Essential Oils for Cut Flowers

Who doesn’t love having decorative spring flowers to brighten their home? The only downside to bringing cut flowers inside is that they don’t seem to last very long. We have been experimenting with cut flowers, and we found that adding a drop of melaleuca to the water helps them last longer!

Useful tips when caring for cut flowers:

  • Cut the stems of the flowers at an angle. This allows the flower to soak up nutrients more easily.
  • Add a drop of melaleuca essential oil to a flower water mix (see recipe below). The melaleuca helps kill bacteria that leads to mold growth.
  • Use filtered water to reduce the amount of chlorine and other minerals or chemicals often found in tap water. These substances diminish plant health.
  • Change flower water and recut flower stems (just a tiny bit) every 2–3 days. A cut flower stem eventually seals up, preventing nutrient assimilation. So cutting the stems and adding more nutrients helps preserve the flowers.
  • Keep cut flowers away from direct heat and light (if possible).

Decorative Flower Vases

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Stir together sugar and melaleuca in a glass measuring cup.
  2. Add apple cider vinegar and filtered water. Mix well until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the water mixture to bottles or clear plastic tubes.
  4. Cut flower stems at an angle a little longer than the desired length. Arrange flowers in the bottles or tubes.
  5. Change flower water and cut stems just a little bit every 2–3 days.

Extra Ideas:

  • Clear plastic tubes make great single flower vases. You can easily decorate them by gluing ribbon, buttons, or other items to the outside.
  • If you are using cut flowers for an event—essential oil class, wedding reception, or party—you may want to use a floral essential oil instead of melaleuca to enhance the scent of your decoration. Then, when you are ready to display your flowers elsewhere (after 2+ days), add melaleuca essential oil to the replacement water. Some floral oils include lavender, ylang ylang, geranium, clary sage, Roman chamomile, jasmine, and rose.

Flower arrangements in glass bottles or clear plastic tubes make great centerpieces and decorations for essential oil classes!

Essential Oil Transfer on Easter Eggs

Did you know you can use essential oils to transfer prints from a laser printer or copier onto fabric, wood, or other materials? This easy method is a lot of fun and opens up many possibilities for personalized gifts with a really neat effect! We decided to try this method when decorating Easter eggs, and it worked pretty well!

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As you can see in the above picture, the transfer works better on the light colored eggs. `The egg right behind the bottle also has an ink transfer on it (green and red), but the darker background makes it more difficult to see.

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Start by gathering your materials. You will need an image, design, or text (about 1/2 inch to 2 inches in size works best for Easter eggs). Use a program like Microsoft Paint or Photoshop to lay out your words or design. For this process, dark, solid text and pictures work best, as the image will fade a bit during the transfer. This can lead to some really cool vintage or antiqued looks when finished but can appear too faded if you choose something with light colors or faint gradients. When you have the design looking how you want it, select the design, and use the program’s flip or rotate tools to flip the design horizontally so you have a mirror-image of the design. Print the design onto normal copier paper using a laser printer (or copy it on a toner-based copier). Note: Be certain your printer or copier uses toner. This method doesn’t work with inkjet or wax systems.

Other materials you will need include a hard-boiled egg, tape, a popsicle stick (or other hard, straight-edged object), a cotton swab, a small glass bowl (we used a shot glass), and orange essential oil.

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Cut out your design, leaving a little room for the tape. Place your design where you want it (face down so the ink touches the egg), and tape it to the egg. Because the surface of the egg isn’t flat, you will need to pinch and cut the paper as needed to get the ink to lay as flat as possible against the egg. This part of the process is a lot easier when working with materials that can lay flat like wood or fabric.

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Add a few drops of orange essential oil to your small glass bowl or shot glass. You only need a couple drops per design; so start with less, and add more as needed.

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Dip the cotton swab in the essential oil, and rub the oil onto the back of your design. Your design will show through the paper as you rub the oil on.

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Next, use the popsicle stick to rub completely over the back of the printed design. This presses the toner onto the egg, so you need to be fairly firm; but don’t press down so hard that you crack the egg or tear through the paper. Be certain to rub over all parts of the design. If you have a larger or more complicated design, you may want to apply oil over a small part of it, rub over that part to transfer it, and then move on to the next area to help prevent missing any part of the design.

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Once you are certain that you have firmly rubbed over the entire design (you can always try peeking under the paper or do a second coat of oil and rub again if you aren’t sure), remove the paper, and see your result.  If you missed an area, you may be able to re-position and tape the paper back to the egg and try again; but it is much easier to get it right the first time. Once it looks good, you can use a blow dryer to help the ink set. For the eggs, you can also just let the ink dry, but using a hot blow dryer really helps set the ink when you are doing an essential oil transfer on wood or fabric.

Essential Oil Transfer

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • A laser printer or copier (Be certain your printer or copier uses toner. This method doesn’t work with inkjet or wax systems.)
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Cotton swabs
  • Small glass bowl or Shot Glass
  • Orange essential oil
  • Popsicle stick or other straight-edged, rigid object
  • Blow dryer

Instructions:

  1. Use a program like Microsoft Paint or Photoshop to lay out your words or design. For this process, dark, solid text and pictures work best, as the image will fade a bit during the transfer. This can lead to some really cool vintage or antiqued looks when finished but can appear too faded if you choose something with light colors or faint gradients. When you have the design looking how you want it, select the design and use the program’s flip or rotate tools to flip the design horizontally so you have a mirror-image of the design. Print the design onto normal copier paper using a laser printer (or copy it on a toner-based copier).
  2. Place the print of the design over the egg (or other material) with the printed side against the egg (face-down). Use scotch or masking tape to hold the print in place. You may need to pinch or cut the paper to get the ink to lie as flat as possible against the surface of the egg.
  3. Place several drops of orange oil in a small glass bowl or shot glass (the amount you’ll need will depend on the size of the transfer). Start with a couple drops, and add more as needed.
  4. Dip a cotton swab into the orange oil, and then swab the oil over the back of the printed design a little at a time (the design will become visible through the paper as you swab the oil over it).
  5. Use a popsicle stick to rub completely over the back of the printed design. This presses the toner onto the egg, so you need to be fairly firm; but don’t press down so hard that you crack the egg or tear through the paper. Be certain to rub oil over all parts of the design. If you have a larger design, you may want to apply oil over a small part of it, rub over that part to transfer it to the egg, and then move on to the next area to help prevent missing any part of the design.
  6. Peek under the paper, or carefully peel back one corner or side of the design to ensure you didn’t miss transferring any part of it. If you did, carefully replace the paper in the same spot, and rub over the missing areas to transfer them. When finished, remove the paper and tape from the egg.
  7. Use a blow dryer on its hottest setting to blow hot air over the design to help fuse it onto the egg.

Extra Ideas:

  1. The things you can do with this method are virtually endless! Use this method to create personalized aprons, totes, gift tags, gift bags, stockings, game/play mats, t-shirts, ribbons, and whatever else you can think of!
  2. This method can also be used to transfer prints onto wood with some neat effects, as the transfer will transfer around the grain and texture of the wood.

Beautiful, Scented Fall Leaves

Don’t you love the colors of fall leaves? This is probably one of the best things about the seasons changing! So why not use them for decoration? Dipping the leaves in beeswax actually preserves their color so they can last through the season. We decided to try taking this idea to the next level by adding essential oils! Now you can experience the colors AND scents of fall at the same time!

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When picking leaves for this project, keep in mind that the leaves need to be dead and somewhat dry. Don’t pick them off the tree because they still contain a fair amount of moisture that will cause the leaf to turn brown rather than be preserved in its beautiful color. If you have leaves that are fairly moist (let’s face it—the leaves on the trees are prettier!), then you can dry them by placing them between pages of a book for a couple days before dipping them in beeswax.

Also, if you are doing this project with kids, keep in mind that melted beeswax can be hot and this project can get a little messy; so keep your work area covered in newspaper or wax paper for easier cleanup. One idea for working with children is for an adult to dip the leaves and hand them to the child to shake off the excess beeswax and lay on the wax paper to dry. Children can also help string up the leaves and create garlands.

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For easiest cleanup, allow the beeswax to dry completely; then scrape/peel as much as you can off your dishes and either save for another project (leftover scented beeswax would make a great candle!) or throw in the trash can. Use really hot water to melt the remaining beeswax and wash dishes with soap.

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Scented Fall Leaves

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • Beeswax
  • Essential oils (Some great fall scents include cinnamon, clove, cassia, orange, ginger, cardamom, cedarwood, patchouli, and frankincense)
  • Fall leaves
  • Wax paper
  • String

Instructions:

  1. Melt the beeswax in a double boiler, saucepan, slow cooker, paraffin wax bath, or microwave-safe dish. You will want enough beeswax to be at least 1 inch deep. (We used a 2 cup glass measuring cup with 1/3 cup of beeswax placed in a small pot with water to create a double boiler. This amount worked well for the 20–30 small leaves we waxed.)
  2. Once the beeswax is melted, add essential oils to create your desired scent. (We used 2 drops of clove, 2 drops of orange, and 2 drops of cassia for the 1/3 cup of beeswax, and it smelled great!)
  3. Hold the leaves by the stems, and dip them into the beeswax. Make sure to cover the whole leaf.
  4. Gently shake off the excess beeswax, and let the leaf dry for 15–30 seconds before placing on a sheet of wax paper to finish drying.
  5. Note: If the beeswax starts to cool (you’ll notice it gives the leaf a thicker coating when this happens), reheat the beeswax for a minute before continuing. Leaving the beeswax on a low heat source is easiest, but use caution if children are helping.
  6. Once finished with all of your leaves, string them up by tying a little knot around each leaf along a piece of string, or use them in any of your favorite fall decoration ideas.

Extra Idea: