How to Make Essential Oil

    by Nannette Richford

    About the Author

    Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.


    Essential oils are the aromatic oils extracted from flowers or herbs. Commercial oils are made through distillation and can be expensive to purchase. You can make your own essential oils by adding bruised flowers or plants to a base oil and steeping to draw out the scent. They will not be as concentrated as commercial essential oils, but the process will provide you with fragranced oil suitable for adding to potpourri mixtures or as a soothing body oil.

    Things You'll Need

    • Base oil (safflower, almond, olive)
    • Fresh flowers/herbs
    • Glass container with lid
    • Plastic bag
    • Wooden mallet/rolling pin
    • Cheese cloth

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    Gather flowers or herbs in the morning when the oils are at their peak. Pick herbs just prior to blooming, as they lose potency once they begin to bloom. Check the flowers or herbs for any signs of insects or insect damage.

    Rinse the plant with clear water and pat it dry with a paper towel. Place one cup of herbs or flowers in a plastic storage bag and bruise them with a small mallet or rolling pin. Damage the leaves and petals just enough to release oils.

    Prepare a jar with at least 1 cup of a good base oil, such as olive oil. Almond oil will give your essential oils a light scent that will complement almost any natural aroma. It's a great oil to use on the skin.

    Add the bruised flowers or herbs to the oil and seal the container. Allow the mixture to steep in a warm area for 24 to 48 hours. Keep it out of direct afternoon sunlight, which may quickly heat the oil and cook the vegetable matter.

    Open the container and strain the flowers and herbs with a piece of cheese cloth. Return the oil to the jar and discard the vegetable matter.

    Repeat the procedure, bruising flowers and herbs, adding them to the oil and steeping the mixture for 24 to 48 hours. Do it three or more times until the oil reaches the desired degree of fragrance.

    • Store essential oils in dark bottles to block out light or store them in a dark area.
    • Add essential oils to potpourri mixtures or use them as a body oil.