Scent Your Space With Homemade Reed Diffusers & Oil Blends

Homemade reed diffusers make a unique and appealing option for scenting your home. Whether you’re seeking a personalized fragrance, looking to save money, or striving for an eco-friendly approach, these DIY air fresheners offer a delightful and customizable solution.

Beautiful Rose Tinted Vintage Bottle With Reeds, Essential Oils, Assorted Vases & Bottles

With just a handful of simple ingredients and a splash of creativity, you have the power to curate a symphony of scents that perfectly complement your mood and style.

What are they? A reed diffuser consists of a decorative vessel filled with a specially crafted blend of scented oils which are then wicked up through thin sticks, releasing their aroma into the air. The diffuser acts as a gentle and continuous source of fragrance, transforming your home into a haven of delightful scents.

From soothing lavender to invigorating citrus, there is a scent to suit every preference. No more worries about harsh chemicals, messy candles, or unsightly cords!

In this master reference sheet, I’ve compiled and organized tips and tricks for maximizing scent diffusion, recommended carrier oils, share some fragrance blend recipes, ideas for decorative vessels that are suitable to repurpose, and much more.

General Usage Tips Before Getting Started:

  • Choose vessels with a small opening at the neck that compliment the room you are placing them in.
    • You can use a clear glass container or one that’s decorated; the choice is yours.
    • For best results, the reeds should be at least double the height of the glass container.
  • You can purchase a package of sticks that are marketed for reed diffusers (they’re fairly cheap) or try thin bamboo skewers; they work just fine too.
  • Pour a liberal amount of scented reed diffuser oil into the glass container, then stick the reeds or bamboo skewers inside.
    • After about an hour, turn the reeds over so the other end can wick up the liquid; this will help speed things up.
  • Position the vessel in a location that is not near electrical appliances (in case of spills) and won’t be in danger of being accidentally knocked over.
  • After first filling the vessel with fragrant oil, give the reeds a chance to soak it up and soon you’ll be able to enjoy their light fragrance.

That’s all it takes to get started! Now let’s take a more in-depth look at things (along with plenty of tips).

How To Make Homemade Reed Diffusers

Materials Needed:

  • Suitable container: Select a vessel that complements your decor. See the tips below for ideas.
  • Reed sticks: These act as wicks to draw the scented oil from the container and disperse it above into the air.
  • Essential oils (EO) or fragrance oils (FO): Choose your favorite scents or experiment with blends to create a unique fragrance profile (recipes below).
  • Carrier oil: Dilute the EOs or FOs with a carrier oil to ensure optimal absorption and diffusion. See suggestions below.
An Example Of A DIY Reed Diffuser Using An Old Amber Colored Bottle


  • Prepare container: Clean and dry your chosen container thoroughly before use. Ensure it is free from any residue or dirt to maintain the integrity of your scent.
  • Choose your scent: Select your desired fragrances based on the mood and ambiance you want to create. Lavender and floral scents are popular choices for relaxation, while spicy or woody options add warmth and depth to a room.
  • Dilute with a carrier oil (CO): In a separate bowl, combine your chosen essential or fragrance oils with a CO (such as sweet almond). Use a ratio of 12-30 drops of EO or 20-40 drops of FO per 1/4 cup of CO. Adjust the amount based on your preference for a stronger or milder scent.
  • Mix well: Stir thoroughly to ensure they are evenly blended. This will help to achieve a consistent and balanced fragrance throughout the diffuser.
  • Fill the container: Pour the oil into your prepared container, leaving a small space at the top to avoid any spills when inserting the reeds.
  • Insert the reeds: Take a bundle of reed sticks and carefully place them into the container, allowing them to soak in the scented liquid. After a few hours, flip the reeds to ensure both ends are nicely saturated.
  • Diffusion and maintenance: Find the perfect spot for your reed diffuser, ideally in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources (see more tips below). The reeds will gradually draw up the oil and release the fragrance into the room. For optimal diffusion, periodically flip the reeds every week or whenever you desire a stronger scent. If the oil level becomes low, simply refill the container following the previous steps.

