How to Make Your Own Reed Diffuser

Sweet Scent of Success: How to Make Your Own Reed Diffuser

Last Updated on January 10, 2023

The best reed diffusers look and smell good, bringing a relaxing aroma to your home. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find a readymade one that appeals to both your sense of smell and visual aesthetics.

Thankfully, it is easy to make a reed diffuser. Best of all, you’ll have complete control over how pleasing it looks and how good it smells. Ready to get started? Read on to find out how to make your reed diffuser.

Why Make Your Own Reed Diffuser?

Making your essential oil diffuser gives you the opportunity of having a unique look and scent.


Whether you’re looking for a perfect match for your decor or have a beautiful glass vase that has been sitting around empty for years, you can easily create your reed diffuser with what you have around the house. There’s no need to splash out to make something special.


While scented candles are a nice relaxing way to fragrance your house, they can be dangerous and aren’t suitable for all locations. Reed diffusers can be placed just about anywhere, and they last for several months or until you decide to change the essential oil.

Just the Right Blend

A scent is highly subjective. What smells good to one person isn’t always going to please the next person, not to mention some of the heavily overpowering scents often found in commercial home fragrances. Homemade reed diffusers make it possible to choose your exact blend of essential oil for a completely individual aroma.


Even if you are too busy, or it’s not your thing, it is so easy to make a DIY reed diffuser that anybody can give it a try. You can choose from one of the thousands of essential oil blend recipes to suit your mood and preferences. It’s always a good rule of thumb to buy extra supplies and make a few different scents you can put in various parts of your home. You could even give it as a gift.

How Does a Reed Diffuser Work?

Unlike candles and plug-in fragrance diffusers, reed diffusers don’t need a flame or electricity to perfume your home. So just how does a reed diffuser work? Placing your reeds in the oil causes them to diffuse the scent across your room. It occurs by a process known as capillary action.

Capillary action is the ability of a liquid to flow upwards through small spaces despite gravity. The molecules in the oil can coat the inner tubular surface of the rattan reeds in your diffuser. Plant stems and kitchen roll paper are good examples of this. The molecules also adhere to one another and progress up the reed, releasing the fragrance into your room.

When you make a reed diffuser, you will need to turn your reeds upside down every week or so to ensure that the essential oils continually diffuse throughout your room.

Making A Reed Diffuser

What You Need

You’ll need the following items to make your very own essential oil diffuser.

A Container

Glass or ceramic vases and bottles are popular DIY choices. Your container or bottle should preferably have a narrow opening to slow down the evaporation rate of your homemade reed diffuser.

Carrier Oil

An example is safflower oil. See our section below on diffuser oils for more detail on other substitutes such as baby oil, coconut oil, water or vodka for your DIY diffuser base.

Essential Oils

Either follow a recipe or make your custom scent by combining your favourite essential oils.

Diffuser Reeds

You’ll want around 5-10 rattan reeds per bottle. These are readily available in all good craft stores, as well as online. If you are struggling to source rattan reeds, bamboo skewers make a good replacement.

Step-by-Step Guide

With all of the above items to hand, here’s how to make your reed diffuser.

  1. Prepare your reed diffuser oil. You can pour it directly into your container, but you may find it easier to use a glass measuring jug or a jar.
  2. You’re going to want to use one-quarter essential oils to three-quarters diffuser base oil. If it’s easier for you, take a small measuring cup or lid and measure out three lots of diffuser oil, followed by one lot of essential oil.
  3. Stir well to mix the oils and transfer the oil mixture to your DIY diffuser bottle.
  4. Add your reeds and leave them to soak for half an hour.
  5. Over your sink (to avoid drips), remove your reeds from the bottle, turn them the other way up and place them back in oils, dry end down.
  6. Place your DIY reed diffuser in the room of your choice and arrange your reeds.
  7. Enjoy the relaxing aroma of your favourite essential oils, gently perfuming your home.

Potential Issues You May Encounter

When using your reed diffuser, there are also things that you should bear in mind.

  • Depending on where you are placing your essential oil diffuser bottle, you may wish to place a coaster underneath it to prevent any damage in case of oil drips. It is particularly pertinent if using your oil diffuser on a painted, wooden or varnished surface.
  • Certain essential oils are not safe for use around animals, so double check before introducing essential oils into your home if you have any pets.
  • Always keep your essential oil diffuser out of reach of small children and pets.

Carrier Oil Characteristics

Undiluted essential oils can be overpowering, strong-smelling, and irritating to your eyes. They also don’t go very far. Using a reed diffuser base is essential to diffusing your scent around your home for a delicate fragrance that infuses your room.

Your carrier oil needs to be two things: odourless and thin. It shouldn’t smell so that it won’t detract from the aroma of your essential oil blend. It needs to be thin to travel up your reeds to diffuse the aroma effectively. Too thick, and your reeds could get clogged up.

The best carrier oils for reed diffusers are almond oil or safflower oil. They are both scentless and thin enough to easily travel up your reeds. While they are the most recommended for reed diffusers, you can also use sweet almond oil, citrus oils or coconut oil. Some people have also used mineral oil like baby oil with success.

You could even use water, rubbing alcohol or strong, odourless alcohol like vodka if you don’t have any of the previously mentioned base oils on hand.

How to Make Your Reed Diffuser Smell Stronger

If you aren’t quite getting as strong a scent as you’d like from your DIY diffuser, you may be tempted to up the concentration of essential oils in your reed diffuser vase. It isn’t something we’d recommend. Using more than the recommended 25% concentration tends to be counterproductive, leading to separation and clogging up your reeds. So don’t add extra essential oil to your mix. It will only be a waste.

Add More Reeds

To make your DIY reed diffuser smell stronger, add a few more reeds. It will enhance the diffusion levels for a more noticeable fragrance.

Use A Different Scent

Still not getting enough scent? Try switching your reed diffuser recipe to a more noticeable, stronger aroma. It is often the best advice for large rooms that get a lot of use. Save your milder fragrances for the bedroom or other tranquil areas.

Add Another Diffuser

Alternatively, you could add an extra DIY reed diffuser with the same essential oil to another part of your room, especially if your room is of a decent size or gets a lot through traffic. With two reed diffusers in tandem, you’re sure to get a much stronger scent in your home.

Use A Lightweight Base

Lastly, make sure that you’re using a lightweight reed diffuser base, such as safflower, thin enough to travel up the reeds to diffuse your scent effectively and don’t forget to flip your reeds periodically.

Replacing Your Reed Diffuser

How long will a reed diffuser last? Homemade reed diffusers typically last for several months. While a DIY 100ml vase can last for around three to four months, a 200ml reed diffuser can last twice as long. However, while reed diffusers can be very long-lasting, there are several factors to consider when deciding how often to replace the essential oil in your reed diffuser.


Firstly, lifespan is affected by location. Placing your DIY reed diffuser bottle in a cool, draught-free spot without direct sunlight will make it last much longer. Central heating, dehumidifier, and air conditioning can all reduce your oil diffusers’ lifespan, as can a warm, sunny location, such as on a windowsill.

Container Opening

Also, bottles or vases with a wide opening will allow for faster evaporation, whereas models with a cap with holes for the reed sticks or a tight opening will tend to last longer. If you regularly flip your reeds, you’ll also find that you need to refill your DIY essential oil diffuser bottle more often. More flipping leads to greater evaporation.


While you’re at, make sure that you also replace your reeds. Over time, reeds can get clogged and dirty, so when you decide, it’s time to refill your fragrance oil, clean your diffuser bottle with water, refill your diffuser base and make sure you use new rattan reeds. For the best results, replace your reed sticks systematically every six months or more frequently if you notice a reduction in the amount of scent put out.

What Are the Best Fragrances for a DIY Reed Diffuser?

One of the best things about making your reed diffuser is that you are free to use whatever fragrances you prefer, as well as creating your blends. While the Internet is full of some fantastic reed diffuser recipes, a little experimentation is the best way to get highly personalised essential oil combinations that say home to you.

Create A Mood

You may want to use different aromatherapy oils for different rooms in your house. Use more discreet, relaxing scents in the bedroom. Choose a more powerful fragrance oil in the bathroom. While most people tend to create a favourite base and stick to it, mix things up and try a new blend every so often in your homemade diffuser – there are so many options.

Make It Seasonal

Make up a new reed diffuser recipe to coincide with the seasons. For autumn, winter and Christmas time, in particular, try out some pine scents with orange and cinnamon. Other popular essential oils for winter include frankincense, nutmeg, spruce and patchouli. You can welcome spring and summer into your home with citrus scents or floral blends, including lavender, jasmine or bergamot essential oils.

Blend for Healing

You can also experiment with different essential oil recipes to aid relaxation. Your homemade reed diffuser can be a great help to unwind or to get to sleep after a stressful day. Valerian, lavender and ylang-ylang are all popular aromatherapy oils recipes to promote relaxation.

Choose Your Adventure

Making your reed diffuser is a great way to have a delicately fragrant home. Choose your favourite aromatherapy oil or make your custom blend. If you’re fed up with overpowering chemical scents from commercial air fresheners, a homemade reed diffuser is a fantastic way to personalise your home fragrance.

You also have complete control over your reed diffuser’s appearance to suit your style. Once you’ve perfected your secret blend of essential oils, why not make a reed diffuser for your friends and family as a birthday or Christmas gift.

Have you made a reed diffuser? What blend of scents did you use. Tell us all about it below.

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