How To Make Gel Air Fresheners

By Bob Sherman

This article was originally published in 1999 and has been rewritten, modernized, and modified for this web site.

Although these are not candles and therefore not designed to be burned, over the years they have been a popular project with candle makers. This project shows how to make a room freshener using unflavored gelatin as a base. It is a very simple technique, and requires only basic cooking equipment.

These come out much more transparent than this photo shows. The apparent opacity of the blue gel is due to a quirk of my digital camera.

NOTE! - These are not candles! Do not confuse this technique with gel candles. Although this is not a candle making project, it does require the use of heat so all cautions you would use when cooking apply.

The following materials will be needed:

Step 1
Measure out 3/4 cup of water.

Note: the gelatin I used made 1 cup per package. If you use a different size package or multiple packages, just use 3/4 of the total water called for on the instructions.

Step 2
Pour the water into a clean pot and heat to a boil. Direct heat is ok since it is non flammable.

Step 3
Measure 1/4 cup of cold water. Set this aside for step 5

Step 4
Add the gelatin to the boiling water and whisk until fully dissolved.

Step 5
Remove the pot from the heat and add the 1/4 cup of cold water measured out in step 3.

Step 6
Add food coloring and stir well.

Step 7
Add the scent oil and stir well.The amount is a matter of personal preference, but between 2 and 6 teaspoons should suffice. Most fragrance oils are not water soluble, so there may be a lot of oily residue on the bottom of the pot. Add one ounce of witch hazel or vodka. This will help inhibit mildew and mold formation.

Allow it to settle for a minute or so.

Step 8
Pour it into a jar. If appearance is important, try to avoid pouring the scent residue into the jar. If you are just making these for personal use, then the residue is not important (the lighter color layer in the following photos is from this residue).

Step 9
Allow it to settle for a few minutes, then place in a refrigerator until the liquid turns into a solid gel.

Step 10
The finished room freshener. My digital camera had some trouble reproducing the actual color which is transparent blue.

These will fill a room with fragrance if you add enough scent oil. Basic usage is easy - open the jar to release scent and close it to stop. The gelatin will evaporate over time and the jars may be washed out and reused.

Finding Gelatin
Unflavored gelatin is available in most supermarkets. For those outside North America, I'm sorry but I have no idea what it may be called in your country.

I normally make these without the alcohol (witch hazel or vodka), however some folks experience mold and mildew problems when this is left out. I feel this is most likely caused by climate conditions specific to their area or possibly even their home, so you may wish to experiment with it both ways since omitting this will lower production cost.

Support Free Projects
You can help ensure the continued availability and production of free candle making projects and instructions by telling your friends about them. The more popular they are the more we can produce so tell your friends, mention them on message boards, link to them from your web site, etc... More information is available here.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is accurate to the best of my knowledge and common candle making practices as of the time of this writing Originally published in March 1999 and updated in October 2007 and June 2011. The author and the publisher accept no liability for the use or misuse of any of the information presented in this article. This article is presented for informational purposes and is used at your own risk.

Author: Bob Sherman

Publisher: Bobby's Craft Boutique Inc.

This article is provided free of charge for use. Candles may be made and sold using this design royalty free, however no portion of this article may be reproduced for publication elsewhere without express permission from Bobby's Craft Boutique Inc. with the following exceptions: