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Making Your Own Perfume
For Pleasure or for Profit

Part I of a Multi-Part Series
Like many perfume professionals, you can start with materials found close to your own house — then work your way up to new materials and more sophisticated techniques!

The history of perfume goes back thousands of years. It is generally stated that, up until the second half of the 19th century, perfume and perfumed products were so expensive that they were reserved for royalty and the rich alone.

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Your own garden can provide wonderful floral material for your perfume.

But the truth is more complex. While manufactured perfumes may have been so costly that only the rich could afford them, ordinary people — if they happened to live in tropical or temperate zone regions — could enjoy the fragrance of flower gardens and often flowers would be planted alongside a door or under a window so that a light breeze could fill the house with their fragrance.

Today very high quality perfume can be purchased at a very affordable price. But you can also make your own perfume using fragrant materials that are widely available, just as people have done in the past.

Making Your Own Perfume
At Different Skill Levels

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Your own garden can provide wonderful floral material for your perfume.

Making your own perfume can involve many levels of skill, technical knowledge, and creative commitment. You can be a hobbiest-perfumer; you can become a "perfumer-for-money" Or, if you find that you really have a strong love of fragrance and creative ability, you can train yourself to become a true "perfumer-creator," creating your own beautiful, original fragrances from professional grade materials.

Sources of Perfume Materials

The most basic source of materials to create a perfume is your own garden. Flowers, of course, will provide material for your perfume. But don't overlook other, not so obvious, fragrant materials. Use your nose! Pine needles and pine cones have a distinctive fragrance. The leaves and bark of trees have an aroma. The oil from the peels of citrus fruits have aromas. Sap from a wounded tree has an aroma. Seeds and nuts have an aroma. All of these materials are used by professional perfumers!

Right now, however, you won't be able to use many of these materials for your perfume because you will have no way of extracting the fragrant oils from the materials themselves. This required a bit of technology. But, for the moment, you can work with fragrant flowers and some of the materials mentioned above.

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Pack your floral materials (and any other fragrant materials you are using) inside your glass jar on to of the cheesecloth.

Making A Simple Perfume From
Materials You've Gathered Yourself

If you do an internet search (Google, Yahoo, etc.) under the phrase "making your own perfume from garden flowers," you'll find a number of websites with formulas for turning your garden flowers into perfumed water.

The basics go like this:

  1. Collect your floral material — flower petals for the simplest perfumes; flower petals, leaves and other materials (you can experiment!) for a more complex aroma.
  2. ADULT SUPERVISION REQUIRED
    Clean out a screw-top jar like the one shown in the pictures. Salsa jars seem to be a good choice as they have particularly wide necks. After washing the bottle and top thoroughly, place them in a large pot, fill it with water, place your jar and cap in the water so they are covered, put the pot on a stove, bring the water to a boil and let it boil for at least five minutes. Your goal is to remove any contaminating odor from the bottle. If you don't do this, your perfume will take on the aroma of whatever was in the jar (such as salsa!) before it was emptied! (After washing and boiling, if you want to be super-sure of removing all residual odor from your jar, wash it with isopropyl alcohol which can be purchased at most supermarkets and pharmacies. This will neutralize any remaining odor and evaporate away quickly, leaving very little odor of its own.)
  3. After the jar and cap have been sterilized by the boiling water, dry them and line the jar with cheesecloth. Place your fragrance materials in the jar over the cheesecloth and fill the jar with enough water to cover your fragrant materials.
  4. Screw the top on the jar and let it sit for a few days.
  5. ADULT SUPERVISION REQUIRED
    You may also add alcohol to the water IF you have access to "perfumers alcohol" or 100 proof unscented vodka. Essential oils that will not mix with water will, normally, mix with alcohol, so by adding about 10 percent alcohol to the jar (replacing a similar amount of water), more fragrance will be drawn out of the original materials and into your solution.
  6. After your jar has sat for a few days, remove your fragrance materials by extracting the cheesecloth — slowly — so as much liquid as possible remains in the jar. To get even more fragrance into the water (or the water-alcohol mixture), wring the wet cheesecloth (with the wet fragrance materials still in it) into the jar.
  7. Put the top back on your jar and let the contents settle for another 24 hours.
  8. Now, using a piece of coffee filter paper, filter the contents of your full jar into an empty jar that you've also prepared by washing, boiling, and drying. You now have your first perfume!
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Fill your jar with enough water to cover your fragrant materials. Cover the jar and allow it to sit for several days.

If you are pleased by the results you have achieved, repeat the procedure with different floral and other fragrant materials!

Lessons Learned

The first and most important lesson learned is that perfume — in liquid form — is made from fragrant materials mixed, in this case, with water, or water and alcohol. Professionally made perfumes and colognes make similar use of alcohol and water, the difference being that a larger amount of alcohol is used with a smaller amount of water.

A second lesson learned is that perfumes are made with oils that have been extracted from fragrant materials — in this case, flowers. And we have learned that flowers do not give up their fragrance so easily. A single living flower from which your perfume was derived probably produced more fragrance than your perfume. This suggests the technical challenges which lie ahead for you.

Problems Discovered

If the perfume you just made has stimulated your interest in perfumery and you want to go deeper into the subject, first take a look at some of the "problems" you have, by now, discovered.

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Your result: your first perfume! The fragrance may be weaker than what you hoped for ... but this is a first step!

First, your perfume not long lasting. Even a very inexpensive commercial fragrance will last longer. There is a reason for this which, at this stage, you will not be able to overcome.

