How to Extract Essential Oils & Scents From Flowers

Overview

Essential floral fragrance oils are readily available from commercial retailers, and are typically pretty expensive. But spending lots of money on scented oils isn't your only option. You can capture the fragrances of flowers and other plants by extracting their natural essential oils. This has been successfully accomplished by mankind since ancient times, so you can do it, too. Creating your own floral essential fragrance oils is a fun hobby, easy to do and can cost you very little, if anything. You may already have the oil you'll need, and the flowers that you want to extract fragrance from are probably free. The only equipment required is very likely to be in your kitchen cabinets. This project will take you several days to complete, and will be well worth the effort.

Step 1

Pick or cut fresh flowers. If there's not a plentiful supply of fully open blooms at the moment, select half-opened flowers and plan to gather more as they mature over the next two to three days.

Step 2

Place the flowers in a glass of water and refrigerate them immediately. Misting them with cold water a couple of times each day will prolong their freshness.

Step 3

Cut or pull the petals from fully opened flower heads. Work as quickly as you can to prevent loss of freshness and fragrance. Press them into a 1-cup measure with your fingers and empty into a plastic bag.

Step 4

Squeeze the air out of the bag and lay it flat on your working surface. Run a rolling pin or the side of a sturdy drinking glass over the bag a few times. Press firmly to bruise the petals well. They should look battered, but not torn and messy.

Step 5

Pour the flower petals into a glass quart jar. Add 1 cup of grape seed or olive oil and cap the jar tightly. Set it in a warm, sunny windowsill for about 48 hours. Shake it vigorously two or three times each day.

Step 6

Strain the liquid through several coffee filters. Pour the fragrance oil back into the jar and toss the coffee filter with the solid materials onto your compost heap.

Step 7

Repeat the process three more times, using up the rest of the flower petals.

Step 8

Cover some small glass jars with masking tape. Write the date and description of the contents on the jars, and funnel the floral essential fragrance oil into them. Put the lids on tightly and store in a dark, cool spot for up to a year.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 cups fresh flower petals, firmly packed
  • Plastic bags
  • Rolling pin
  • Glass quart jar with tight-fitting lid
  • Grape seed or olive oil
  • Coffee filters
  • Funnel
  • Small glass jars
  • Masking tape
Keywords: essential oils, extract oils, flower scents

About this Author

Axl J. Amistaadt began as a part-time amateur freelance writer in 1985, turned professional in 2005, and became a full-time writer in 2007. Amistaadt’s major focus is publishing material for GardenGuides. Areas of expertise include home gardening, horticulture, alternative and home remedies, pets, wildlife, handcrafts, cooking, and juvenile science experiments.