Create Your Own Signature Diffuser Oil Blends

You can make a homemade version of reed diffuser oil with just a few simple ingredients that you can easily find locally.

A Collection Of Scented Oils To Use For Fragrance
  • Carrier Oils Method: See recommended oils below
    • Select a combination of your favorite EOs and add as many drops to the CO as you need to achieve the fragrance you’re after.
    • A good place to start is about 12 drops of EO per 1/4 cup of CO, but it can be as high as 30 for a heavier scent.
    • Fragrance oils can be used, but they will require more drops. Keep in mind that FOs are synthetic.
    • Perfume can also be used instead of EO, but it will not be as long-lasting & isn’t normally recommended for use during extended periods.
    • (optional) Next, add a splash of vodka to help the oil travel up the reeds better.
      • No addition of vodka will be necessary if using perfume instead of EO.
      • Perfumer’s alcohol can be used instead of vodka.
  • Vodka & Water Method: Mix approximately 12 drops of EOs with 1/4 cup of water, then add a splash of vodka. The alcohol helps the EOs bind with the water.
    • This method will evaporate faster than using carrier oils, but it still works.
  • Liquid Potpourri Method: Liquid potpourri can be used in place of reed diffuser oil; you should be able to find this in the candle or crafts section of a department store (like Walmart).

It’s important to choose high-quality ingredients and ensure the proper number of reeds are used to achieve the desired scent throw.

Good Carrier Oils For Your DIY Diffuser Blends

Grapeseed OilMineral Oil (unscented)
Apricot Kernel OilFractionated Coconut Oil (MCT)
Sunflower OilSweet Almond Oil
Safflower Oil

Recipe Blends For Everyday Use (Essential Oils)

It’s important to note that EOs can be overwhelming if used undiluted or too strong. Diluting them with carrier oil ensures safe and effective diffusion through the reeds.

You can experiment with some recipes from my notes (see below); all are based on starting with 1/4 cup carrier oil of choice. If you find the results too strong, add more (1 TBS at a time). Too light, increase EO amounts.

Lavender Bliss

10 drops Lavender EO
5 drops Vanilla EO

Citrus Burst

5 drops Orange EO
5 drops Lemon EO
3 drops Grapefruit EO

Floral Harmony

6 drops Rose EO
4 drops Jasmine EO
3 drops Ylang Ylang EO

Once you find a favorite blend recipe, double or triple the batch and keep the excess in a sealed glass jar until needed. This will save time as well as keep a ready supply of diffuser oil on hand.

Sleepy Time / Relaxation Blends

Feel free to adjust the number of drops according to your scent preference. Remember to start the diffuser about 30 minutes before bedtime to allow the fragrance to disperse and create a serene environment conducive to restful sleep.


6 drops of lavender EO
4 drops of chamomile EO
2 drops of vetiver EO

Peaceful Dreams

5 drops of lavender EO
3 drops of bergamot EO
3 drops of cedarwood EO

Tranquil Night

4 drops of ylang-ylang EO
4 drops of frankincense EO
3 drops of clary sage EO

Office / Productivity Blends

These blends can be diffused in your workspace, living area, or any other room where you desire a refreshing and stimulating atmosphere.

Citrus Zing

5 drops of lemon EO
3 drops of grapefruit EO
2 drops of peppermint EO

Revitalizing Oasis

4 drops of eucalyptus EO
4 drops of rosemary EO
2 drops of spearmint EO

Fresh Herb Garden

4 drops of basil EO
3 drops of lemongrass EO
3 drops of lavender EO

Fresh, Crisp & Clean

These blends can be diffused in various areas of your home, such as the kitchen, bathroom, or any other space where you desire a clean and bright atmosphere.

Crisp Clean

6 drops of lemon EO
4 drops of tea tree EO

Fresh Linens

5 drops of lavender EO
3 drops of eucalyptus EO
2 drops of bergamot EO

Sparkling Citrus

4 drops of grapefruit EO
3 drops of lime EO
2 drops of peppermint EO

Entertaining / Dinner Parties

When it comes to creating an inviting and memorable ambiance for dinner parties and entertaining, here are three blends that can enhance the atmosphere.

Citrus Spice

4 drops of orange EO
3 drops of cinnamon EO
2 drops of clove EO

Herb Garden

4 drops of basil EO
3 drops of rosemary EO
2 drops of thyme EO

Sophisticated Elegance

4 drops of lavender EO
3 drops of bergamot EO
2 drops of cedarwood EO

Experiment with different scents, and when you find a favorite combination, keep notes of the amounts of essential oils and carrier oil used so you can duplicate it next time. These make nice gifts, too (with attached “recipe” card).

Troubleshooting Tip: White, Cloudy Oil

Cloudy white diffuser oil may not be the most visually appealing but don’t worry; it’s still perfectly safe to use!

Several factors can contribute to the cloudiness: it could be due to the carrier oil solidifying, essential oil emulsification, or even the presence of water-based ingredients. While it may not look as pristine as you’d like, rest assured that it can still work its magic in releasing those lovely fragrances into the air.

Here’s the catch: the effectiveness of the diffuser oil may be compromised if the EOs and COs aren’t properly blended or if they have separated over time. This means the fragrance might not disperse as evenly or as potently as you desire. If you find yourself less than thrilled with the performance or the cloudy appearance of the mixture, consider giving it a fresh start by remixing the ingredients with care and ensuring a thorough blend.

Keep an eye (or rather, a nose) out for any unpleasant odors or signs of spoilage accompanying the cloudiness. If you detect anything funky or suspect that something may be amiss, it’s best to bid farewell to the cloudy concoction and start anew. Always trust your senses and use your discernment when evaluating the quality and usability of your homemade blend.

Information For Pet Owners

It’s important to be mindful of the scents we expose our furry friends to, as some fragrances that humans enjoy can be harmful or even fatal to cats, dogs, and even birds.

A Cat Bathing Itself By Licking Its Paws

Certain essential oils, including cinnamon, eucalyptus, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree, and ylang-ylang, can be toxic to pets. So, if you have a diffuser at home and share your space with animals, it’s crucial to prioritize their safety and well-being.

The problem arises when droplets of the diffusion find their way onto your pet’s fur, and they, in turn, bathe or lick this up. The EOs are well diluted, but there is debate about how toxic repeated consumption might be. It’s best to check with your veterinarian to be sure.

To ensure a pet-friendly environment, it’s recommended to thoroughly research the oils you plan to use in your diffuser.

Opt for ingredients that are known to be safe for pets and avoid those that pose a risk. Alternatively, you can explore pet-friendly products specifically formulated with safe ingredients to freshen up your space while keeping your furry companions healthy and happy.

Vessel & Container Ideas

Get creative and have fun repurposing everyday objects to add a personal touch to your diffuser.

Old Glass Bottles & Vases To Use As Reed Diffusers

Remember to clean, sterilize and thoroughly dry any repurposed vessel before using it to ensure the best scent diffusion. It’s also important to ensure that the container is stable, leak-proof, and allows for easy insertion of reeds.

Additionally, consider the aesthetic appeal of the container, as it can contribute to the overall decor and ambiance of your space.

Recommended: The smaller the opening at the neck of the glass container, the better; this will force the oils to travel up the wick to diffuse their scent rather than evaporate up through the neck.

Although it’s advisable to use containers with small necks since this helps prevent the liquid from evaporating too quickly (and helps to contain spills better), it’s certainly possible to use shallow, open vessels as well.

For shallow containers, use shorter sticks and place them in locations where they won’t easily be knocked over or disturbed by pets.

Decorative & Reusable Container Ideas

Wine BottlesCeramic VasesPorcelain Teacups
Vintage JarsCeramic PotsOrnate Decanters
Crystal BowlsVintage Perfume BottlesCandle Jars & Votives
Wooden vesselsBamboo Bud VasesMarble container

Ideas For More Masculine Spaces:

Whiskey DecanterBlack CeramicsConcrete or Stone Container

What To Avoid:

  • Plastic: This can react with essential oils & break down the plastic (HDPE is fine).
  • Porous Materials: Unglazed ceramics & pottery, etc., since these will absorb the oils. Ensure at least the inside of the container is glazed before using.
  • Transparent Glass: Clear glass can certainly be used, but keep in mind that light will degrade the oils & diminish their scent. If you are planning on refreshing the batch frequently, there’s no concern.

Did you know: You can soak wine corks in your DIY blend, allow them to dry completely, then arrange a few in a small bowl or hang them individually from a ribbon, and they will scent the surrounding area for several weeks. Keep in mind that they are infused with EOs, so be careful what surfaces they touch.

Reed Sticks 101

Rotate the ends of the reeds or skewers once a week to refresh and enhance diffusion. Once set up, they continue to release fragrance for weeks, making them a convenient and long-lasting option.


  • Rattan Reeds
  • Chopsticks
  • Bamboo Skewers

The general rule of thumb is to use sticks that are about double the height of the vessel being used. This helps diffuse the scent to a wider area.

Remember to use shorter sticks when using shallow vessels to protect against “tippyness” and spills.

A Bundle Of Reed Sticks To Use In DIY Diffusers

Store Extra Reeds Properly: If you have a big bundle, store them in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container to preserve their freshness and prevent them from absorbing moisture or odors. This way, you’ll have spare reeds ready for future use.

How Many Reeds To Use

To avoid wasting product, the amount of reeds does matter! You also don’t want to overwhelm a room with heavy fragrance. Here’s a general idea of what to shoot for:

(up to 200 sq. ft.)
(up to 500 sq. ft.)
(up to 800 sq. ft.)
Start with 2 or 3Start with 6Start with 10

Note: Factors such as ventilation, room layout, ceiling height, and personal sensitivity to scents can influence the coverage area.

You can control the amount of fragrance released into the air by adding or removing reeds from the diffuser. If you desire a more subtle scent, remove a reed or two; for a stronger aroma, add more. This allows you to fine-tune the fragrance to create the perfect ambiance in your space.

Quick Tip: Trimming the reeds a bit shorter can also help reduce the scent throw.

If you have a larger room or prefer a stronger fragrance, you might consider using multiple medium-sized reed diffusers strategically placed around the space. This can help ensure a more consistent and satisfying scent experience.

Assorted Tips

  • Clean your reed diffuser every month or whenever you notice a decrease in scent throw or when the fragrance begins to smell stale.
    • Dump any remaining oil, wash well & refill when thoroughly dry.
    • Regular cleaning prevents residue buildup and ensures that the reeds can effectively diffuse the scent.
  • Place the diffuser in a central location within the room for even distribution.
  • Keep in mind that the specific blend of oils used can also influence the scent throw. Experiment with different combinations, reed quantities, and placement to find the ideal balance for your space.
  • Is the batch evaporating too quickly? Some factors to look for: ceiling fans, air vents, open windows, and direct sunlight will all contribute to rapid evaporation.
  • The ambient temperature of the room can affect the diffusion rate of the oils. Warmer rooms will disperse the scent more quickly, while cooler rooms may require more time to release the fragrance.
  • Some essential oils, such as patchouli, vetiver, or cedarwood, act as fixatives and can help anchor the scent, making it last longer. Consider adding a small amount of fixative oil to your diffuser blend for improved longevity.
  • Keep Out of Reach of Children: The EOs may be harmful if ingested or cause skin or eye irritation when spilled. Keep them out of reach of children to prevent accidental contact.
  • Discontinue use if you notice any adverse reactions such as headaches, respiratory discomfort, or allergic symptoms.
  • Stain Removal: If spilled on fabric, blot with a clean cloth or paper towel, trying to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Avoid rubbing.
    • Mix a small amount of mild dish soap or laundry detergent with water, then use to blot & dilute the stain (test first to make sure it won’t cause damage to upholstery).
    • Rinse with water, then repeat as needed to lift the stain residue completely.

