The next time you go to a craft show and peruse a soap maker's products or the next time you pick up a bar of your own handmade soap...what's the first thing you do?
You smell it, don't you?
Scent is perhaps the most compelling aspect of handmade candles and soap. If you want to try your "nose" at creating your own blends of essential or fragrance oils for your soaps and candles, it's not hard. Whether you're an experienced aromatherapist or new to scent blending, you can create your own complex scent blends that will make your soaps and candles smell wonderful with a scent that is uniquely yours. Grab a notebook and let's get started--this process takes a few minutes to a couple of days.
Creating Your Own Scent
- Many people start with blending essential oils. They are basic components that can be used to build more complex blends. But you can any combination of essential OR fragrance oils. Choose components based on having at least one top note, middle note, and base note, or just choose several oils that you think will go well together. This is all about experimentation.
- Open the oils and the small glass jar. You may be able to get a preview of your scent blends merely by having the three bottles open at the same time.
- One at a time, dip the tip of a clean cotton swab into the fragrance or essential oil. Squeeze any excess oil from the swab on the lip of the bottle.
- Place the swab in the glass jar.
- Repeat for each of the scents you want to add to the blend.
- Make sure to write down each oil you include in the blend.
- Walk away from the jar and wait a few minutes.
- Come back to the jar and gently sniff the air above the jar. This will be the scent blend in its early stage of development. Take notes on your thoughts about it. Is one oil overpowering the others? Do two of them seem too similar to tell apart?
- Put the lid on the jar and leave it in a cool, dark place. After a few hours, open the jar and smell the blend again. The scent should have mixed further and "matured" a bit. Take further notes on your thoughts about the blend.
- Put the lid back on the jar and leave it again in a cool, dark place. After about 48 hours, open the jar and smell it again. The scent blend should be fully mixed and "matured" by now. Take further notes about the blend.
- Make corrections to your blend. Perhaps try two parts of oil A and one part of oil B. Or add some oil D to your blend of A, B, and C. Try the blend again until you find the perfect combination.
- Last, but not least, try the blend in a candle or soap, and take notes on how it works in them.
Tips for Smelling Fragrances
- Try to get equal amounts of fragrance or essential oil on each cotton swab, and make sure they are completely clean, or else you'll risk contaminating your essential oils.
- Instead of cotton swabs, you can use an eye dropper or disposable pipette and a paper towel, but you must use a fresh dropper or pipette for each essential oil.
- Don't stick your nose into the jar to smell the blend. Let the scent rise from out of the jar.
- Sniffing coffee beans or ground coffee will cleanse your scent receptors. (Yes, just like cleansing your palate.) Sniff some coffee beans in between tests and you'll get a more accurate reading on the scents.
- Experiment, experiment, experiment! Don't be afraid to try odd combinations or combinations that don't adhere to the top-middle-base note ideal. Above all, be sure to take good notes!
What You Need
- An assortment of essential or fragrance oils
- A small jar with an airtight lid
- At least one clean cotton swab for each scent oil in the blend
- A notebook to record your results