How to Make Custom Air Fresheners Without Sublimation

How to Make Custom Air Fresheners Without Sublimation

Air fresheners have become an indispensable part of our daily lives, subtly influencing the ambiance of our homes, cars, and workplaces. Their fragrance touch enhances the comfort and personality of any area, making it feel more friendly and enjoyable. Often, when people think of customizing these aromatic items, the sublimation printing comes to mind. Sublimation, a process in which a design is transferred onto an object through heat, is widely used but can be complex and requires specialized equipment.

But what if you want to produce custom air fresheners without sublimation?  Whether it’s due to a lack of access to sublimation equipment, a desire for more natural ingredients, or simply the joy of DIY, there are alternative methods that are just as effective and customizable. This article aims to explore these options, offering creative and straightforward ways to scent scape your home without using sublimation. From using felt and essential oils to creating gel-based fresheners, this guide will provide you with multiple avenues to bring your fragrant vision to life. So let’s delve into these exciting alternatives and discover how to keep your spaces smelling just the way you like them.

The Basics of Making Air Fresheners

When it comes to crafting your own air fresheners, there are core components that you’ll need, regardless of the specific method you choose. The most important among these are aroma oils and a carrier material. Aroma oils, which can be essential oils or fragrance oils, provide the actual scent. These oils are concentrated, so they’re usually too strong to be used on their own. That’s where the carrier comes into play. The carrier can be anything from felt or fabric to gel or water, and it serves to diffuse the aroma oils gradually over time, allowing for a more sustained release of fragrance.

In essence, aroma oils and carriers work in tandem to create a balanced, long-lasting scent. The carrier material absorbs the aroma oils and slowly emits the fragrance into the air, providing a consistent, pleasant aroma. By understanding this basic mechanism, you can experiment with different carriers and oils to create custom air fresheners tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

Why Avoid Sublimation?

While sublimation is a popular method for creating custom air fresheners, it’s not without its drawbacks. One of the primary disadvantages is the need for specialized equipment like a heat press, which can be expensive and difficult to operate. Moreover, sublimation doesn’t allow for much flexibility in using natural ingredients or altering the fragrance over time. This begs the question of how to produce unique air fresheners without using sublimation.

Opting for alternative methods opens up a realm of possibilities that are often more accessible, affordable, and customizable. Natural materials, such as essential oils, can be used, and the aroma can be readily refreshed whenever you choose. Additionally, DIY methods offer the satisfaction of creating something with your own hands, giving a personal touch that is not possible with sublimation techniques. Overall, avoiding sublimation can lead to a more personalized and flexible approach to making your own air fresheners.

Different Methods for Making Custom Air Fresheners Without Sublimation

Method 1: Using Felt and Essential Oils

Using Felt and Essential Oils

Materials Needed

Steps for Making Air Freshener

  • Preparation: Cut the felt into the shapes you desire, using scissors. It could be a simple circle, a heart, or even a more complicated design like a tree or an animal.
  • Hole Punch: Punch a hole near the top of the felt shapes, making sure it’s large enough for the string or ribbon to pass through later.
  • Oil Application: Pour a few drops of your chosen essential oil into a small glass bowl. Using a dropper, apply the oil evenly onto the felt shapes. Be careful not to oversaturate.
  • Drying Time: Allow the felt to absorb the oil and dry. This often takes 30 minutes to an hour.
  • String Attachment: Once the felt shapes are dry, thread a piece of string or ribbon through the hole you punched earlier.
  • Storage: If not using immediately, store the scented felt in a sealed plastic bag to retain the fragrance.
  • Placement: Hang the felt air freshener in your desired location, like a car, closet, or room.


  • Highly Customizable: From shape to scent, you can make this truly your own.
  • Simple to Refresh: When the aroma fades, simply apply a few extra drops of essential oil.
  • Cost-Effective: Materials are relatively cheap and easily available.
  • Natural: You can choose natural essential oils for a chemical-free air freshener.


  • Shorter Lifespan: The scent might not last as long as commercially-made fresheners.
  • Time-Consuming: It does take some time to make, dry, and put together.

This method allows for considerable flexibility and creativity, making it an ideal option for those looking to explore how to make custom air fresheners without sublimation.

Method 2: Gel-Based Air Fresheners

Gel-Based Air Fresheners

Materials Needed

Steps for Making Air Freshener

  • Hydrate Crystals: Measure a small amount of water-absorbing polymer crystals and add distilled water to them, following the instructions on the packaging. Allow them to fully hydrate, which could take a few hours.
  • Prepare Gel Base: In a saucepan, mix the hydrated polymer crystals with a small amount of distilled water. Put it over a low flame and heat it until it turns into a gel.
  • Add Color: If you want to add color, put a few drops of food coloring into the gel and mix thoroughly.
  • Add Fragrance: After turning off the heat, add the essential oils or fragrance oils of your choice to the gel. Make sure to stir the smell around well so it spreads evenly.
  • Jar Filling: Carefully pour or spoon the finished gel into small glass jars. Seal the jars with their lids.
  • Cool and Set: Allow the jars to cool to room temperature, and let the gel set completely. This might take a few hours.
  • Place and Enjoy: Once set, open the jar and place it in your chosen location.


  • Long-Lasting: Most of the time, gel-based air fresheners keep their scent for longer.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing: The gel can be colored to match your décor.
  • Easy to Make: Requires few materials and steps.


  • Less Portable: These jars are less convenient to hang in places like cars.
  • Sensitivity: Some people may be sensitive to certain additives like food coloring.

Gel-based air fresheners offer a longer-lasting alternative that’s both functional and visually appealing. They’re particularly good for stationary locations like rooms or offices, providing a long-lasting aroma without the need for heat or sublimation.

Method 3: DIY Reed Diffusers

DIY Reed Diffusers

Materials Needed

Steps For Making Air Freshener

  • Prepare the Container: Choose a glass container with a narrow opening to slow down the rate of evaporation. Make sure it is clean and dry.
  • Mix Oils: In a measuring cup, mix your carrier oil and essential oils. As a general rule, mix 15 to 20 drops of essential oil with 1/4 cup of neutral oil.
  • Pour Mixture: Use a funnel to pour the oil mixture into the glass container. Fill it about two-thirds or three-quarters full.
  • Insert Reeds: Place the rattan reeds or bamboo skewers into the container. The oil will travel up the reeds by capillary action, diffusing the scent into the air.
  • Flip Reeds: For a stronger scent, flip the reeds after a few hours, placing the soaked end in the air. Do this step every few days to keep the smell fresh.
  • Place the Diffuser: Put your DIY reed diffuser in the desired location, ensuring it’s out of reach of pets and children.


  • Long-Lasting: The scent can last for weeks.
  • Elegant Look: Adds a decorative touch to your space.
  • No Power Needed: Operates without electricity or batteries.


  • Slower Scent Diffusion: Takes time for the scent to fill the space.
  • Less Intense: The fragrance may be less potent compared to other methods.
  • Material Costs: Carrier oils and reeds can be more expensive initially.

DIY reed diffusers are an excellent method for those looking for a low-maintenance, long-lasting, and aesthetically pleasing air freshener. They’re ideal for areas where you’d like a constant but subtle aroma. The best part? No need for specialized equipment or sublimation, making them a natural, easy-to-create option for enhancing your space.

Method 4: Scented Wood Blocks

Scented Wood Blocks

Materials Needed

Steps for Making Air Freshener

  • Preparation: Ensure the wood blocks are clean and dry.
  • Oil Application: Using a small paintbrush or cloth, apply a few drops of essential oil onto the wood blocks, covering all sides.
  • Let it Soak: For several hours or overnight, let the wood soak up the oil.
  • Storage: Store the blocks in Ziplock bags if not using immediately to preserve the scent.
  • Placement: Put the scented blocks in drawers, closets, or small spaces to emit fragrance.


  • Easy to Make: Simple and quick process.
  • Multi-purpose: Can be placed in drawers, cars, or closets.


  • Limited Longevity: May need reapplication of oils more frequently.
  • Scent Radius: Best suited for small, enclosed spaces.

Scented wood blocks are an incredibly straightforward and versatile option for adding fragrance to smaller spaces. They don’t require any special equipment or extensive preparation, making them a convenient choice for those who wish to avoid sublimation methods.

Creative Customization Tips

For that extra dash of individuality, consider adding decorative elements to your DIY air fresheners. You can sew or glue on small beads or pearls to shape felt. In gel-based options, immerse tiny, non-toxic trinkets or shells for visual appeal. Reed diffusers can have tinted or etched glass containers, and wooden blocks can be carved or painted with non-toxic paint. Even something as simple as choosing a unique shape for your felt or wood can make your air freshener distinctly yours. These creative tweaks elevate the personal touch and make your DIY project truly one-of-a-kind.


In summary, you don’t need to rely on sublimation techniques to create personalized, fragrant environments. This article has explored various avenues on how to make custom air fresheners without sublimation, from felt and essential oils to gel-based fresheners, reed diffusers, and scented wood blocks. 

You can pick the method that best fits your wants and tastes in terms of how it looks by looking at the pros and cons of each one. Moreover, the potential for creative customization adds another layer of personalization that can make these DIY projects genuinely special. So don’t hesitate to experiment and combine different oils, carriers, and decorative touches to create an air freshener that perfectly encapsulates your desired ambiance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Which varieties of essential oils are most effective for creating air fresheners?

A: Lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and citrus oils like lemon or orange are popular choices due to their pleasant and potent aromas. However, the choice is highly personal, so feel free to experiment.

Q: Can I use regular tap water for gel-based air fresheners?

A: Using purified water is recommended to prevent any pollutants that could potentially disrupt the fragrance or the stability of the gel.

Q: How often do I need to replace or refresh the DIY air fresheners?

A: It varies by method. Felt and wood blocks may need refreshing every week, while gel-based and reed diffusers can last up to a month or more.

Q: Is it safe to use these air fresheners around pets and children?

A: Always use essential oils that are safe for your pets and kids, and place the air fresheners out of their reach. Certain essential oils possess poisonous properties that might be harmful to animals, thus necessitating thorough research.

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