diy by 101

diy project: solid perfume pocket watch locket


Try as I might, I cannot seem to grasp even the most basic of feminine beauty rituals. I’m constantly struggling to master rudimentary hair and makeup techniques, and my one-time foray into the “subtle” art of perfume left everyone in the room with burning nostrils.

This DIY solid perfume locket from artisanal perfumer Mandy Aftel is something I can definitely stand behind, though. Mandy only uses pure and natural ingredients to create her perfumes, and this solid scent can be easily applied with no risk of over-dousing. The old pocket watch appeals to my tomboy side, and I love its versatility; you can wear it as a necklace or pin, or simply tuck it into your pocket or purse. I can’t wait to make one and give my feminine sensibilities a little boost :) Thanks for sharing this tutorial with us, Mandy! — Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump!

Creating your own solid perfume is extremely satisfying. One of the joys of having a solid fragrance is that you can easily carry it with you, or even wear it on your body in a locket, without worrying about it spilling. I like to make perfume in small and beautiful containers that grow more precious and treasured with use. You can enjoy the experience of applying a solid perfume unobtrusively throughout the day in an earthy and sensual ritual that is quite different from dabbing on a liquid perfume. Solid perfume will scent only you, not the environment around you. — Mandy

Materials

  • 1 1/2 tsp. jojoba oil (available at whole foods and natural grocery stores)
  • 7 drops frankincense essential oil (you can get some of Mandy’s essential oils here)
  • 7 drops of ylang ylang essential oil
  • 5 drops fresh ginger essential oil
  • 6 drops wild sweet orange essential oil
  • heaping 1/2 tsp. grated beeswax (available here)
  • eyedroppers (available at drug stores)
  • small nonmetal pan for melting wax
  • shot glass or small cup
  • small compact or pillbox for finished perfume

Instructions

1. Pour jojoba oil into the shot glass. Add the drops of all four essential oils to the jojoba oil and stir.

2. Melt the heaping 1/2 teaspoon of beeswax.

3. Remove from heat and stir in the jojoba/perfume blend.

4. Reheat for just 10 seconds, stirring.

5. Immediately pour the mixture into your container.

6. Let cool undisturbed for 15 minutes.

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101 Comments

marissa @ the boot

wow this is one of the coolest DIYs i’ve seen in a long time! i would love to make this and experiment with the oils and containers! thank you!

Emily (Sowing Clover)

Perfect! I have an old owl pin from Avon which opens to reveal a place to put solid perfume. I used to just put a cottonball in there with a few drops of esscential oils. Now I can make my own solid perfume!

Suki

I wonder if you photo copied a picture onto acetate and put it on the glass side if it would withstand the heat of the hot purfume. I would be cool if it worked : )

La

This is the freshest idea I’ve seen in bloggyland in a long time!!! Thank you for helping me find this years holiday gift for all my BFF’s!!

Rachel

I just saw this idea someplace else yesterday (except in a necklace locket form–can’t remember where) and started wondering if you could use a perfume you already have to scent the beeswax, instead of essential oils. Would this work, or is it a bad idea for some reason, like the perfume reacting with the wax or something? Would love to have a perfumer’s advice on this, otherwise I might have to just give it a go. I’d love to be able to make myself a solid, travel-ready version of my perfumes.

erin

im sure this is obvious but can you use different essential oil smells than what is listed above? Say, for instance, a pre-mixed perfume oil?

Pilar

This is a great idea! I have a vintage pocket watch locket from my grandmother and this would be a perfect way to add a little something to it. Thanks!

Cait

I think you summed up my life in this blog in regards to your struggles with basic beauty rituals. I’m excited to try this out for sure :-)

Mandy Aftel

A solid perfume is easy to make and you can find such charming cases to recycle on eBay or at flea markets. People love to receive them as a gift. If you wanted to make the above recipe more “fresh and green” you could substitute geranium for the ylang.

gabricci

I do this every Christmas. As well as using old pocket watches I also use vintage compacts that I pick up at charity shops and flea markets.

gabricci

And to answer Suki’s question, I always put a photo of the recipient on the glass side of the watch or compact. I copy the photo on good quality photo paper, cut it out and glue it in.

Vicki

If you were wanting to make a solid version of an existing purfume, rather than an essential oil mix, how would you change the concentration to make it come out properly?

Margaret

I love everything about this idea and tutorial.
But, like Vicki and Rachel, I would like to know if it can be done with a parfum you have on hand?

Ashley

I made some of these last year as Christmas gifts! But I used altoids tins I had decorated, as well as old pill boxes and Avon containers. So much fun, and everyone loved them!

Mandy Aftel

You really can’t do this well with a perfume you have on hand and there are a few reasons: most perfumes are in an alcohol base and that doesn’t mix with the beeswax. If they are an oil-based perfume, they also don’t always blend well with the wax and it changes the texture of the perfume.
The ratio of wax to oil is crucial. for a luxurious solid perfume — neither too hard (hard to spread) or too soft (mushy). The correct texture is like a creamy lipstick.
Also you need extra top notes in your perfume blend because the oil and the wax tend to flatten the sparkling top notes of a perfume.
Thank you so much for your kind words about my solid perfume DIY piece. I really appreciate it.
Mandy

carolyn

oh my gosh, i loooove this. definitely bookmarking for christmas! what a perfect little stocking stuffer :)

rachel

i was given one as a gift from anthropologie and love it. it stays fresh all day long. this is such a great project to be able to make gifts and turn all sorts of found objects into scent vessels!

Mandy Aftel

You can make this perfume with other oils but it is important to choose ones that will work together and in the right proportion to one another.

Adriane

If you are looking for a good place to get supplies go to http://www.thesage.com, the website is a little outdated but easy to navigate. They have pre-made lip balm solutions(soy or vegan) that work great as a solid perfume when you add your favorite essentials or fragrance oils. They carry a large selection of essentials and fragrance oils as well. Its fun to browse their online catalog! Check them out!

Karin

BRILLIANT! I love the idea of reusing pocket watches but in a way that maintains their romance. Yay creativity.

Maggie

I love this post! I have some solid perfume from Pacifica and would LOVE to make my own. Thank you for sharing!

Danae

I sell handmade perfume filled lockets and pillboxes (made with vintage lockets and boxes) as part of my jewelry line! It’s such a nice way to smell lovely all day long and they’re instant keepsakes.

Hope everyone has fun making their own!

Jayne Humhreys

What a wonderful idea in such a beautiful container. I am an Aromatherapist I will be trying this myself definately the combinations of oils are endless in a project like this.

Lindsay

As someone that is totally allergic to perfume/manufactured scents this is such a refreshing post that all products used are natural!
Essential Oils = all good
Scented Oils = perfume in oil = very sick me
So thank you for the very cool post and thank you to Mandy for her use of natural products and explaining that solid perfumes scent “you and not the room”. Just loved this!

Donna

Great tutorial and I love the vintage containers used for this purpose! Wonderful!

Grace Bonney

pol

you’d use it just like any other perfume or beauty accessory- put it on at home or take it with you to apply on the go.

g

Nina

Thanks SO MUCH for sharing this! I’ve seen tutes on it before but not from an expert like yourself. Thanks! I’d love to make some for my sister but she is allergic to ginger. Really, really allergic. Is there any alternative to the ginger? Or is it just a case of getting to a blend that appeals to the senses? I love Jo Malone perfumes and they all seem to be so fresh and natural. The Pomegranate Noir is my favourite. I’m a Jo Malone nut. This tutorial could drastically cut my J.M. addiction! Thanks for that too!

Mandy Aftel

Dear Nina

You could leave the ginger out or substitute it with some pink or black pepper essential oil if you want to include a little spice.

Becca

am I the only person who winced as she mixed and poured on that pretty book cover? I just kept imagining perfume all over the place…

Cye

srsly amazing, i’m totally doing this – i’m always looking for creative and cheap steampunk ideas and now i cant wait to grab a bunch of vintage lockets and pocket watches and gift them out. thank you!

DivineLioness

Thanks so much for this awesome project! I had to share it with my readers, it’s creative and cost effective, for CEREAL!

Kelly

This is awesome! Question: if I put it in a locket necklace, will the heat from my body cause the beeswax to melt?

Kelly

Just had another thought…I bet it would work really well if you poured it into an empty chapstick tube…that way you could “roll” it on to apply directly to the skin!

Donna

@ Becca. No, you were not the only one that winced over the book :)

thezenofmaking

Great idea! I carried pocket watches when I was in college, and now I definitely need to dig out the broken ones to re-purpose for perfume holders.

Mimi

This was a great tutorial:) I was just wondering what the actual name of the pretty book was (and I winced along with the other ladies too:P) Thanks for this post:)

Thursday Girls

LOVE LOVE LOVE! This is so cute. And so perfect for the summer, when you just want the slightest hint of a fragrance without being overwhelming or offensive ;) We shared it with our readers this week on our weekly blog roundup! See the post here: http://bit.ly/nHiEzL

xo, Thursday Girls

Courtney

@Mandy Aftel- where did you get the little wooden spoon with the bumble bee on it?

Sarah

Can you use any scented oils as long as the ratio stays the same?

Karani_1

You could make different blends to suit different situations and times of day eg. One to perk you up during the day …. Or a calming one if you are stressed …a night time blend for sleep etc the possibilities are endless … You would need to refer to sn aromatherapy guide to see which ones are good to use directly on skin as some are not suitable even though they smell great .

Caitlin

Where is everyone finding (reasonably priced) old pocket watches to use for the project? I’m at a loss. And I’ve never seen any at our local flea market. Thanks!

Twila

This is fabulous! Thank you. I bought my daughter a small, beautiful marble hinged container that was filled with solid patchoulli fragrance long ago. She now lives in another province and when I smell patchoulli, I melt. She returned the jar to me a couple years ago, so I could smell her in its emptiness and feel close to her… (dorky I know… but I loved it!) Well I guess it is time to re-fill and re-re-gift it!

jen_cam

Awesome project. I wish I could find a recipe for a rose scented solid blend.

caitlin

Love this! is there a resource anywhere for answering issues while making solid perfume? This worked perfect in the right size locket, but when I try to fill a slightly larger container the recipe is not easily “doubled” and it came out once too waxy which blocked the scent, and once too oily.

Thanks!

Lynette

I love this idea! I only wear a specific perfume but would really like to use this idea . What about a lip gloss instead if perfume? Di you have a good recipe for that?

misa

Really love this and want to try it. Just tried to print it out and got four pages, none of which contained the directions. Wish there was a print it button attached to your DIY projects.

Paula Pope

In response to Rachel, I think that you would NOT be able to use regular perfume in this because it is mostly alcohol, but if you had oil perfume concentrate, that would work. You could also add just a little extra bees wax to firm it up more, let it set up, and then scoop out little balls of it. Make a bracelet or necklace with an open-lace spherical locket, fill the cage with the perfume balls…scented jewelry.

Patricia Sumter

I found this tutorial for lip balm but am looking for others, as well as other scent blends for the perfume. Thanks for the inspiration!

Melanie

Thank you for this. My mum had a solid scented perfume when I was a kid that I absolutely loved. For years I have searched for a solid scent that I liked, but now instead I can make my own!

Abby

I love this idea and I am curious though if worn, will body heat melt the solid? Or what if it’s a hot summery day??

Nell

Hello
I love your article, and I am keen to try it. My question is: Is the scent going to be as long lasting as the liquid perfume? Thank you.

marie, the EpicureanPiranha

What a lovely idea, and your tiny pocket watch-like containers are delightful! Can I ask where you got these? I’d love to try this!

Thank you (found this post via Pinterest by the way).

~ marie, the EpicureanPiranha

tru leigh

BE AWARE!

Beeswax will permanently ruin anything utensil you use, I learned the hard way. Plan accordingly.

Wrome

Is there a way to use your favorite perfume and turn it into a solid?

Charlemange

Look out for items you can fill with this perfume at garage sales and second hand stores. You cannot use commercial perfumes to scent this. Everything you use has to be oil soluble. You also have to be careful with the beeswax, (you can use natural soy wax if you are vegan) so have lots of paper towels on hand to wipe out your bowls when you are done (you will need very hot water to get it all out).

You can use a disposable bamboo stick (the ones used for kabobs) to stir your ingredients. Never allow oils or beeswax to go down your drains, it will clog and cost you $$$ to have a plumber fix it.

Kyle of Seattle

Thanks for this tutorial! I’m allergic to a lot of synthetic perfumes, but I have found quite a number of essential oils that don’t irritate me. Trouble is, you can’t really apply them “neat” to the skin and so need to dilute them somehow first. A carrier oil seems the most intuitive, but it’s messy.

I’ve used petroleum jelly to create a semi-solid fragrance medium before. All you do is *carefully* heat a small amount of it in a stove-safe pan or container until it is liquid and add essential oils. Pour into a tin or solid perfume container. I wouldn’t keep this in a pocket, though, as body oils might soften the petroleum jelly and leak out.

Wrome: Probably if you are very careful, you can add drops of your favorite perfume to the solid as it cools. I don’t know how hot the jojoba/beeswax mix will get, but I think most perfumes have alcohol in them. Personally, I’d be leery about adding anything with alcohol to anything hot. Certainly keep the perfume away from the heating element you use to melt the mix.

Christi H

I’m thinking of putting the mixture in a small open container inside of a small bad & keeping it in the linen closet.

Angie

Just made this with a group of young girls who each chose their own selections of fragrances. What FUN! We added the same mixture of essential oils to unscented body lotion, too.
For the kids, I bought containers from http://www.specialtybottle.com …they carry a big selection of cute containers with twist off lids and such for a reasonable price.

Lana

I’m in love! This is such an amazing idea!
I just hope I can find the supplies for myself.

analise

this sounds like a great gift idea! I was wondering whats the NAME OF THE green BOOK you have in 2 of the pictures. Thanks!

Arden

Could I substitute clover for frankincense? If not clover, is there something else I could use?

toni

great tutorial! you can also use empty Altoids tins. Cute and unexpected!

alejandra

hello I love your idea, but I wonder if I can use other ingredients.?

Sue

I’m going to do this with my best friends little girl, her mother will love it for Mother’s Day. Thank you! Also, I wish you could come up with other scents for us – I would love something like the Moroccan Bazaar febreeze her mother loves. I think the main scents were ginger and nutmeg.

Arlene soong

Hello …can you please give the book title and author…when I clink on your link…nothing comes up for me….

Sue

Perfume in the pocket watch case is very nice but the platter is the eye catcher for me. I love that platter.

Laurie Taylor

Looking forward to trying this as I already make a beeswax based hand salve for dry cracked skin that my dad invented. Craftybubbles.com which is Bolek’s Craft Supplies has many different essential oils, beeswax and some plastic containers.

María Varela

I’m a trained aromatherapist and have made many of these. In mines I used not beeswax but amber wax that I had lying around from a trip to Morocco, it was so luxurious! I’d also recommend adding some glycerin as the texture is not so gritty, and playing around with blending different oils.

Emma

I use to have a perfume holder like this . I have 3 pocket watches that no longer work and I think they just may get a face lift ! thanks for sharing!!!

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