I’ve been wanting to expand my craft show and vintage market offerings for a while now, by adding homemade candles and of course my daughters range of Little Willow Soap Company body products to the booth.
Drawing on our English roots and the fact that I have a box full of old teacups that would make the perfect candle containers, I really wanted to focus on a tea inspired range. Except that I came across a number of problems;
- I couldn’t find the perfect tea inspired fragrance oil
- being very sensitive to highly perfumed products any fragrance oils that I did find were just too strong to work with, without giving me a migraine.
So I decided that it was time to experiment and find out how to make scented oil from tea blends.
Although it was fun, it was very much a trial and error process.
Firstly you need a good base oil. Now I read all kind of instructables on the internet and also from some old books, many of which suggested olive oil as a base. So I though great, we have some in the kitchen lets start with that. Bleuhhhhh its far too stinky and not in a nice way.
The next suggestion was jojoba oil, but where I live it is too expensive to buy for the amount needed. Trial and error brought me to Vegetable oil which so far has the best base (that I’ve found) and is not overpowering.
Next you need to find the right kind of tea. You need one with a strong fragrance that will deepen over the time it takes to mature. I get my loose tea from a lovely local supplier however Mountain Rose Herbs has amazing blends that would work too.
Ingredients & Equipment
- Mason jars
- Vegetable Oil
- Loose tea or tea bags
- Slow Cooker
- Unbleached Cheese cloth
How to Make Scented Oil
- Place a hand towel in the bottom of your slow cooker. This stops the jars from falling over and also gives a more even distribution of heat.
- Fill the slow cooker 1/2 way with water. Turn onto low to preheat.
- Fill the jars with the tea (if using tea bags, cut them open and pour the tea into the jar). Using the back of a spoon or a mortar, slightly crush the tea as this helps to release the fragrance.
- Cover the tea with vegetable oil and add an extra inch of oil. Stir the mixture to release any air bubbles and place the lid on the jar.
- Place the jars in the slow cooker, turn the setting to warm and heat for 8-12 hours. Don’t worry if your slow cooker doesn’t have this setting, instead turn it off for a little while if you feel it is getting to hot. You don’t want to cook the mixture but gently heat it. Stir the jar contents every few hours.
- Once your tea mixture is ready, remove from the slow cooker and cool to room temperature.
- Store the jars in a cool dark place for 2 weeks, stirring each mix every couple of days.
- After 2 weeks, strain the tea out of the mix using several layers of unbleached cheescloth. Discard the tea leaves (you can add them to the compost heap)
- Transfer the remaining oil to a clean jar or bottle and label with the blend and date.
- Oils need be stored in a cool dark place and may last up to a year.
Here are the combinations that I was finally happy with:
Wild Sweet orange – makes me think of Paddington Bear and marmalade
Lemon, Ginger & Green Tea – crisp and refreshing
Blood Orange Rooibos – spicy and exotic
Earl Grey is one of my favourite fragrances ever. However to get the perfect Earl Grey scented oil you will need to sniff lots of different teas as some are stronger than others. If all else fails add a couple of drops of Bergamot Essential oil to the jar.
Licorice Tea – it’s a little masculine but smooth and spicy
Ginger & Cardamom – ok so its not technically a tea blend but they do smell lovely together
To use as scent for homemade candles. Stir several drops of the oil in your melted wax. The number of drops you need depends on how much scent you want from your candle. I would start with 10 drops of the oil and your sense of smell as a guide.
You don’t have to use tea to make scented oil. You can also use dried herbs or dried flower mixes. The great thing about this oil is that it can also be used as bath oil, massage oil and added to homemade body products.