Vary the following recipes and do not be afraid to change them according to what you have on hand. I find that adding all the dry ingredients, except for the orris root, and allowing their scents to “marry” and then adding the oils to your orris root and then blend it all together. This should hold its scent for quite a well if you are able to close it up every once in a while. Remember you can always add some more essential oil( or as we do, just keep adding scented material to the mix).
Floral Blend 1/4 cup pink roses or rosebuds 1/4 cup lemon verbena 1/4 cup lavender buds 1/4 cup chamomile flowers 1/4 cup rosemary foliage 8 bay leaves 1/4 cup eucalyptus 1/4 cup broken stick cinnamon 2 tablespoons orris root 4 drops rose oil 2 drops lavender oil
Woodsy Blend 1/4 cup cedar shavings 1/4 cup broken cinnamon stick 1/4 cup oak moss shredded 1/4 cup balsam needles 1/4 cup eucalyptus 1/4 cup lemon verbena 1/4 cup hemlock cones or alder cones 2 tablespoons orris root 3 drops each bay, balsam and cedar oils
Spicy Blend 1/4 cup orange peel- if you are making your own try to remove as much of the pit (white layer as possible and make sure it is very dry before storing- or it will mold) 1/4 cup lemon peel- same as above 1/4 cup broken cinnamon stick 1/4 cup whole cloves 1/4 cup whole allspice 1/4 cup lemon verbena 8 broken bay leaves
Tropical Blend 1/4 cup orange blossoms 1/4 cup orange peel 1/4 cup lemon verbena 1/4 cup calendula blooms 1/4 cup chamomile blooms 1/4 cup broken cinnamon 1 tablespoon whole cloves 2 tablespoons orris root 3 drops each gardenia, orange and hyacinth oils
Your Own Blends To create original blends, use this basic formula: 1 cup fragrant flowers 1/2 cup herbs 1/4 cup whole or broken spices or citrus peel 2 tablespoons chipped orris root 5-10 drops essential oil You can vary this as you gain confidence, experimenting with new combinations by crushing a few petals or leaves together in your fingers - at the very least, your hands will smell good!
To Make Homemade Potpourri
Making Potpourri You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to make potpourri. Most of items you will need can be found in your kitchen.
For blending potpourri you will need stainless steel or glass: bowls, measuring cups, and spoons. It is important that you do not use plastic. Plastics will retain the smell of the products you mix, and the oils you will be using sometimes melt plastic.
You will also need glass jars with tight-fitting lids. Dark colored glass works best. Jars will be used to store and protect potpourri during the aging process. Get some eyedroppers or plastic pipettes. You will need one for every scent you have. You will also need a high quality grain alcohol for cleaning the eyedroppers and jars from excess oil. A mortar and pestle will be helpful too. If you do not have one a small hammer, blender, or grinder may be used instead and will be used for making powders. To reproduce your work you want a notebook to keep track of recipes and formulas you construct. You should also get a small scale to measure ingredients.
A potpourri can have as many as 10 scents or more to construct as quality fragrance. Your skill in blending will be developed by your impressions of fragrant combinations of materials.
When blending fragrances, always measure and blend heavier materials first. Heavier materials are roots, barks, and spices. The lighter, more delicate flowers and leaves are then added. For better aromatics, use whole forms of flowers, leaves and spices. Barks and roots can be cut and sifted from. Powders have a tendency to sift to the bottom of your potpourri and are best suited for sachets. Next, add you fixatives. Approximately 20% fixative. Lastly, add essential oils. Using eyedropper, add a little fragrance at a time. Examine the scent, adding more if needed. Take notes. To make this potpourri again, take careful notes on the weight, amount of scent, etc. that you added to this potpourri. Remember with natural products you will have some variations and an exact duplicate is next to impossible. Once you have the fragrance you like, stir ingredients. Smell the mixture again, checking to see if the fragrance is complete.
If this is the fragrance you want, then place mixture in glass jars. Close tightly, and place in dark area for 4 to 6 weeks. Shake contents periodically to keep potpourri well mixed. Potpourri Containers
Half the fun of potpourri is in finding the right container. While you could display it in any non-metal container that can be covered -- even an old mayonnaise jar -- that defeats the elegant Victorian spirit of a perfect potpourri. The container should match the scent.
For Victorian floral blends, choose cut or pressed glass, such as candy dishes or compotes, or a simple round rose bowl set on a saucer. At night reverse the order, setting the saucer on top as a lid. Chinese ginger jars are also good containers for rose-based blends, although they don't show off the colors as a glass or open container would.
Spicy or woodsy blends look at home in sturdy pottery bowls or pots, or in a glass bowl or wide jar set inside a rustic vine basket. Wooden boxes make good containers, too, but they will absorb the fragrance from the oils, and smell like potpourri long after they've been put to some other use.
Look for containers in flea markets, garage sales, church bazaars, and second-hand shops, and be alert for attractive jars such as those used for premium brands of jams and preserves. A metal lid is not a problem, as long as the potpourri does not stand in metal. Potpourri Ingredients
Flowers: Roses - Old fashioned varieties for fragrance, hybrids for color; use buds or petals Lavender - A rich long-lasting clean fragrance Chamomile - Pungent, heady and flowery Orange blossoms - Very heady and sweet Calendula - Bright orange and yellow colors, no scent Heather - Tiny pink blossoms with delicate scent Statice - Firm bright colored flowers, no scent
Herbs: Rosemary - Fragrant needle-like leaves that blend well with roses Thyme - Rich and herby Bay leaves - Delicate, long lasting scent, whole or broken Lemon verbena - A true lemon scent that lasts for years Spearmint - Fresh, strong scent Orange mint - A cologne-like fragrance Spearmint - Fresh, cool fragrance Marjoram leaves - A delicate herb scent Marjoram flowers - Pale pink tufts with mild fragrance
Spices and fruit: Cinnamon - Crisp and long-lasting, use freshly broken sticks Cloves - Long-lasting and strong scent; use whole Allspice - Mild spicy fragrance, use whole Orange and lemon peels - Dried and broken for a sweet, rich scent
Others: Cedar - Shavings or dried leaf tips; rich and woodsy Balsam - Rich and very long lasting, use needles or tips Hemlock cones - For bulk and appearance Oak moss - Soft gray color, earthy aroma Eucalyptus - The scent of a florist shop; use long leaves of mature tree Orris root - A fixative with very little scent of its own; use chipped, not powdered
Essential oils: Choose to match the flowers and herbs; avoid spice oils, which tend to overwhelm a blend, and artificial "fruit" oils which lend a sickly-sweet, un-natural smell.