DIY Gel Air Freshener – With only a few ingredients you can make your own gel air fresheners! Decorate with some silk flowers or leaves and they are pretty enough to even give as gifts!
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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!
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.
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. I made sure to pick something with a wonderful autumnish (I don’t think that’s a word) scent!
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.
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!
Sam M. | Atkinson Drive says
This looks awesome – I can’t wait to try it!
They were so easy to make, Sam! You definitely need to whip some up!
This is such a fun idea! I didn’t realize how easy there were to make! Pinning so I can try it soon!
Yes, Kelley, they’re super simple to make and they honestly have a pretty decent scent throw. Good luck!
Sydney @Tastefully Frugal says
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!
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.
Elena, you definitely should! Good luck and enjoy!
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.
Hi Stacey! No I haven’t had any problems with mold and it’s been weeks since I’ve made them!
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!
These look really neat.
I have a question though: why do you use salt?
Hi Jamie, the salt helps prevent mold from forming on the gelatin!
Oh, that makes sense, thanks!
This is awesome! I love that you can pick and choose what scents you want ^.^
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.
Thanks Sara. The fragrance oils were both clear. Maybe I will try to find the candle fragrance oil and try again.
Good luck, Maria. I hope the next batch turns out for you! Fingers crossed!
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
Michelle, those are awesome ideas! They sound so pretty. I’m sure they’ll turn out great!
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.
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!
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!
How creative are you??? Cannot wait to try this..great idea and thanks for sharing. I love autumn. My favorite time of year 🙂
Thanks so much, Dmaria! They are so easy to make and look and smell SO good!
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!!
They are definitely great for gifts, especially around the holidays!
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!!
Lesley, I certainly hope it works out for you next time, Lesley. What kind of fragrance oil did you use?
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.
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!
Thanks, Jacqui! They definitely would make great gifts – really any time of year!
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.
Barbara Thompson says
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!
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!
Michelle Bullock says
I have just made Christmas ones of these for gifts and I used a pot pouri mix in it… they did float a little but with the Christmas Spice oil they look and smell amazing…
What a great idea, Michelle! So glad they turned out well for you!!
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!
Melissa Holt says
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.
What a great idea, Melissa! I’d love to know what you put in yours to dress them up!
This is awesome, I just wanted to know what is the shelf live for this item?
Cami, I’m not completely certain how long you could store them sealed, but when opened, mine lasted about 2 months.
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
Bonita, 6 or 8 oz. jars seem to work well!
Melissa Holt says
How long is the shelf life?
Melissa Holt says
Ooops I just saw that comment…lmao
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?
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!
sounds great I will try it from ohio
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?
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.
Hi Bonny, you actually are supposed to use UNFLAVORED gelatin for this.Thank you for your comment!
Meant to say unflavoured gelatin not gelatinous.
what does salt for???
Salt has the ability to soak up foul odors.
Jacqueline Rosser says
Ok i have read all these comments and i think i know why many of you are having problems with clouding.. if you have made jello before you will notice that if your water isnt boiling HOT your jello will have scum on it! My advice is to make sure your water is boiling hot and move as quick as possible when dissolving the salt and gelatin! Although Ihavent made yet made these awesome air fresheners i plan to soon! If your having problems with cloudiness try this iďea. Im pretty sure that this is the problem. Love this idea! Stunning and beautiful!
Miss Jacqueline, I do think that you just may be right. I think the cloudiness is due to not everything being totally dissolved. Good call!
How much fragrance oil did you use???
The amount was in the recipe in the post. I use anywhere from 1-2 tablespoons.
Izy Joi Papa says
How long it can last? The DIY air freshener?
Probably about 3-4 weeks.
I made one last week and used 1 tablespoon of essential oil. Unless I’m 6 inches or less away from the jar, I can’t really smell it. Perhaps use more?
These gel air fresheners do best in smaller rooms like bathrooms and bedrooms. Try moving it to a smaller room to see if it makes a difference. If not, then yes, add a bit more oil.
Do you cover and let set or leave them uncovered?
Hi Lisa! I leave them uncovered. Good luck!
I’m so interested to try this. I planned on making pinecone gel candles for Christmas presents this year but i think I will try this instead. Do you know how long they last with lids on? I plan to use mason jars but i like to make presents in advance.
They should last 3-4 weeks for sure!
You did not say if you put the lids on the jars to cool overnight.
Hi Carole, I leave the lids off while they’re cooling!