Gel Air Freshener

DIY Gel Air Freshener - Bitz & Giggles

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So, I’m starting to accept the fact that fall is approaching. The days here are getting shorter already, the weather has been getting cooler, I have received more fall/harvest catalogs in the mail than I care to talk about and my oldest starts kindergarten next Tuesday! I suppose it’s time to trade in the grill for the crock pot, the sandals for the boots, and the fresh air for air fresheners. Do you do this, too?

My house needs to smell good year-round. I’m a candle addict and have tried every air freshener imaginable from plug-ins and reed diffusers to oil/wax tart warmers and traditional candles. If you’re averse to air fresheners we probably wouldn’t get along that well, but even so, the DIY Gel Air Fresheners I’m sharing today are made with only four ingredients (for the gel)  – one of them being distilled water.

And to welcome in fall, I thought it would be fun to throw some silk autumn leaves and berries into the jars to dress them up a little!

For those of you who love a nice smelling home like I do, I hope you enjoy this quick tutorial! Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

DIY Gel Air Fresheners

  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 1 oz. unflavored gelatin (equal to 4 envelopes)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fragrance or essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2-3 smaller glass jars
  • Silk flowers, leaves or other additions you think would be fun!

Wash your glass jars out, dry them and position your silk flowers or other “decorative items” in the jars the way you would like them. Remember that this step is totally optional! If you just want the gel only, don’t put anything else in the jars. You could always just add some food coloring to the gel if you’d like it to match a certain room, etc. Don’t be afraid to be creative!

Leaves in jars
Then, it’s time to get things started on the stove top! In a saucepan heat 1 1/2 cups of the distilled water with the salt and stir until salt is dissolved.

Salt in pan
Next you’ll add the gelatin in, stir until that is dissolved and then remove the pan from the heat. Once the pan is removed from the burner, add the remaining 1/2 cup of distilled water and stir. Lastly, gently pour the fragrance oil in, stir again until well mixed,  and then start adding the liquid to the jars. I used some fragrance oil I had with my candle-making supplies (that was before I started using Young Living Essential Oils). I made sure to pick something with a wonderful autumnish (I don’t think that’s a word) scent!

Word of caution: Be mindful of what you use to stir the liquid, as well as how you go about cleaning your sauce pan. I put gelatin in the same category as candle wax in the sense that it could do some damage to your pipes if you were to pour too much down the drain. I did use a regular spoon to stir, but I quickly wiped it off with a piece of paper toweling and did the same to the pan before placing it in the dishwasher. As an extra step, I also used filled the pan with some hot water and soap, then used a piece of paper toweling to clean the inside of the pan again. The soapy water I disposed of, outside.

Gel Air Freshener
It’s okay if your silk flowers stick out above the liquid. I kind of like the 3D effect. In fact, I put my berries right on top.

Air Freshener

Here’s where you’ll need to be patient. Put the jars in a safe place and allow them to cool overnight for the gel to form properly. The next day your air fresheners will be ready to use! These are so much fun to decorate for different rooms in the house or to give as gifts to friends and family. How do you plan to decorate yours? I’d love for you to share your ideas in the comments!

Air Freshener

Comments

  1. This looks awesome – I can’t wait to try it!

  2. This is such a fun idea! I didn’t realize how easy there were to make! Pinning so I can try it soon!

  3. What a great idea! What do you think of candy corn on top? May make a few with a Halloween theme… I’m thinking plastic spiders and skulls. Fun mommy treats for our Halloween party.

    • Sydney, I think candy corn would be so much fun and so would the spiders and other Halloween goodies. These are so versatile you can design them using whatever theme you can dream up!

  4. I use candles all the time but I don’t use air fresheners. I love the idea of making my own with just a few ingredients. Will definitely be make some. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Have you ever had any problems with mold or anything where these are made with gelatin? I’d love to make these as gifts so I want to be super sure they won’t.

  6. How is the scent throw? I suppose it sort of depends on how much fragrance oil you use…
    But when I use an air freshener I’d like it to scent a large area, and I was wondering how these did.Then again, if nothing else, they sure are pretty!
    Thank you for sharing this idea 🙂

    • The scent throw is dependent on how much fragrance oil you use. Right now I have the fresheners in my bathroom and my kitchen. When I walk into the bathroom I can smell it right away. For the kitchen, I need to be closer to the jar in order to smell it. These would probably do best in a bathroom, bedroom or laundry room space! Good luck!

  7. These look really neat.
    I have a question though: why do you use salt?

  8. This is awesome! I love that you can pick and choose what scents you want ^.^

  9. These sound great. Glad to be able to make something without all those chemicals from the ones you buy in the store. Do you have to use distilled water or can you use filtered water? Thanks.

    • Filtered would probably be okay, Maria. Good luck!

      • I tried these and they came out cloudy and gray. They looked fine until I added the fragrance oils then they turned cloudy and gray. Could the quality of the fragrance oils make a difference? I purchased one at the dollar store and the other came from a store in our local farmers market. I also used filtered water and not distilled water. Not sure if this would have made a difference. Any suggestions? I took picture and can send them to you. Thanks for your help.

        • Hi Maria, it could be the fragrance oil, particularly the color of the oil, if there is any color to it. Try again with a clearer fragrance oil and experiment with different kinds. I used candle fragrance oil for the fresheners I made and I didn’t seem to have a problem with discoloration.

  10. Going to be making these this afternoon in rosemary and lemon with a dried lemon slice and a sprig or two of rosemary… Also doing a bathroom one with shells in it with seaweed and juniper…
    Thank you for sharing these will be added to my homemade gifts for all occasions… xx

  11. Where can you find the gelatin? Any suggestions on the best place to find the oils?

    • Jen, you can find the gelatin in the same aisle you find normal JELL-O. Local craft stores will have the oils or you can find them online. Some people have even tried liquid potpourri and it has worked. I’ve never tried the potpourri, however.

  12. Sounds great! Where do I buy the fragrance oil?

    • Mary, head to your local craft store or there’s always Amazon.com and other online retailers that have huge selections and many fragrance options to choose from!

  13. Where do you get your fragrances from? Any specifics for the fragrence, or will any scented oil work?

    • Any fragrance or essential oil will work. You can normally find them at a craft store. I’ve even heard of people using the liquid potpourri you can buy in the candle aisle of stores. That may be worth a shot as well! Good luck!

  14. How creative are you??? Cannot wait to try this..great idea and thanks for sharing. I love autumn. My favorite time of year 🙂

  15. Laura Stark says:

    Wow!! There’s so many people I could give these to, with each one customized to the add-ins and scents! So smart of you!!
    Thanks!!!!!!!

  16. Just made this and mine turned out cloudy also. I think it was because I used old gelatin. I will try again with newer gelatin cuz I just love this idea!!

    Thanks Sara!!

  17. Mine also was cloudy..not from the fragrance oil but the gelatin.
    It wasn’t old tho so not sure the deal. It was Knox brand..
    Is there a certain length of time we should be cooking the gelatin?

    • Cecilia, once the air fresheners “set” were they still cloudy? I’m not sure what’s causing the cloudiness. You definitely need to make sure the salt and the gelatin are well dissolved before pouring. I never let my gelatin boil. I think removing it from the heat in time after dissolved may be key as well.

  18. What a cute project. I think these would make a great Christmas gift. Thank you for linking up to Party Time and we hope to see you again next week!

  19. Roseann Detlefsen says:

    Hi Sara-I tried these tonight and mine were also cloudy (same color as the gelatin was in the pan after it dissolves-a yellowish color). I am a candle maker, so my oils are all new and I bought the gelatin yesterday, so nothing I used was old. Does it clarify more after setting? Also, the top of mine was bubbly and not smooth like your pictures. I did not let mine boil, but how long do you keep them on the heat? I did put a sprig of artificial pine in mine, but I don’t think that effected the color. Thanks!

    • Hi Roseann, after it sets it should be clear. Let me know how it looks after it sets. If you had some bubbling you can use a toothpick or straw to try and work some of the bubbles out of the solution. I did have that happen with a few of my containers and I was able to work them out this way. As soon as I knew everything was dissolved I pulled it off the heat.

      • Roseann Detlefsen says:

        Hi Sara-they were still really yellowish and cloudy after setting. In fact, it has been a few weeks and the top is still a little liquidy. I will try again because it is a really neat idea and I have tons of things I can embed in the jars.

  20. Barbara Thompson says:

    Hello Sara,

    I love this idea, I was thinking of a Christmas theme and was wondering if anyone has tried real pine branches, pine cones,holly and cinnamon sticks? I have imitation but thought it might better to try real. I could see where you would need to clean these items before hand. Thank you for your insight!

    Barb

    • I think as long as you steer clear of things like real berries, etc. you should be okay. I think. Some more fragile items may start breaking down or disintegrating perhaps? If you are plannning these for gifts, I would use faux items. If you’re just experimenting with decor in your house, go ahead and try the real. Let me know what happens!! Do a couple of each!

  21. I have made these twice now. Both times turned out cloudy. They do smell wonderful though. I have made autumn scents with artificial leaves, pinecones, mini pumpkins in them. Also made a lavender scented one with artifical lavender sprigs in it.

    • Hi Emmie, I still haven’t figured out what might be causing the cloudiness. It sounds like you’ve made some wonderful fresheners! What a great idea to put mini pumpkins in them. Love it!

  22. I just tried these today, to see how they would work may give them out as Christmas gifts and then try selling them with our crafts.

  23. This is awesome, I just wanted to know what is the shelf live for this item?

  24. What size jars did you use for this recipe? You mentioned small that would be what oz? I think I’m going to definitely try this – Thanks

  25. How long is the shelf life?

  26. Hi, I’ve tried making these but I’ve left it over night but it still don’t set. I’ve tried putting it in the refrigerator, it did set but once I took it out and put in the living room…it melted and turned into liquid. What happened?

    • Hi Rainey, you shouldn’t need to put the jars into the fridge. Make sure you’re using the correct amount of gelatin. You used unflavored gelatin, correct? I’ve never seen them “melt” or not “set” before. About 3 months after I made these I finally tossed them. The remnants at the bottom of the jar were actually rock hard. My only guess is that maybe you didn’t use the correct gelatin or something went wrong while following the recipe?

  27. why does my essential oil seperate from my gel water?

    • Oils can sometimes be temperamental. It could just be the type of essential oil you’re using. I used fragrance oil when I made mine so I’m not completely sure. Your best bet would be to experiment with a different oil next time around. Fingers crossed!

  28. sounds great I will try it from ohio

  29. Vanessa says:

    I used pure I scented and unflavoured gelatin purchased from bulk barn and had the same issue as Rainey. My gels wouldn’t set, so I moved them to the fridge, where they did set, quite quickly. Upon removing them from the fridge, they quickly turned back to a complete liquid. Any suggestions?

  30. Why do you have to use flavoured gelatinous? Could you use unsweetened flavoured gelatin to help with the cloudiness? Also maybe the cloudiness is occurring due to minerals in the water.

  31. Meant to say unflavoured gelatin not gelatinous.

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