floral cutout are ideal for this). The vodka is to help prevent the jelly become moldy so don’t skip it.

Source: (update: original webpage no longer active)


  • Add embellishments (embedded items) similar to the gel candles embedded items ideas (listed at the bottom of the page). Items such as glass marbles, gem stones, crystals, charms and other miscellaneous trinkets can look quite nice if done minimally.
  • You can layer the colors, simply allow one color to set completely for a few days before pouring the next layer of color. Especially impressive when using clear glass pots.


  • Make sure these are completely clean and dry before pouring in the hot liquid.
  • You could cover the top opening with lace, mesh or netting instead of lids. Tie decoratively with ribbons, raffia, whatever you fancy.
  • Look for small vases for a lovely display. Select those with a thicker glass and can handle the hot liquid being poured into them. You’ll want one with a large enough opening that the fragrance has room to escape.
  • Because of the essential oils involved, arrange these out of reach for small children and pets.
  • Containers can be used over and over again! When the scent has gone and you’re ready for an upgrade, simply scoop out the stale contents, wash with hot soapy water and dry well. Now you’re ready for a fresh new batch!
  • To avoid potential burns during pouring, avoid using delicate glass containers. Any heat proof variety will do such as jam, jelly and mason jars or even baby food jars can be used.

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    • Diane Hofheins

    These are wonderful ideas! I love the reeds and smelly jelly. How about using a clean container like the Chef Boy Ar Dee 7.5 oz. microwave foods? (like spaghetti and meatballs, etc., come in.) Their lids already have holes in them and you could decorate the container and the lid!

      • dmk

      In my experience, jars that held tomato sauce retain the tomato scent. Maybe it would wash out, or maybe you could use hat to your advantage — mmm, a “Sunday Morning” scent would bring back memories of Mom’s sauce on the stove!

    • E B

    plain Gelatin- is it sugar gelatin, nonsugar, or the packets of gelatin (Knox for example).

      • TipNut

      Just the regular packets (Knox for example). Hope that helps!

      • Cheri

      The packaged gelatin like Knox

    • dmk

    I can’t wait to try this! I hate most of the commercial scents, but love the variety of oils available at my local yuppie-hippie grocery.

    • Art Vandelay

    Seems like you would want to put the essential oils in after you’ve added the cold water. Boiling essential oils…essentially gets rid of a lot of their potency.

      • Jennifer

      I agree, I would add it just before the setting process as true essential oils are volatile in nature and evaporate quickly with heat.

    • naturegal1212

    Now I don’t have to send the empty scented candle jars to the landfill anymore, this is a great help, thanks!

    • Lolo

    Can we use fragrance (/perfume/aftershave) like a Chanle N°5 as a scent or will it destroy the setting of gelatin, or be dangerous, or not smelling good?

    I wish to make my room smell of Hugo Boss perfume…

    • luxy

    Do you think I could replace the gelatin with agar agar? Also if you use the recipe with the alcohol you can dissolve the oils in it beforehand so you don’t have to heat the oils in the water. The vodka should break up the oil content.

    • Tracy

    Just a hint about removing smells from jars; use some baking soda and vinegar and let sit for a hour or so and viola no more smell. The vinegar smell does not stay in the jar 🙂

    • danny6114

    Glad-Ware makes little 4 ounce reusable Mini Round containers that would work quite well.

    • Gladys

    Won’t these mold?

      • Caity

      That’s why there’s a couple spoons of salt in the recipe

        • cindya

        What about using alum. That’s what’s used in pickling and in homemade playdough to kill the germs and prevent mold.

    • Aaron

    I’m going to do this with BaconSalt instead of oils/salt. I want my house to smell like BACON all the time.

      • Sam

      How did it work?

    • ian

    would gelatin not go moldy? it is from an animal.. can u use veggie gelatin and would this mold too?

    • blu

    ya can we use veggie gelatin?

    • ryan

    Could you tell me for how long the jars usually keep their scent?

    • Amy

    Would you be able to place these on a candle warmer or are they to be used room temperature only?

      • Jennie

      I would avoid a warmer. The gel will most likely melt.

      • Joni

      You can place on candle warmers, but like she said, it will liquify, and the water evaporates quick. With experience, an 8 oz jar will last you about 24 hours, but if you continuously add water, of course the scent waters down as well, but will last a couple days or more. On the shelf, the scent goes away quickly and I put alot more oil in than the recipe called for however, does not shrink down completely for 30 or more days.
      I did not add any alcohol or salt to my recipe, and believe it or not, I live in MN and made cases of these for flea markets, a few years ago, and to this date, with those jars in the outside shed are still there. Tough to get the caps off since they were actually left out in the snow one winter ( I know, talk about lazy :> ) a few have liquified due to freezing, but most are in jel form as of this date. And no, they do not mold.
      The only one I had problems with, I wanted coffee scented, and couldnt get a coffee scented oil, so I went with Watkins coffee flavor. DO NOT do that, those actually mold within a couple days

    • maki

    my gel freshener melted.. Why???

    • Wackygoose

    Hello There! First thanks for the wonderful site!

    When you say 4 pkg of gelatin, how much grams per pkg do you have? I bought one that has 24g is that enough? Also 2 cups of water = 400 ml?

    Thanks again!

    • Lynn Bishop

    I wonder if you took this further and added backing soda, if you would have and air-freshers jelly… I’m going to try this as a Christmas gift. Thank you.

    • Michelle Ferris

    This made me really sad. I made a bunch for christmas, and they molded after a short while. I wasn’t even able to give them as gifts, and now I just look like a bad, giftless relative.

      • Rita

      I made a set of these using the exact recipe and they worked wonderful..I put it in jelly jars…the really small ones…they lasted about a month and they just dried up…

    • Sheryl

    I made these for gifts too and they turned out nice. Which recipe did you use? The salt or vodka should be enough to prevent mold, I used the one with the salt.

    • Carol

    I made these a few years ago using the vodka recipe and they molded within 2 weeks. I haven’t tried the salt yet, but it should work (in theory).

    • Adrienne

    Can I use these on.a warmer?

    • Debie

    if you’re having a problem with the vodka molding, you might try checking the proof of the alcohol content. be sure you use 100 proof, instead of 80 proof. this might be the problem.

    • Meghan

    Do you think this would work the same if you took a wall flower and used some of the liquid? I found a fragrance I really like from Bath & Body Works but I’m a little skeptical about keeping them plugged in all the time and would rather have something that I can just set out

    • Julie happy

    Can you make ahead, keep lid on tiight and frig or freeze til ready for giving?

    • Katie

    What size containers do you use?
    Is 8 oz jars too big?

    • Carey

    I first made these with 2 Tbsp of salt like the recipe says, but they got moldy within a couple weeks. I tried it again, but added 4 Tbsp of salt the next time and they lasted for months. Eventually the gel will start to shrink up and not smell anymore, but they never got moldy after increasing the salt.

    • sandy

    To bad gelatin couldn’t be recycled so you could add a new fragrance and use again.

    • Frankie A

    I will try one of these — probably the one with the salt (why waste 100 Proof Vodka? hehe). But here’s the thing. Like you guys, I LOVE to be greeted by a great warm, friendly aroma when I walk into my apartment; believe me, I have plenty of great scented candles will a multitude of great scents, but what I am looking for has been elusive. I want the scent of BAKING, like when my mom baked breads and pies and filled the house such a great scent and filled us kids with such a loving emotion that you didn’t want to be anywhere else. Anyone and everyone who I have ever spoken to says they love the scent of bread baking in the kitchen. So if this is so universally loved, how come nobody has essential oils that actually smell like that? How come Messieurs Johnson and Johnson haven’t gotten on the ball to put this Home Baked Scent into a Glade freshener plug-in thingy? If there were an essential oil made to mimic oven baked bread, I would scoop it up in a second and use it in this recipe. If I baked, I would have dough in the oven all the time, but with my kitchen skills, I’d have the place burned down in a week. I need some artificial help here. Or maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough. If anyone has seen essential oils that have the aroma of oven-baked bread, PUH-LEEEZE point me in the right direction.

    Thank you.

      • a

      You are looking for FRAGRANCE oil, which can be fabricated into almost any scent imaginable by people who work in labs. ESSENTIAL oils are extracted from NATURAL plants and cannot be fabricated into scents that mimic baked goods. However, you can blend different essential oils to create other pleasant aromas. For example: cinnamon, clove, vanilla, cardamom essential oils all can all be blended with various top notes like orange (only one example of many) essential oil to create a smell reminiscent of someone baking.

      Fragrance oil and essential oils are very different in character. I hope that this is helpful.

      • Joni

      Wellington fragrance has some, along with alot of other wholesale oil companies, but most have a minimum purchase requirement, have you tried Ebay?

    • Tessa

    I used flavored veggie gelatin.. it smells good but it doesn’t spread across my small room.. i used plastic container btw, does that change anything?

    • josie

    Hi, do you know how I can remove them after they have hardened. for example I have straight candle glasses and will like to make a mould of the air refreshener. how can I remove them safely?

    • Stacy

    with the Alternative method. I have 2 questions. 1) My Gelatain from the Health Store calls for me to dissolve the powder in to COLD then add hot. Should I put 1 CUP concentrated potpourri in the refrigerator till it’s ice cold then put the 4 Tablespoons into it then add 1 CUP of hot concentrated potpourri? Afterwards should I still add the salt? I would imagine so. Please help making for valentines day!

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