Scent has the magical ability to transport us to another time and place. One sniff of pine reminds us of a rickety little Christmas tree while the warm scent of sugar cookies takes us back to Grandma’s kitchen. Making potpourri with essential oils can not only transport us—there are many healing benefits as well.
Using Essential Oils
“I buy 100 percent therapeutic grade oils in bulk from bulkapothecary.com. I bottle them into smaller bottles and it goes a long way,” said Amanda Sullivan-Doyle certified aromatherapist. “Edensgarden.com is also is great for a beginner who is just getting into essential oils and they explain every oil and what it’s good for. Two examples are peppermint oil, which relieves headaches, increases energy and reduces hunger cravings, and lavender oil, which relaxes, calms and is a sleep aid,” Sullivan-Doyle said.
There are two ways to make potpourri:
1) dry your own botanicals and use essential oils to scent them, or
2) buy unscented, dried botanicals (available at any craft store) and use essential oils to scent them.
Drying Your Own Botanicals
Now isn’t a good time to gather flowers in northern Indiana, but a fading holiday bouquet would be perfect for making your own potpourri. Any flowers will work—whether flowers with strong scents, flowers with small, individual petals or whole flower heads.
Slow Method: Air-Dry
Air-drying will take 1-2 weeks. Spread flowers so they aren’t layered or touching each other (to get good airflow) or simply fasten them together with rubber bands and hang them upside down. Once dry, lay botanicals on a flat, covered surface and mix one tablespoon of water with 10-15 drops of essential oils and spritz.
Preheat your oven to 200°F or lowest setting. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut flowers from stems (just below the heads) and place on the tray. Remove individual petals and place in a single layer. To add scent, cut and add thin slices of citrus fruits or tuck in springs of rosemary, lavender and thyme to the mix. Whole spices, such as cinnamon sticks, cloves or allspice work well for holiday potpourri.
Add 10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential oil with one tablespoon of water in a small spray bottle, then spritz the potpourri ingredients. Dry in the oven for at least two hours, checking often, until the flowers are brittle. (Burnt flowers won’t smell good!) When the potpourri is ready, remove from the oven and give them another spritz. Once the potpourri is at room temperature, gently mix together. Place in a bowl to scent a room or place in small drawstring bags for sachets to tuck in drawers and hang in closets.
Buy unscented botanicals, cover work surface and pour out the amount of potpourri you’d like to scent. Mix one tablespoon water with 10-15 drops of essential oils in a spray bottle, spray and allow to dry. Place in decorative jars, bowls or small bags for sachets. You’re done! Reap the benefits and be whisked away.