How to Make Lavender Oil from Fresh Lavender

Making my own essential oils has been a dream of mine for a couple 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 constantly restocking my pile of essential oils from the shop, why not make them myself?! (Brilliant beyond brilliant idea, right? 😉 )

I had to hang our fresh lavender in the garage for 4 weeks to dry it out so it was ready to use to make lavender oil!!

Now, before we begin there’s just something to keep in mind. Doing these processes won’t necessarily 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, skill and a lot of patience. Home-distilling is definitely not for the faint of heart (I’m building up to creating my own mini distillery at home 😉 ). To put it simply: things can explode (not good). Generations of distillers (is distillers the right word? Well, people who made essential oils using the distillation method, anyway) used copper kettles and copper coils (copper was used for its even heat-conductivity) – but if you choose to go down the distillery route when learning how to make lavender essential oil, it may be a good idea to go with tin-coated copper, since pure copper may be reactive with various botanicals.

I thought I’d start with making lavender essential oil, as it’s one of my all-time favourite scents! I’ll share how to make other essential oils in future too (so stay tuned!), but for now, here is how to make lavender essential oil from fresh lavender!

After drying, I cut off the stems so that only the flower bulbs remained, so they could fit inside my glass jars to soak for another week and infuse with the liquid (you only need the bulbs when making lavender essential oil as that is where the fragrance is!)

DIY Lavender Oil (without alcohol)

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. dried lavender
  • 10 oz. liquid coconut oil

Step 1: First, you want to begin by harvesting the lavender blooms. I planted our lavender bush earlier this year, and it’s just grown exceptionally fast! I cut the lavender flowers (enough to make at least 1 oz. of dried lavender), tied them into a bunch and hung them upside down to dry in a dark, dry place for 4 weeks (they take anywhere between 2-4 weeks to fully dry – the lavender flowers will feel brittle once they’re finished drying).

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

Step 2: 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 10 oz. liquid coconut oil over the lavender in the glass jar until lavender is covered completely. Secure the lid tightly onto the jar and shake well. You can store the jar near a window (but not in direct sunlight) to infuse for 7-10 days. Shake every day or so.

Step 3: Once it’s finished infusing, it’s time to strain it out! You can use a strainer or cheesecloth for this. Pour the mixture through a funnel into a clean glass jar. Store in a cool, dark place. The oil will keep for up to 1 year.

And that’s how you make lavender oil, to make lavender essential oil, it’s a little different. The recipe I use involves using alcohol to make the essential oil, but it works a treat and gives you a fragrant natural essential oil to use however you like! Here’s how to make it.

This batch of lavender oil was made with coconut oil. By the end of the week it did have a slight fragrance, however it was not as strong as the lavender oil infused with vodka, which carried a stronger lavender scent.

DIY Lavender Essential Oil (with alcohol)

The recipe continues on from after the drying process (see recipe above on how to dry out fresh lavender).

I found this method of making lavender essential oil – without a distilling machine – to be much better, as the oil at the end actually smelt strongly of lavender!! Note: just make sure to let the oil sit for one week (or more) covered with a cheesecloth after infusing to allow the alcohol to evaporate from the jar, leaving essential oil as the result. You’ll smell the alcohol quite strongly at first, but if you do this step the alcohol smell dissipates to be replaced by the lavender scent

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. dried lavender
  • 10 oz. vodka

Step 1: Using a mortar and pestle (or spoon and bowl), you want to gently crush the dried lavender flowers to release the oil before combining it with the vodka. Keep in mind, you’re just bruising the flowers with the back of the spoon or pestle, not making oatmeal 😉 . Too much agitation will result in lavender soup – not what you want.

Step 2: Next, you want to transfer the crushed lavender into a mason jar or any type of glass jar (you want to avoid plastic jars, so the plastic doesn’t seep into the liquid).

Step 4: Now you’re going to pour vodka over the lavender. You want to make sure to fully submerge the lavender in vodka, then you’re going to tightly secure the jar with a lid and shake well. Store the jar near a window (but not in direct sunlight) to infuse for 7-10 days. Gently shake every day or so.

Step 5: Now it’s time to strain out what is now lavender vodka (though I don’t recommend drinking it) into another jar so that you can turn it into lavender essential oil. Using a strainer, cheesecloth, or coffee filter, pour the mix through your strainer placed over another glass jar, collecting the liquid at the bottom, and discard the leftover flowers (I composted them). You may need to let it strain for a while, to ensure all the liquid has drained through.

Step 6: Once you’ve finished straining it, cover it with another coffee filter or cheesecloth over the top of the jar 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. There may be sediment at the bottom, which is no big deal. If it bothers you– for instance, if you’re gifting the jar, strain it again with a clean coffee filter into a lidded storage jar. I like using dark-coloured glass (like dark, opaque apothecary jars) to protect the actives in the oil. Store it in your pantry or linen closet, out of direct sunlight.

Now it’s ready to use for whenever you need it!

After one week of infusing (you can see the difference between the two oils): on the left we have the coconut-infused lavender oil (the colour stayed the same and there was a slight lavender scent in the oil), and on the right is the vodka-infused lavender oil (the colour of the solution changed as you can see as it absorbed the lavender properties, and the oil itself had a much stronger scent of lavender after it sat for one week covered in cheesecloth which allowed the alcohol to evaporate).

NOTE: do not substitute isopropyl/rubbing alcohol for this DIY. Rubbing alcohol has its own overpowering disinfectant stank that will overpower your gentle lavender fragrance.

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 keep better and protect the actives in the oil

Lavender essential oil recipe

How to make lavender essential oil! (tutorial)

Have you made essential oils before? Share your experience below! How did it go?? We love hearing your stories!

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa

Sources:

How to Make Lavender Essential Oil. essio. Retrieved from https://www.essioshower.com/blogs/blog/13994341-how-to-make-lavender-essential-oil

Orr, Thad. (Updated: August 4, 2020). How to Make Lavender Oil. Sunset. Retrieved from https://www.sunset.com/home-garden/diy-projects/diy-lavender-oil