DIY Lavender Oil: from Scratch Without a Still

How to make lavender essential oil without all the distilling equipment!! I share two different recipes for making lavender oil from scratch, that don’t require distilling. Let me know which is your favourite!!

Making my own essential oils has been a dream of mine for a few years now. I’m always using essential oils, whether in my homemade products, for ointments on my skin, as perfume, basically in almost everything.

I had the idea one day that, instead of restocking my pile of essential oils from the shop, why not make them myself?

Now, before we begin there’s something to note. Doing these processes won’t produce what is technically a “true” essential oil, as steam distilling is required. To make an authentic essential oil, you’d have to distil the lavender buds, capture the steam, and condense the steam into a liquid. This process requires heat, pressure, equipment and a lot of patience. Home-distilling is definitely not for the faint hearted. To put it simply: things can explode (not good). If you choose to go down the distillery route, it may be a good idea to go with tin-coated copper, since pure copper may be reactive with various botanicals.

For those of us whose kitchens aren’t filled with essential oil distilling equipment, flower/herb/fruit-infused “essential” oil is as close as we get. Keep in mind that this oil will be less concentrated than true essential oil.

I thought I’d start by making lavender essential oil, as it’s one of my all-time favourite scents! Here is how to make lavender essential oil from fresh lavender!

Harvesting the Lavender

First, you want to harvest your lavender blooms. I planted our lavender bush earlier this year, and it’s just grown exceptionally! Cut the lavender flowers off the plant, tie them into a bunch and hang them upside-down to dry in a dark, dry place for 4 weeks, or until completely dry – they take anywhere between 2-4 weeks to fully dry – the lavender flowers will feel brittle once they’re finished drying.

Drying Lavender

Using two rubber bands per dried lavender bunch—one just beneath the flower heads and one at the base of stems. Hang the bundles upside-down to dry in a dark, warm spot. To retain the best colour, protect drying lavender from sunlight, and place a sheet beneath the bundles to catch any buds or blooms that might fall.

DIY Lavender Oil (without alcohol)

Ingredients:

To make:

  1. Once lavender has finished drying, add dried lavender to a clean glass jar (just the flowers, you can compost the stems). Now it’s time to infuse the oils. Pour coconut oil over the lavender in the glass jar until lavender is just covered. Avoid using too much oil or you’ll weaken/dilute the oil too much. Secure the lid tightly and shake well. Allow to sit on a sunny windowsill for 1-3 weeks, shaking once or twice daily (this is most important during the first few days).
  2. Once it’s finished infusing, strain out the oil using a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Wring out the cloth or bag of lavender to squeeze out every bit of oil possible. Pour the mixture through a funnel into a clean dark glass bottle for storage, and keep in a cool, dark place. The oil will keep for up to 1-2 years. This lavender oil will have a lovely noticeable-yet-mild aroma. It will never be as strong as the essential oils you’re used to. To give the oil some extra fragrance, add a few drops of your favourite organic lavender essential oil.

DIY Lavender Oil (with alcohol)

Using alcohol creates more of a lavender tincture than an oil, but it does still contain the wonderful healthful properties of a lavender oil!

Ingredients:

To make:

  1. Gently crush the dried lavender flowers using the back of a spoon to release the oil before combining it with the vodka. You’re just bruising the flowers, not turning them to mush.
  2. Transfer the crushed lavender into a glass jar and pour vodka over the lavender until just covered. Avoid using too much oil or you’ll weaken/dilute the oil too much. Secure the lid tightly and shake well. Allow to sit on a sunny windowsill for one week, shaking once or twice daily (this is most important during the first few days).
  3. Once it’s finished infusing, strain out the oil using a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Wring out the cloth or bag of lavender to squeeze out every bit of oil possible. Pour the mixture through a funnel into a clean glass jar, cover with cheesecloth over the top and allow it to sit, undisturbed, for about one week. This will allow the alcohol to evaporate from the jar, leaving essential oil as the result.
  4. Store oil in clean dark glass bottle, and keep in a cool, dark place. The oil will keep for up to 1-2 years. This lavender oil also has a noticeable-yet-mild aroma. It will never be as strong as the essential oils you’re used to. To give the oil some extra fragrance, add a few drops of your favourite organic lavender essential oil.

Do not substitute isopropyl/rubbing alcohol for this DIY. Rubbing alcohol has its own disinfecting fragrance that will overpower your gentle lavender scent.

One week of infusing: on the left we have the coconut-infused lavender oil and on the right is the vodka-infused lavender oil.

Ways to Use Lavender Oil

Some wonderful uses for this lavender-infused oil include:

The finished product!! Store your lavender essential oil in dark glass apothecary bottles out of direct sunlight, preferably in a cool, dry place, as it will store better and protect the actives in the oil.

Lavender essential oil recipe

How to make lavender essential oil! (tutorial)

As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. It’s important to check with a doctor before taking this or any new product, especially if taking any other medicine or supplement or if pregnant or nursing. Be sure to check ingredients to make sure there is no risk of an allergic reaction.

Have you made essential oils before? Share in the comments below.

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa