How to Make Solid Perfume

I have been intrigued by the idea of solid perfume for a while. The convenience, transportability, and ability to make it all-natural was really appealing to me! I could avoid the respiratory and skin allergens, and still smell nice.

How to make solid perfume. lip balm tubes & tin filled with home made solid perfume, next to a bottle of liquid oil perfume

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My solid perfume recipe

For items that will last me a long time, and things that use essential oils, I like to make just enough, rather than a lifetime supply. These recipes are for a single lip balm tube, and for a small tin. Since I don’t wear perfume all the time, I expect that these will last me months each. And when I am running low, I can refill the same container. This recipe can be easily scaled up. Just use water to measure the volume of the container and multiply one of the recipes below to get the needed volume. I measured my small Altoids tin by pouring water in, 1 teaspoon at a time.


  • Per 5.5mL (about 1 teaspoon) lip balm tube:
    • 2.2 grams sweet almond oil (about 1/2 teaspoon)
    • 2 grams filtered beeswax (about 1/2 heaping teaspoon beeswax pastilles; 1/2 teaspoon grated, packed beeswax)
    • 10 drops essential oils
  • Per mini Altoids tin (holds about 4 teaspoons):
    • 8.8 grams sweet almond oil (about 2 teaspoons)
    • 8 grams filtered beeswax (about 2 heaping teaspoon beeswax pastilles or 2 teaspoon grated, packed beeswax)
    • 40 drops essential oils


Note: this will set pretty fast, so once the oils/waxes come out of the microwave/off the double boiler, work quickly.

ingredients for making solid perfume: beeswax, almond oil, essential/fragrance oils, and containers: lip balm tubes and small metal tins
  1. Gather supplies: ingredients from above, small container for holding the solid perfume (I used lip balm tubes and a small Altoids tin), double boiler or small glass bowl (I used a glass bowl and microwave), another small glass bowl for mixing oils, measuring spoons and/or kitchen scale, and something to mix with (I like a toothpick for small batches and popsicle stick for large batches).
  2. If blending essential oils, measure them out into a small bowl. If using a single oil, this step can be skipped.
  3. Measure the beeswax and almond oil (or other non-fragrance oils and waxes) into a different glass bowl than the essential oils, or into the small bowl of the double boiler.
  4. Slowly heat the oils and stir occasionally. For my small batches, I microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds, then check every 10 seconds until the oils and waxes are melted.
  5. Stir base oil/wax to blend.
  6. Working quickly, add the essential oils to the base oil/wax and stir to blend. Pour into the prepared perfume container. If the mixture starts setting in the mixing container, it can be put back on the double boiler or in the microwave to re-melt. When heating after adding essential or fragrance oils, use as little time as necessary because heat will cause some of the essential oil to evaporate.
  7. Allow to set – 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the container – and use any time after the solid perfume as cooled.
  8. Clean up: Anything with wax can be tough to clean up. I heat the mixing bowl in the microwave for a few seconds, then immediately wipe out with a paper towel. After that, soap, hot water, and my kitchen scrub brush is enough to get the bowl clean.
homemade solid perfume in lip balm tubes and a mini Altoids tin

Inspiration for a solid perfume

As you may know from some my previous posts, I like solid versions of normally liquid products. Why? There are a few reasons.

Convenience. Solid products travel well, whether it be in my purse, in my car, or on airplanes. I don’t have to worry about a liquid bottle of lotion exploding when I drop my purse, or liquid limits on airplane carry-ons.

Preservatives, or lack thereof. Solid products are typically made up of oils and waxes, which are naturally shelf stable. Liquid products contain water, and bacteria likes to grow in water, so preservatives are needed. Not all preservatives are “harmful chemicals,” but for my homemade recipes, they add a layer of complication for me to make sure the products I make are safe.

Yet another additional layer of complication is emulsifiers, which are needed to get the water- and oil-based parts of the solution to mix. I’ve done it, but so far not with enough success to share here. For me, it’s just not worth the effort. So, I love solid versions of products!

I also dislike traditional aerosol perfumes. These synthetic fragrances bother my allergies causing sneezing and itchy eyes and face, headaches, and topically they sometimes cause contact dermatitis when I apply to my skin. No way am I dealing with that every time I want to smell nice! And I am not the only one suffering in this way. Many people have allergies to fragrances, and some ingredients are also hormone disruptors which can cause all sorts of health issues over time. If you want to learn more, the Environmental Working Group put together a lengthy report on fragrances. As for these traditional synthetic fragrances, I say “No, thank you.” (This holds true for lotions, shampoos, and other products, not just perfume! If it has “fragrance” or “parfum” in the ingredients, I avoid it.)