Related Posts


    • Nancy Jacobs

    I had blogged about this back in Feb. and love to make my own reed diffusers. You can get the reed by searching for basket weaving supplies and purchase #6 round reed. Just one pound of reed will make many diffusers for pennies! I’m a basket weaver so making these just uses up my scraps. I posted the link to the specific blog page above and it shows a picture of one I made.

      • Misty

      My mix always goes milky ami doing something wrong ??,

    • pmhenry67

    I find it fun to buy already packaged ree diffuser kits at wal mart or a dollar store and continue to use these bottles, refilling with your own oils or the liquid potpourri oils and new reed diffusers when needed. Thank you for the tip,

    • pmhenry67

    Does anyone know of another item or product besides Vodka I could use to carry the scent up the reeds? I cannot always find the scents I like at the store and so want to make my own.

    Since I don’t drink, I wonder of something like rubbing alcohol would take the place of Vodka. Thank you

      • gg

      perfumer’s alcohol works too.

      • Bev

      If you don’t like having a large bottle of vodka around just buy one of the tiny single serving size bottles. It will probably make 2 to 3 diffusers. They are available at liquor stores.

      • Chetan

      you can use rubbing alcohol. get it cheap in medical stores. works well.

      • waris ali

      Betsy says:
      Couldn’t you just soak the reeds in hot soapy water, rinse, and let them dry out so they can be reused?


      • Faith

      Witch hazel

    • briana

    These are great ideas but I wanted to reply to pmhenry67’s comment. I don’t know if you can use something other than vodka but I do know that there are so many uses for vodka that even if you don’t drink I think u would find it useful to have around. Some of the uses are found here on tipnut 🙂

    • Christine

    Bamboo is non-porous and cannot transfer the oils like reeds can. Just buy the reeds; they’re not all that expensive. Bamboo skewers are not going to work — the oil cannot travel through them.

    Also helpful: replace your reeds every few months. They can clog up with oil and stop diffusing.

      • Betsy

      Couldn’t you just soak the reeds in hot soapy water, rinse, and let them dry out so they can be reused?

    • Elisa

    This was great info on making your own, I had to empty bottles and reeds and used some vanilla and pomegranate oil with water and a splash and vodka. It smells lovely and I am glad I could recycle my old bottles.

    • Bev

    I love the idea of making your own (anything actually). LOL
    I will be saving my used diffuser bottles from now on for future use. Thank you so much for the ideas. They are wonderful

    • Alla

    In fact, bamboo skewers work quite well. I know, because I was using “reed diffusers” before they were chic and hip and popular and whatever. My mother in law, though born in the US, was still very “Japanese”. She always used these in her home, and she taught me how, as well.

    As for the vodka, you can purchase the little tiny “two-drink” bottles, hip flasks, or even an ordinary bottle, and make up a lot of scent, or different scents at the same time. You can, as one other person noted, find a bunch of different uses for the vodka right here on Tipnut.

    One of the things we do is put tiny glass marbles, or glass beads, into the bottom of the bottle, or sometimes even tiny rocks or stones. This adds a bit of weight and also gives you a place to stick the skewers into, so they hold an arrangement. Why’s that important? Because, you can decorate the tops of the skewers/reeds – You know, like cocktail picks, only cooler.

    Around the holidays, I use vanilla extract (no vodka with this, obviously) or peppermint extract, along with the mineral oil. I’ve also used cinnamon oil. Gives you that “yuletide” smell around the house, and is ultra-cheeeeep!

      • vicki

      Thanks for the Tip … sound like you know what your talking about, so I’m with you, gonna give your tricks a try, Thanks

      • curious mom

      I have been trying this for a couple of weeks now, and I’m getting disappointed. How do you get yours to work? I use the 1/2 c water with 2 healthy splashes of 91 percent rubbing alcohol and 24 drops of lemon and 24 drops of sweet orange… this which I thought should give my home a nice citrus scent. However, we can’t seem to smell it. We have to pick up my diffuser and hold it up to our faces only to receive and very faint scent…. please help! I love my homemade diffuser and want to use it soooo badly… but I’m having no luck…. pleas, any suggestions?

        • curious mom

        Also for the reeds I’m using regular bamboo skewers

        • Gingerbread

        If you are having a difficult time with smelling the scent, look to the citrus scents you are using. Are they PURE essential oils? Often the essential oils are diluted with alcohol, hence the cheaper price.

    • Betsy

    Would castor oil be able to be used as a carrier oil? Because that’s what I have on hand! 🙂

    • Sheila

    My liquid turned milky and seperated and I don’t have the smell I thought I would get. I used saflower oil, vodka, essential oil.

    • Rebecca

    Basket making reed can be free and easily found around your home. Do you have an old basket you can take apart and use? You can straighten pieces by wetting and weighting down or steaming with an iron.
    As for vodka as a delivery agent, don’t forget that alchohol can be interchangable with vodka also.

    • tina

    can virgin coconut oil be used as carrier oil?

      • Michele

      I’d guess no unless your house is very warm (the melting point of the oil is 76F) and you’d also have to fight against the coconut scent of the oil.

    • Susan

    I’ve been searching, and learning about making my own fragrance for diffuser purposes. I know the “essential oils” I may want to make my “recipe”, but I am having a hard time finding the best prices for the “ingredients” (bottles, bases, oils, reeds, etc.), and I’ve been kicked all over the internet,(why should this project be different?)like crazy!!

    If you have any sites you could recommend to me, that would be great! When I do something, I like to, and will do it right! This project means a lot to me. I plan, not only to try to put my “scents” into home-based production, but am sponsoring some fund-raisers for Autism, Homelessness, and Environmental issues coming up in the near future. I hope I can really make a good contribution for them. I am disabled, and I very much need to give other folks a hand, the
    Golden Rule” lives very much in my world. Can you lend me a hand? The less I spend on my expenses, the more I can raise for other folks in need. It helps to take my mind off of my problems! Sitting here all day, etc., makes for “idle” hands, looking for a way to distract me by helping others.

    Much Obliged!
    Susan Mary G.

    • Dorothy

    Thrift stores, dollar stores and yard sales is where I look when I’m doing projects. I am going to try this. I’m alcohol free as well and I don’t want it around either. People with alcohol addiction issues need to be careful. Use the alternatives above. There were some good ones.

    • malia

    For those who had their fragrance separate: keep in mind that oil and water don’t mix. So, if you use vodka, make sure it’s 180 proof (90% alcohol, with very little water content). Or else use 99% rubbing alcohol. Pure alcohol will mix with your base oils and your essential oils. You will end up with a clear liquid after mixing that will not separate.

    • christine

    can i use gin instead of vodka

    • Jo

    I saw a reed diffuser at a yard sale that had only one reed. It was much thicker than the normal reeds and looked very nice in the small bottle. Does anyone know where these thicker sticks can be purchased? Thanks.

    • Kim

    Could l use sesame oil,l have a large bottle it’s organic and light in colour.

    • D.T.

    how if i replace all the liquid with PERFUME? will it work??

    • laura salvadori

    where can I buy then in Northern Italy?

    • Nancy

    I used light sesame oil as a carrier oil and 70% isopropyl alcohol along with the required essential oil’s. My mixture turned milky white. What did I do wrong?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *