Image Name How to Make a Reed Diffuser

How to Make a Reed Diffuser

Reed diffusers are popular home and office fragrance additions and are much safer than lighting a candle. The problem with them is that they often come with harsh, chemically infused oils and in containers that may not match your decor. This guide shows you how you can easily create your own reed diffuser with all natural essential oils to reap both air freshening qualities and aromatherapeutic benefits.

Look no further in how to make a reed diffuser for personal use as well as gifting purposes as this guide has it all. And if you need any good recipes for oil blending and how to make it last, helpful tips are also included.

Reed Diffusers Defined

reed diffusers and fragrance bottles

Reed diffusers disperse fragrance into a room without the use of an open flame or application of heat. It takes advantage of the science of capillary action, which describes the movement of water (or other liquid) due to cohesion and adhesion to another surface.

A reed diffuser uses a fragrant liquid oil in which a reed is placed. The oil then ‘climbs’ the reed, adhering to the cellular structure of the material as it attempts to stay molecularly bonded to itself (cohesion), diffusing the scent as it saturates the reed.

The container used in this process is also important because liquids evaporate with time. Oils don’t take as long as water, but narrow openings slow this process down, allowing the oil to last a long time.

Reed Diffuser vs. Candles vs. Diffusers

Why use a reed diffuser when you could light a candle or simply run a diffuser? First off, candles use an open flame, or in surface warmers, to melt the wax and release fragrance (usually synthetic). Obviously, an open flame comes with its own hazards, namely the risk of fire. In fact, unattended and forgotten candles cause close to 10,000 house fires each year. Even if you place your candle on a warmer, these too are easy to forget about and overheat if left on too long. Plus, many public workspaces do not allow candles to be used in any manner.

Diffusers are highly effective in taking advantage of more natural essential oil fragrances which are beneficial to both your mental and physical health. But again, most depend on an electronic system that can be easily forgotten about. Although safer than a candle, allowing your diffuser to run out of water can harm how it works if it doesn’t have an automatic shutoff.

A reed diffuser, on the other hand, requires no open flame, heat, or electronics to work. It is simple science that causes it to be effective and provides a consistent diffusion of fragrance within the space it is placed. You can place it just about anywhere and not have to worry about turning it off. Plus, when you make your own, you can customize your entire visual and fragrance experience.

What You Need:

diffuser reeds with ceramic containers and oils

  • A glass or ceramic container with a narrow opening
    Check local thrifts stores and craft stores for inexpensive options and variety. Narrow openings keep the oil from evaporating, allowing your scent to last longer.
  • Diffuser reeds or bamboo skewers
    Reeds made specifically for diffusion are suggested due to their elongated cellular structures to draw the oil. You can opt for bamboo skewers since they are cheap and easy to cut to length, and in my opinion, work wonderfully.
  • Carrier oil (fractionated coconut oil and sweet almond oil are suggested)
    Technically, you can use any carrier oil, but lighter oils move more easily up the ‘reed’ and are not as affected by gravity.
  • Essential oil scents of your choice
    Use singles or blends to create your own personalized scents. Use those brands that are pure and not diluted with a carrier oil already.
  • Optional: Funnel
    Since you should be working with a narrow opening, you may want to use a funnel to pour your oil mixture into the container to avoid spills. Personally, I like to live on the wild side and take my chances.
  • Optional: Rubbing alcohol
    Rubbing alcohol helps with the mixing of the oils, and it also allows the mixture to quickly move up the reeds. Since it has a very high evaporation rate, it leaves only the scent behind.

Step 1: Wash Out Your Container

Make sure to rinse out your containers of any dust or debris. You don’t want anything to interrupt the process of capillary action or create a dirty, heavy sludge on the bottom once your oil is exhausted. Taking the time to clean it in advance can save you a lot of cleaning time later on.

Step 2: Mix Oil and Carrier in a Glass Jar

Mixing Oil and Carrier in a Glass Jar

I like to mix my oils separately so I can store extra to top off the diffuser as needed. I save glass jars so this is easy to do. Just be sure to store any leftovers in a cool, dark place as oils can be photosensitive.

You will want to mix your essential oil and carrier as follows: 25 drops of oil to an approximately ¼ cup of carrier oil. If you choose to add rubbing alcohol, add a teaspoon to the mixture and shake well before allowing to relax.

Step 3: Pour Into Containers

Pouring liquid solution to the ceramic container

Carefully fill your containers about a third of the way to allow for full saturation of the bottom of your ‘reed’. If you are gifting your diffusers, be sure to pour the correct amount into a separate clean glass bottle that can be tightly sealed. You can attach a tag to write directions for the receiver, as well as the scent and its benefits.

Step 4: Cut Bamboo Skewers to Length and Place in Container

bamboo skewer sticks in ceramic container

Either place your reeds or create your own with bamboo skewer sticks. Personally, I like bamboo skewers because I feel they are easier to customize and cut to the desired length. You also can purchase an entire pack at a time, making it easy to replace when needed to keep your fragrance fresh.

Again, if gifting, provide proper lengths and some extras with direction for use.

How to Keep Scent Fresh

As reeds become saturated they will not diffuse as much scent into the surrounding air. You can flip your reeds to diffuse the area that has been immersed in the oil, but when you begin to notice a lack of scent, simply drop new reeds into the oil. For a continuous smell, change your reeds out every few days.

Favorite Scent Combinations and Their Benefits

The beauty of creating your own diffuser is the aromatherapeutic benefits you get from using pure essential oils. Everything from stress relief to focus and relaxation is supported by the various properties of specific oils. You can use your favorite scents as a stand-alone, or you can blend them with one (or more) choices for a personalized scent. The following are some of my favorite scent combinations:

  • Rosemary and Citrus
    Boost mental clarity and renew energy. Also, for calming and stress relief.
  • Citrus Blends
    Uplifting and bright; can wake yourself up and increase focus.
  • Peppermint and Orange
    Wake yourself up and improve concentration and focus. Bring new energy to your tasks.
  • Lavender and Eucalyptus
    Calming and a stress reliever, this blend provides clarity and focus.
  • Bergamot and Cedarwood
    Treats stress and anxiety, plus provides a spiritual lift.
  • Rose and Orange
    Aids in depression and anxiety, and works towards focus and clarity.
  • White Fir and Citrus
    Sharp and spicy, this helps with concentration and focus.



If you love to freshen up the air in your home or office and can’t wait to try this out with soothing benefits of essential oils, then make a quick list and visit your favorite thrift and hobby stores. Homemade reed diffusers are awesome ways to personalize your experience, make amazing gifts, and are much more affordable than anything store bought. We’d love to hear about your favorite blends below! Please share!

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