5 steps to making potpourri

Make use of faded flowers in potpourri, a spice- and oil-scented blend of dried petals, leaves, and other plant materials. If you grow flowers and herbs, you already have most of what you need to make potpourri.

5 steps to making potpourri

1. Collect blossoms and herbs

Collect blossoms and herbs from your garden and dry them whole on a screen or sheet of newspaper.

  • When they're crisp to the touch, store them in airtight jars until you're ready to make a batch of potpourri.

2. It's more than just smell

Go for colour and texture rather than fragrance when collecting plant material to dry.

  • You can add interesting textures to potpourri by foraging in the woods for seedpods, evergreen cones, and the berries of shrubs, such as holly and pyracantha.

3. Stash dry goods for later

Store different dried materials separately so you can layer them into glass jars or make special batches of rose, herb, or spicy holiday potpourri.

4. Fixing the fragrance

Much of potpourri's fragrance comes from essential oils, which are sold in small bottles at craft and health-food stores.

  • From woodsy balsam to soothing lavender to sweet wisteria, essential oils are available in a wide variety of rich scents.
  • Along with an essential oil, you will need a fixative, such as orrisroot, which is sold at most craft stores as small crystals or powder.

5. How to make potpourri

  1. The first step in making potpourri is to mix the fixative with the essential oil in a glass jar. Stir with a chopstick, screw on the lid, and set the jar aside to let the mixture blend for several days.
  2. Then mix the scented fixative with your collection of dried flowers, seeds, and spices by shaking them together in a large, zip-close bag. In two to three weeks, your potpourri will be ready to use.
  3. If the scent fades, return the mixture to the bag and sprinkle in a few drops of essential oil. It will regain its fragrance within a few days.
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