homemade reed diffusers are super easy, inexpensive and smell fantastic!

Any scented candle enthusiasts out there?

**raises hand**

Actually, I’m a “former” enthusiast but let me tell you, the obsession was real.

Homemade Reed Diffuser l sherisilver.com

For years, you could pretty much count on seeing a fragrant candle burning in my kitchen when you came into my house. Looking back, I truly don’t understand what the attraction was. The scent was never very strong, the really good ones were costly, and they usually wound up collecting dust after being burned about halfway through.

Homemade Reed Diffuser l sherisilver.com

So a few years ago I switched to reed diffusers. I bought them from the same company that made many of the candles I enjoyed, and I’ll admit that I loved the look of the labels and bottles (any “sucker for packaging” enthusiasts out there?). This was long before I watched the documentary “Stink” (have you seen it? It is HORRIFYING), and felt even better about my choice after learning about the real and totally hidden dangers of any product that includes the word “fragrance” in its ingredient list.

Homemade Reed Diffuser l sherisilver.com

But here’s the thing: those diffusers – while perhaps posing less danger than scented candles – really didn’t smell much stronger. I wondered if it was possible to make my own, and if I’d get the results I was looking for.

Homemade Reed Diffuser l sherisilver.com

Turns out, making your own reed diffusers is cheap, easy and completely customizable! Most diffusers cost about $25 (though they can go way up from there), and last a few months. To make your own you will need:

Homemade Reed Diffuser l sherisilver.com

A bottle ($0 – $2). You can pick up inexpensive bottles at the craft store, or simply reuse any you have at home. Choose a bottle with a narrow neck opening, which will slow the evaporation of the oil. You’ll be surprised at how many pretty bottles you probably have, once you start looking!

Reeds, twigs or bamboo skewers ($0 – $2). You can buy a pack of 100 reed sticks for under $10, which will make dozens of diffusers. Or do as I did and take a walk outside. Twigs are perfect for diffusing, look charming and are free!

Carrier oil (about $2 per 1/4 cup). You need to use a light, neutral oil to carry the fragrance up through the reeds and into the air. I like to use either fractionated coconut oil or sweet almond oil.

Essential oils (about $3 – $5 per diffuser). For every 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of oil in your diffuser you’ll need between 20 and 30 drops of essential oil. Too strong? Use less. Too weak? Add some more. Depending on your preferences, the size of the room and the strength of the oil, you’ll need to play around a bit till you get the amounts just right.

Total cost? Between $5 and $11.

I am thrilled with the way these turned out. They smell fantastic, look great and I love being able to easily switch up the scents. I’d love to know if you try this, and what oils you use!


Homemade Reed Diffuser

small to medium bottle, with a small neck opening
reeds, twigs or bamboo skewers (anywhere from 3 – 8, depending on their size and the bottle opening)
1/4 cup carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut or sweet almond oil
essential oils (either a single oil or combination of two or three) – I love these oils; leave me a comment below to learn how you can get a 24% discount, or read this post for more!

Gather enough reeds or twigs to fill as much of the bottle opening as possible (this will reduce evaporation). If you are using bamboo skewers cut off the pointy ends. If you are using twigs bake them in a 200 degree oven for 45 minutes (this kills any little bugs that may be lurking). Trim the lengths if needed.Β Note: a reader wrote in and suggested using a vegetable peeler to peel the outer bark from the twigs, to allow for greater absorption of the oil. I plan to do this next time!

Pour the carrier oil into the bottle, followed by the essential oils. Start with 20 drops (either of a single oil or combination) but feel free to add more (or use less) if you like. Insert the reeds and give the mixture a swirl. After a few hours, flip the reeds.

Every few days or so, flip the reeds to disperse more of the fragrance. As the mixture evaporates, you can top it off with more oils.

When the reeds become completely saturated simply toss and replace.

I’ve read that bamboo skewers won’t work – that you have to buy actual reeds. Personally I have found them to work just fine; if you have them lying around you can try them for yourself.

Homemade reed diffusers make a lovely gift! Place the mixture in a sealed container and pack it up with the bottle and reeds (and instructions!).

There are literally thousands of oil combinations you can use in your diffuser. And since everyone is different only you know what you’ll like best. Since my diffusers are in public spaces like my kitchen and powder room, I stick with more universally appealing oils like lavender, citrus and eucalyptus.

I have tried every “hack” under the sun to get those labels off my repurposed bottles – this is what works best for me: I stick the bottle – label up – under hot running water, and scratch it vigorously with a steak knife. If you are still left with a layer of adhesive, Goo Gone gets it off in a snap.

(print this recipe)

This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver

Homemade Reed Diffuser l sherisilver.com

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. As a Rewards Style influencer I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases – at no additional cost to you!


  1. Brittany on January 17, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    So good! And so pretty! Can’t wait to make!

  2. Julie on January 23, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Great idea!! (But try lemon oil to remove sticker residue instead of goo gone!)

    • sherisilver on January 23, 2020 at 1:08 pm

      I know! I know! I just hate to waste a drop of that oil! πŸ™‚

  3. Cheryl on August 25, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    Have not tried yet but can hardly wait! Love reed diffusers! Thank you

  4. Cindy on September 13, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    I use a knife to scrape the label too, then rubbing alcohol gets the good off!!

    • sherisilver on September 13, 2020 at 8:40 pm

      Ah! Good to know about the alcohol! Thank you!

  5. Cara on September 14, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    WD40 gets stubborn labels off, too.

  6. Larry Brayton on September 23, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Good information
    Going to start making them for Christmas gifts and to sell

    • sherisilver on September 23, 2020 at 1:23 pm

      Yay! What a great idea and lovely gift! πŸ™‚

Leave a Comment