DIY Reed Diffusers

I’m the worst hoarder and can’t bear to throw anything out if I can re-use it, or make it into something else. I love reed diffusers and the shapes of the bottles they come in. Needless to say I have saved quite a few empty ones.

They are perfectly reusable (after a run through the dishwasher to remove as much of the previous contents as possible, though a hint of the old fragrance remains. The reeds however become clogged with the scented oil so need to be discarded.

I ordered some more reeds online along with a bottle of Augeo – this is the solvent that is used in most reed diffusers on the market. Some DIY recipes use vodka or sweet almond oil, but Augeo gives the best scent throw. The only other ingredient is the fragrance: either fragrance oils (as used for scented candles) or essential oils used in aromatherapy. I’ve dabbled in both so still have a selection. Sometimes it pays not to throw anything away!

The other thing I used is a recently acquired set of measuring cups.

These stack together and have a pouring lip. I’ve previously used them for making up dye solutions for colouring my handspun yarn.

Daughter (also a reed diffuser fan) was over here on Sunday and we assembled a few diffusers.

I had previously worked out the capacity of all the decorative bottles by filling each with water and emptying into a measuring cup – I wrote the capacity on the base of each bottle with a Sharpie. This saved a load of time and avoided wasting materials.

We used the following proportions:

For fragrance oils: One part fragrance oil to three parts Augeo (ie 25%)

For essential oils: 30-40 drops for every 100mls Augeo

Tor a 40 ml bottle therefore, you would add 10mls of fragrance oil (or about 12-15 drops essential oil) and add 30mls Augeo or top up to 40mls, then mix thoroughly.

You can then either add the stopper until needed or add 5-8 reeds. These can be inverted after a few hours to boost the scent.

Of the ones I made, which used fragrance oil, I had great results and quite a strong smell with the melon and cucumber fragrance and vanilla and black pepper. Not as strong but still very good was the lime, basil and mandarin fragrance oil. Daughter tried a half and half blend of jasmine and lemongrass essential oils in one of her diffusers but reported that the scent was quite faint. This could be because the essential oils were quite old. It is also possible that the fragrance oils are created as a blend of essential oils and chemicals that enhance the scent throw so will always appear stronger. Different oils has have different densities that will influence how quickly they will diffuse. It is worth keeping notes of what is in each blend and how they perform so successes can be repeated and weaker scents adjusted to a higher concentration.

The diffusers were really quick to do and inexpensive as I already had the fragrances. I’d certainly make them again. The craft room looked more like a chemistry lab but it smelt delicious!

Lockdown Crafts: A Trio Of Baskets.

I have a set of shelves in the utility room, where I store things like tea towels, cleaning cloths and freezer bags: not the easiest things to store on shelves, so I was after some baskets, but couldn’t find anything the right size so I decided to make some. All I used were some old glossy magazines and glue (hot glue and PVA). Don’t you just love repurposing things?

Using a craft blade and a ruler to get a straight edge, I cut the pages out and started by folding them into strips, long edges to the middle, then long edges to the middle again, then in half. Wherever possible I kept the most colourful side to the outside.

When I needed to join strips I either joined two or three sheets together with a thin line of glue before folding or joined two folded strips together by wrapping one round another with 1-2cm overlap and securing with glue.

Starting with the basket base, I secured the first few strips to the table with low-tack tape, using the grid lines on my cutting mat to keep them parallel to each other. I then began to weave strips through these, keeping them a right angles to the initial strips and parallel to each other. I tried to keep the weave as tight as possible, applying a dab of hot glue every so often to keep the strips secure.

When the base was the right size I folded the unwoven ends up and began to weave a strip round the basket. I made some strips with magazine covers and attached these to the strips that were forming the corner verticals, for added strength. I joined in new strips as I went, trying to keep joins behind upright strips. When the first round was complete I joined the two ends, making sure that the weave stayed tight and even to avoid the sided of the basket bulging. I also kept the upright strips as straight as possible, easing them into place to forma tight weave and not bulging out. I started each new round in a different place – joints are the weakest part, so I didn’t want to concentrate them all on one side. I found it helped keep things secure if the uprights (apart from the stiffer corner struts) were bent over as I wove the strip round and the upright were also already in the right position for the next round.

When I got to the second last round I found it was important to use as little glue as possible to secure the weave and limit it to the lower edge to allow for tucking ends in.

Once the last round of strips was woven in I made some edge supports by rolling a magazine page diagonally into a thin tube (I started it by rolling it around a thin knitting needle) and securing with a dab of hot glue.

These tubes are surprisingly strong and make a rigid top edge for the basket. I wove the uprights through as if the rod was another round of strips joining them at the corners by inserting the end of one tube into another and securing with a little hot glue (one end of each tube is thicker than the other

I finished by trimming each upright strip to about 6cm long and tucking it into the second last round of strips. I started with the outside and then did the inside, securing with a little glue around the tube.

With all the ends tucked in I gave the whole basket a couple of coats of diluted PVA glue, inside and out. This makes the whole basket more rigid as well as sealing the surface.

I’m really pleased with my made to measure baskets. I wouldn’t use them for heavy item storage but they are perfect for lighter things.

Have you tried any new crafts recently?