Second, your perfume is not very strong. You may be perfectly satisfied by its weak odor strength, but wouldn't you like to be in control of its strength? At this point you will find this difficult.

Third, because your collection of fragrant materials is helter-skelter (even if you count out rose petals, for example, they will differ in size and the amount of oil each will give up!) you cannot develop a formula that will give consistent results when repeated. (You may not consider this a problem!)

Fourth, unless you have a large greenhouse, the amount of floral materials at your disposal is likely to be quite limited by the climate in your region. In time you are likely to find yourself getting bored working with only a dozen or so fragrant materials and want to find a way to be able to work with more.

If these "problems" are beginning to concern you, you are ready to step up to the next level of perfume creation: creating perfumes by mixing essential oils. But first take this Voyage of Discovery.

Part II: Voyage of Discovery

Part III: Extracting Essential Oils Through Distillation

Part IV: Making Indian Attars

Part V: Producing Agarwood Oil In Thailand

Part VI: Turning homemade perfume into a commercial product


Making Perfume By The Quart
Making Perfume By The Quart: A do-it-yourself project book

Many who love perfume dream of having their own -- but it can seem too complicated, too "from another world." Making Perfume By The Quart brings it down to earth for you in ten remarkably easy to understand chapters of instructions that guide you through the complete production process, from concept to finished perfume. But you make just one quart.


Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup! (3rd edition)

Perfume is famous for the markup it can achieve, even for a middle market fragrance. While "everybody knows" that perfume costs next to nothing to make (not completely true) the making of it is often considered an esoteric secret. "Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup!" details how a 3-person company with no experience created their own fragrance in response to a marketing opportunity that was too good to pass up. The book explains exactly what was done to create a fragrance for that opportunity but it is far more than a history of the author's project. "Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup!" lays out every step in the process of creating your own perfume, either as a do-it-yourself project – and without the benefit of automated equipment some compromises and workarounds are required – or full bore professional production under your supervision. Either way you will be producing a quality fragrance at a remarkably low cost. Do you have a marketing opportunity that would be wildly profitable if only you could obtain your fragrance at a ridiculously low cost? "Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup!" is the guide you need to do it.


Naming Your Perfume And Protecting Your Name

A really great name, a special name that is just right for a particular perfume or perfume marketer (or entrepreneur with money to invest!) can be worth a ton of money. But few individuals with great ideas ever manage to cash in on those brilliant ideas. Instead they wait while others "discover" their idea, acquire legal rights to it and make all the money while they are left out in the cold without a penny having been earned for what was once THEIR idea.

If you are struggling to name your perfume and are looking for a name that will have real value, "Naming Your Perfume And Protecting Your Name" will help you weed out low value names and point you to names that have better marketing value plus the potential to become valuable assets in themselves.

If you have a great name you want to protect but no fragrance, "Naming Your Perfume And Protecting Your Name" will guide you through the simple steps you must take to acquire a legal right to that name before someone else grabs it! Best of all, "Naming Your Perfume And Protecting Your Name" shows you how to gain strong legal protection for your name without a lawyer and without spending more than pocket change.

Never had an idea for a product name? Never thought much about perfume? "Naming Your Perfume And Protecting Your Name" may stimulate your interest in a whole new game that, when played well, can make you lots of money without your having to leave the comfort of your home office.


How To Launch Your Own Perfume Company: A Simple Business Plan

You can build a perfume business of your own using this business plan as a guide. By following its detailed strategy you learn to identify motivated groups of potential perfume buyers. Members of these groups are near the tipping point of desire for a new perfume. You don't know these people and they don't know you but you know a marketer they trust, one who does not currently sell perfume and might never think of selling perfume were it not for your approach. Here is where you step in with a professional plan, promotion, and perfume to take advantage of this ripe opportunity for mutual profit. Before your first promotion has peaked, you will already be developing a relationship with your next marketing partner. Following this plan, you will gain more and more profit with each new marketing partnership.


Creating your own perfume from dropper bottles: Methods, mechanics, and mathematics

Now when you make your own perfume you can make it fully "commercial" meaning you will be creating a product ready for regular, continuous sales to friends, relatives, and the public! If the fragrance you've made has already won praise, why not share it with others? Some might pay you for it and want it for their web stores or retail boutiques! Creating your own perfume from dropper bottles: Methods, mechanics, and mathematics guides you through steps that can turn your hobby project into a perfume business. Discover how close you are now and how little more you must do to take what you made with essential oils and dropper bottles into a business of your own! For an introduction to this book, watch this video.


How To Create A More Valuable Name For Your Perfume

When you name a perfume you create a valuable asset – the name itself. To sell your perfume you want the most effective name possible. But a good name can have value beyond the edge it gives your sales. In naming your fragrance you are creating a trademark and a trademark can have value independent of the product. The value of that trademark can vary. Much depends on how well, in naming your perfume, you follow the trademark "rules." How To Create A More Valuable Name For Your Perfume first helps you develop a name that will be effective in selling your perfume. It then prods you to make use of certain techniques that can turn a good name into a great trademark, strong and valuable. If you have questions about how to protect a name, How To Create A More Valuable Name For Your Perfume will answer many such as:

  • Can you protect your name yourself or do you need a lawyer?
  • Can you register a trademark without a lawyer?
  • What does it cost to register a trademark?
  • How do I enforce the rights I have established?

How To Create A More Valuable Name For Your Perfume covers both state, federal, and international protection.


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Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.