Years ago, I was gifted this lovely little tin of Pacifica solid perfume. It smells lovely, and travels well. This perfume is even vegan, made with coconut wax and soy wax as a base. After seeing this handy little product, I decided that some day I would make my own. I am excited that I have finally been able to do that! I found this solid perfume on Amazon, though the ingredient list is a little different. But is is available for purchase for those who want to try this without DIY.

Pacifica solid perfume with box showing ingredient list: organic cocnut wax, organic soy wax, non-GMO hydrogenated soy wax, Pacifica's own fragrance blend with natural and essential oils of jasmine, Orange flowers and ylang ylang.

Perfume Base

The base for a solid perfume should be made of mild-scented products so it does not overpower the fragrance that is chosen for the solid perfume. Similar to my solid lotion, I wanted something that was a combination of solid at all perceivable temperatures where I would store this perfume (winter, summer; in the house, in a car), so I considered bees wax, cocoa butter, and soy wax. I wanted to use ingredients I already had on hand (I am always thinking frugal with my projects), so that eliminated soy wax. Cocoa butter has a pretty strong smell, which I find quite lovely, but not in a perfume. So I decided to use beeswax.

I also needed a liquid component, and considered coconut oil (liquid above 76 Fahrenheit), sweet almond oil, and jojoba oil. I was concerned that with coconut oil, this solid perfume might be too solid in the cold. I did not have much jojoba oil left, so I went with almond oil. However, I think any of these oil choices (and probably others that I did not consider) would work just fine.

Perfume Fragrance

One of the great things about making my own solid perfume is that I had complete control over the ingredients. I could make it all natural, and I could scent it any way I wanted! I am a huge fan of all natural and essential oils, I had a small bottle of a natural fragrance oil that I got at Nantucket Natural Oils about 10 years ago. I love the scent. Unlike aerosol fragrance perfumes, this oil does not bother my allergies (no sneezing or contact dermatitis) – maybe because it is natural? I love the fragrance but always forget to use it. In a solid form, I can keep it in my purse or can and apply it when I remember. So when I first decided to make a solid perfume, I of course chose to use this fragrance oil. I also made a lip balm tube of helichrysum essential oil, which has a pleasant floral, citrus scent which is believed to have stress-relieving effects. I like the (possible stress relieving) benefit as well as the scent.

Crunchy Betty does a fantastic job of describing blending oils and suggests a few blends. I highly recommend perusing her post to get inspiration for blending oils. I was happy with a couple single-oil fragrances, but in the future I may do some blending experimentation.


The cost to make solid perfume depends heavily on the essential oils chosen for the blend. I priced out orange, lavender, and helichrysum essential oils to give an idea across the price-range of oils I own. There are others more and less expensive, but using these to give a ballpark idea of cost, here’s the breakdown for 4 lip balm tubes or 1 small Altoids tin of perfume:

Total using all orange oil: $0.63 (fragrance only); $2.36 (4 lip balm tubes), or $1.48 (Altoids tin).

Total using all lavender oil: $1.41 (fragrance only); $3.35 (4 lip balm tubes), or $2.35 (Altoids tin).

Total using all helichrysum oil: $2.91 (fragrance only); $4.85 (4 lip balm tubes), or $3.85 (Altoids tin).

Even using all new lip balm tubes – the most expensive container I used – the cost using the expensive oil is under $5 for a 4 teaspoon (16 gram) container of solid perfume. I like to reuse old containers to prevent waste and save money, which will drive down the total cost for the project. Compared to the solid perfume that I was gifted years ago, this homemade version is less than 1/3 the cost. I love this frugal, natural recipe, which is also a fun gift idea!

Do you use natural oil perfumes? Share your favorite scents or blends in the comments!

Reusable Gift Wrapping

Growing up, my family always reused gift bags until they looked too worn or fell apart.  I think it was part frugal, and part “why throw away something perfectly good and useful?”  I have carried that into my adult life, and tend to avoid wrapping paper due to the single-use aspect.  A couple years ago, I decided to up my game and make longer-lasting reusable gift packaging.  

reusable fabric gift bag and chalk tag

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Reusable Gifts Bags

I decided to tackle Christmas wrapping first.  I found a large Christmas tablecloth at a thrift store (Savers – my favorite thrift store in my area) for $5.  I picked up some ribbon on clearance from Michael’s and Christmastree Shops.  I was ready to go!

Sewing designs for reusable gift bags

tow reusable fabric gift bags
different string designs make the finished product look more of less frilly

I first used a draw-string backpack for inspiration on how to design my gift bag.  After making a couple, I realized I would improve my design by using used a draw-string jewelry bag for inspiration, instead.  The difference is that the backpack has just one pocket running around the top of the opening, through which the string or ribbon is run.  The jewelry bags have two pockets, one over the other, with the ribbon running through the bottom one.  This allows the top “pocket” to fold and ruffle and look more pretty and gift-y!  

tops of two different drawstring reusable bags
the bag at the top has the double pocket style, and the bag at the bottom has the single drawstring pocket style

Simple designs

I’ve made some very simple reusable gift bags that were just a rectangle of fabric, folded in half and sewed, leaving one side open.  Rather than having an integrated draw-string, I’ve just tied a ribbon around the top.  This shape bag works well for more fat, envelope-shaped gifts, but doesn’t work as well for thicker rectangular or round gifts.

reusable fabric gift bag and tag

Cylindrical fabric reusable gift bag

My favorite style reusable gift bag has a more cylinder shape.  I have found this to be most versatile, since it can incorporate a wide range of gift shapes.  Even rectangular boxes fit well.  To make these, I cut out a circle of fabric (I trace a bowl or plate, I couldn’t draw a circle to save my life! But really, the shape doesn’t matter.  Ovals work fine.)  I then cut a rectangle of fabric with one length the same as the circumference of the circle. 

cylindrical fabric reusable gift bag

What About No-Sew Designs?

I have sewed all of my reusable gift bags, because I’ve been sewing since I was a kid and I find basic sewing to be easy enough.  The no-sew alternative that I thought of was fabric gluing instead of sewing.  Theoretically any design could be made this way, and as long as the glue was allowed to dry thoroughly, it should hold up pretty well.  

I personally would try to flat/rectangle designs first, as they do not require holding up more complex shapes.  It’s just folding fabric, gluing, and letting dry.  

There’s also an even simpler reusable gift bag option that uses no sewing, no glue, just fabric and ribbon or string to tie.  Just cut out a somewhat square or circle-type shape (pinking shears are advisable as they will prevent fraying, but are not essential).  Place the gift in the middle, gather up the fabric, and tie the fabric above the gift. Just like wrapping a gift basket!

gift wrapped by bundling fabric and tying with a ribbon, like a gift basket

For a more smooth, finished look more similar to using paper to wrap gifts, the Japanese furoshiki cloth wrapping style looks great!  I have not spent much time playing around with this wrapping style, so I will point you over to this Wellness Mama post for some great instructions.

Cost to Make Fabric Reusable Gift Bags

My large tablecloth provided enough fabric for me to make about 10 reusable gift bags of varying sizes.  Considering the best prices I have found for paper gift bags is $0.50-$1.00, I think I did pretty well for myself!  I did put in more time than purchasing gift bags, but I enjoyed it, and I enjoy knowing that these will last for years and are keeping waste out of landfills. 

Reusable Gift Tags

I also decided to make some reusable gift tags.  I was inspired by these little flat wood pieces with festive designs on one side.  I found them on clearance at Michael’s for $0.10 right after Christmas a couple years ago.

wood piece with snowflake design

I drilled a small hole in the top for a string to use for attaching to gifts.  Then I mixed up some chalk paint using black acrylic paint and some dry spackle in a ratio of about 10 parts paint to 1 part spackle and painted it on the back of the wood pieces.  I painted 3 layers, allowing to fully dry between coats.  Then I tied a little cotton string through the hole.  I use chalk to label the tags, then use the drawstring bag ribbons to attach the tag to the gift wrap. 

Note: I used spackle that I have had for ages, and I cannot find that type anymore.  From my research, it seems unsanded grout also works pretty much the same.  Also, both acrylic and latex paints work. 

gift tag with DIY chalkboard backing

This year, I have been able to wrap all of my gifts in these reusable gift bags or other gift boxes or reusable bags that I have acquired over the years.  I plan to make more bags in different fabrics, and more tags, to make sure I always have enough!  I found another $5 tablecloth at Savers and am just waiting until I have some time to transform that fabric into more reusable gift bags.

christmas tree with gifts wrapped in fabric reusable gift bags with reusable chalk tags