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Aromatherapy Projects - Lavender Craft Products

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Aromatherapy Projects - Lavender Products from Walkabout CraftsLavender's essential fragrance - fresh warm and old fashioned - is concentrated in the tiny calyces that surround the flowers, but the stalks and leaves are also scented. It is possible to buy fresh or dried lavender stalks, or the dried flowers alone, but it is much more economical to grow your own lavender. Even if you do not have your own garden, a window box or container placed in a sunny spot on the patio gives enough lavender for several projects. You will then be able to make pot pourri, scented bags and other items for a fraction of the cost of buying them in shops.

Pot Pourri

Lavender is a favourite ingredient of traditional pot pourris. As the flowers are so small, lavender based pot pourris are normally enlivened with a few other dried flowers. Ideal inclusions for giving contrasting colour and texture as well as depth to the fragrance are rose petals and dried herbs, such as rosemary.
If you like the scent of pure lavender but want more visual interest, add dried helichrysum, statice and sunrays, or florets or dried larkspur, delphinium and hydrangea. Dried rosebuds, unlike dried petals gathered from fully mature blooms, have no scent and look lovely scattered over the surface of lavender pot pourri.
Accidentally broken flowers from dried flower arrangements can enliven lavender pot pourri and perhaps colour coordinate it to the room. Use either whole flowers or just petals; a good idea is to keep a jar in a dark cupboard for saving the odd broken flower.

Making the pot pourri

The following recipe is a basic guide for a lavender based pot pourri. There are no absolutely right or wrong proportions for the ingredients but bear in mind that it is always better to use too little lavender oil than too much, to avoid it becoming too overpowering.

You will need:
2 cups dried lavender flowers
half cup dried rose petals
2 tbsp orris root powder*
2 tbsp dried lemon geranium leaves
2 tbsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp orris root powder
half teaspoon  powdered gum benzoin*
3 drops lavender oil or 2 drops lavender oil and one drop rose oil.

* Orris root and gum benzoin powder are fixatives which prevent the fragrance fading too rapidly; they are available from some chemists, or more usually from herbalist suppliers.

Place all the ingredients except the oil in a bowl and stir gently until they are thoroughly mixed. Add the oil drop by drop, stirring all the time and then place the mixture in an airtight container, filling it to about 2/3 - 3/4 full. Store pot pourri in a dry, dark, warm place for 4-6 weeks and shake every few days.

Bags and Sachets

Lavender filled bags and sachets in dainty muslin, voile, lace or tana lawn have long been used to perfume linen and clothes and repel moths. Draw string bags, tied with ribbon, or small square, round or heart shaped sachets trimmed with lace may be filled with lavender, powdered gum benzoin and a drop of lavender oil. Alternatively, try combining equal quantities of dried lavender, thyme and lemon balm to give a delightful fragrance.
For an ideal last minute present, fill a fine cotton, plain or mini print handkerchief with your choice of lavender mixture, bring the corners together and tie in the middle with a bow.
Perfume clothes by tying lavender bags to padded coat hangers. You can also scent pillows with lavender by adding a handful of flower heads to the stuffing. You could also mix in petals from fully opened roses.

Lavender Boxes

There are many pretty, paper gift boxes available that can be used to make fragrant lavender boxes. Cut a piece of fine net, gauze or tulle to the shape of the top, allowing an extra 1 cm to extend over the side. Fill the box up to the brim with lavender, fit the net tightly in place with a rubber band, then glue it down just above the band using quick drying glue. When dry, snip off the band and replace it with ribbon or narrow braid.

Aromatherapy Projects - Lavender Products from Walkabout CraftsLavender Wands

An old fashioned lavender wand, a posy like bunch of lavender with the flower heads wrapped in tightly woven ribbon, is also used to scent drawers and wardrobes.
Form freshly picked lavender into bunches of 7,9,11 or 13 stems and place a 3ft ribbon in the centre, allowing it to extend 9 inches above the flower heads. Then carefully bend the stalks back down over the flower heads and weave the long end of the ribbon horizontally between the stalks. Work from the top down until the flower heads are covered, then tie the two ends into a bow

Herb Pillows

Herb pillows help you to sleep as well as giving a delightful fragrance. They are traditionally filled with various combinations of dried lavender, camomile, rosemary, marjoram, spearmint, rose, lemon verbena and thyme. Place under your ordinary pillows.

Lavender Water

The refreshing lavender water sold at chemists is actually surgical spirit mixed with essential oil of lavender and other ingredients.
You can make lavender water by mixing 15ml of lavender oil with 375ml of surgical spirit and a drop of musk oil. The mixture is placed in an airtight jar, shaken every few days for two weeks and then strained through muslin into small perfume bottles. To enhance the appearance of the lavender water, place sprigs of fresh lavender up right in the bottle.

Lavender soap balls

Soap can be made from lavender water and unscented; good quality soft white soap. Grate a large bar into thin strips. Heat 60ml lavender water and pour over the soap. Leave for 10 minutes, stir, then place in a blender, adding 3 drops of lavender oil. Cool and pour into a pudding basin. Leave 2-3 days, or until soap begins to dry out, then form into balls and place on a sunny windowsill to dry. When almost dry, dip your hands in lavender water and rub the ball to make it smooth.

Lavender bath sachets

Ideal for soothing aches and pins. Place 2 tablespoons each of dried lavender flowers and rosemary in a muslin bag with a spoonful of epsom salts. Hang the bag under the hot water tap, looped on a long string or place directly in the water. Dry between use and discard once the scent fades.

Lavender hair rinse

Adds shine to your hair. It is made by boiling a handful of flowers and stalks in a pint of water. Cool, strain and pour into a bottle.

Lavender vinegar

is therapeutic and, if dabbed on the forehead, helps to relieve headaches. Using a jar or bottle, steep a few sprays in white vinegar. Place the container in a sunny spot, shake daily and replace with fresh flowers after a week. Repeat for a further week, then strain through muslin and bottle. Another remedy for headaches is 2-3 drops of lavender oil taken on a sugar cube.

Lavender sugar

is made from a few bruised spikes sealed in an airtight jar with sugar. The sugar can then be used to give sponges and icings a lovely scent.

Lavender scented candles

Are made by adding a few drops of lavender oil to melted wax before moulding.

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