Aroma Beads 101 everything you ever wanted to know about aroma beads

Aroma Beads 101: Everything You Need to Know about Making Aroma Beads

If you’re new to aroma beads, it might feel like there’s a lot to learn before you can get started. Don’t worry! If you haven’t worked with aroma beads before, you might find it helpful to read through our Aroma Beads FAQ first. If you have questions about what aroma beads are, chances are we’ve got it covered in that blog!

Ready to get creative with aroma beads? Read on for all the tips and info you need to get started!

Please note: Our aroma bead instructions might be different from instructions you have received from other aroma bead suppliers. If you have made aroma beads in the past, be aware that our aroma bead instructions might also be different from the process that you are accustomed to using. Please follow our instructions when using our aroma beads. We have done extensive testing to determine the best process for using our aroma beads. 

Adding Fragrance to Aroma Beads

How much fragrance can aroma beads hold?

Beads can hold a maximum of 20 to 30% fragrance oil. The maximum fragrance load may vary depending on the fragrance you use.

The amount of fragrance needed to create a strong scent may also vary. From our testing, we have found that a 4 to 12% fragrance load is ideal, as this smells very strong while also allowing you to get the most out of every bottle of fragrance. For reference, a 4% fragrance load is about 0.5 oz of fragrance per pound of beads, while a 12% load is about 2 oz of fragrance per pound of beads.

Generally speaking, the beads will smell stronger with the more oil you add. However, there is no need to add the maximum fragrance load if you are able to create a scent you like with less fragrance.

We do not recommend adding a high fragrance load all at one time. Remember, the beads can hold up to 20 to 30% fragrance depending on the fragrance used. However, adding too much oil at once will make it impossible for the beads to absorb the fragrance. It is necessary to work your way up to the max fragrance load gradually rather than pouring in your final desired amount of fragrance all at once.

From our testing, we have found that beads have a hard time absorbing fragrances if they are completely saturated or swimming in fragrance oil. For best results, the beads should simply be coated with fragrance and appear wet when you add the fragrance and shake it up. A good way to tell if you have added too much fragrance at once is if the fragrance pools at the bottom of the jar after sitting for a few minutes.

What can I do if I add too much fragrance?

Aroma beads are not ruined if you add too much fragrance and can't get it to absorb. It's easy to fix!

If you believe you have added too much fragrance oil, the best solution is to simply even things out by adding more (unscented) beads. This may require that you transfer your beads to a larger container so there's enough room to shake them. The new beads will help soak up the excess fragrance, making it possible for your beads to fully absorb and become dry enough to handle for projects.

How much fragrance can I add to aroma beads at one time?

Add no more than 1 oz of fragrance per pound of aroma beads at one time. Any fragrance you add needs to be fully absorbed into the beads before you attempt to add additional fragrance.

For reference, adding 1 oz of fragrance to 1 lb of beads is approximately a 6.25% fragrance load. This is the maximum fragrance load that we recommend you add at one time. If you want your beads to have a higher total fragrance load, you will need to work your way up to that amount slowly rather than adding the maximum fragrance load all at once.

If you are making a different amount of aroma beads, adjust the amount of fragrance you use accordingly. You will need to know the weight of your beads in order to determine the correct amount of fragrance to add at one time. For easier calculations, start by adding 5% fragrance by weight. After this fragrance absorbs, you may add an additional 5% fragrance load, repeating this process until you reach your ideal fragrance load. Always let the fragrance absorb into the beads before adding more fragrance. And keep in mind beads can hold no more than 20 to 30% fragrance total by weight (the exact amount depends on the fragrance you use). 

What fragrances can I use with aroma beads?

Any of our fragrances will work great with aroma beads! If you’re not sure whether a fragrance will smell good in a car freshie, choose fragrances where you like the out-of-the-bottle (OOTB) scent. The final product you make will usually match the OOTB scent.

When choosing a fragrance, remember that everyone’s nose is different. If you like how a fragrance smells in wax, but you don’t like its OOTB scent, it might not be the best fragrance for you to use in aroma beads.

Keep in mind that some fragrances naturally have a darker color, which might affect the color of your aroma beads. If using darker fragrance oils like Mary Jane or Vanilla Latte, try to work the color of the fragrance into your final design. Mica powder can also be used to help tint the beads any shade you like.

How do I add fragrance to aroma beads?

It’s easy! Simply add fragrance oil and beads to a clean glass jar or HDPE plastic container. Shake the jar, then shake again every few hours to distribute the fragrance evenly. The fragrance will soak into the beads over time. Beads are ready to use for projects once they appear dry and no longer stick to the sides of the jar. Check out these steps for making aroma beads for more detailed information.

How long does it take for aroma beads to absorb a fragrance?

It may take anywhere from 1 day to 2+ weeks depending on the fragrance used. Heavier oils tend to take longer.

Why aren’t my aroma beads absorbing the fragrance?

Some fragrance oils take longer than others to absorb. If you’re shaking your jar every few hours and still can’t get the fragrance to absorb quickly enough, try these troubleshooting tips.

    Can I add fragrance after melting beads into a shape?

    Fragrance oil can be added after melting the beads, but it will be difficult to disperse the oil evenly, and you may waste some fragrance oil trying to get it to absorb. If you’d like to add fragrance after making aroma bead shapes, place the shapes in a small plastic bag with a little fragrance oil. Squeeze the air out of the bag and squish the fragrance onto the shape so it spreads evenly. Squish the bag regularly to help the oil coat as much of the shape as possible.

    Keep in mind you may not get the same level of scent throw using this method, as the fragrance doesn’t have the opportunity to coat each bead individually. Furthermore, beads can only hold so much fragrance. If you scent your beads before melting them, then try to add additional oil after melting, it likely won’t be able to absorb.

    Will the fragrance disappear if I bake my aroma beads?

    Baking aroma beads for an excessively long time or using a very high temperature may cause the beads to lose their scent. However, when following recommended baking times and cooking at the recommended temperatures, aroma bead projects shouldn’t lose their scent in the oven. For best results, bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees F.

    Adding Color to Aroma Beads

    Can you add color to aroma beads?

    If you want to add color to your beads, you can use mica powder! We have more than 80 beautiful shades of mica to choose from. The mica powder will mix with the fragrance oil, which helps the mica adhere to the beads.

    You can use any color of mica on aroma beads. Please note that some colors of mica may change slightly if baked in the oven due to the chemical process. You can test a small batch of colored aroma beads in the oven to see if the color turns out the way you want before making a larger project.

    Liquid candle dyes can also be used to color aroma beads.

    We have not tested food coloring, and therefore can’t recommend it as an aroma bead dye.

    How much mica powder do I need to dye aroma beads?

    You don’t need much powder to make your beads colorful. We recommend starting with 4-6 micro scoops of mica per pound. You can increase the amount to get a more intense color. However, adding too much mica can make it difficult for the fragrance to absorb and for the beads to melt together.

    Can I make colored, unscented projects with aroma beads?

    While aroma beads are intended to be used with fragrance oils, you don’t necessarily need to add fragrance to the beads. To color aroma beads without using fragrance, simply add the beads and mica powder to a sealed container or bag and shake it to distribute the powder. Then add the colored beads to whichever mold you’d like to use. Bake as usual to melt.

    Due to the slightly rubbery texture of EVA plastic, the mica will adhere without the help of a liquid such as fragrance oil. However, you can also disperse the mica in a small amount of rubbing alcohol (1-2 tsp) before mixing it with the beads. Allow the rubbing alcohol to evaporate from the beads before using the beads in a project.

    Can I use glitter with aroma beads?

    Yes, glitter can be used with aroma beads. You can also add glitter and mica for an even shinier effect. Glitter isn’t a pigment, so it won’t dye the beads. Rather, it will rest on top of them. Glitter tends to hold better to aroma bead projects that are baked in the oven. Avoid using too much glitter, as the excess may sprinkle off your project. Just 1-2 micro scoops of glitter per pound of beads is usually enough.

    If you’re having trouble mixing glitter with aroma beads, you can still incorporate it in your projects by applying glitter glue. It’s super easy to make your own glitter glue! Just combine 1 part glitter with 2 parts glue. Follow our Aroma Bead Christmas Tree Ornament tutorial for more glitter decorating techniques!

    Melting Aroma Beads

    Do I always need to bake my aroma beads before making projects?

    No, aroma beads do not need to be baked in order to cure. As soon as your aroma beads absorb the fragrance and are dry, they are ready to use for projects. You only need to bake aroma beads if you want to make them into shapes.

    How do I make aroma beads into shapes?

    Aroma beads can be melted in the oven to create shapes. You just need metal cookie cutters, a baking sheet and parchment paper. Simply follow these steps:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper (do not use wax paper!)
    3. Place metal cookie cutters onto the lined baking sheet, evenly spaced apart.
    4. Pour a thin layer (¼ ” thick recommended) of scented beads into each cookie cutter. Arrange the beads so they fill all the details of the cookie cutter.
    5. Bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes, checking beads regularly after the 5-minute mark.
    6. Poke beads with a wooden toothpick, chopstick or popsicle stick to check doneness.
    7. Beads are done when they stick together and do not separate upon being poked. They will also appear glassy and clear when they are done. Beads may have a gummy texture that adheres slightly to the stick, but they should be done as long as they don’t separate from one another. The beads will take the longest to melt in the center of the mold.
    8. Remove from oven and let cool.
    9. Once beads are cool enough to handle, gently pop the shape out of the mold.

    Read our Aroma Bead Tree Ornament tutorial for more tips on baking aroma beads.

    Some people prefer to leave their freshies in the mold until they’re completely cool, while others find it easier to remove them when they’re still slightly warm. You can experiment with both methods to find what works best for you. If you try to remove the aroma bead shapes from the mold too soon, you may bend your freshies in the process.

    Follow our Aroma Bead Tutorial for more information on making aroma beads.

    Can I use a soap mold to melt aroma beads?

    Aroma beads can also be melted using a silicone mold if you want to experiment with different techniques. Simply place a silicone mold on a baking sheet and fill the cavities about ¼” deep with beads. Silicone molds distribute heat differently, and as such, beads may take longer to melt.

    Keep in mind that beads won’t melt completely in the oven – regardless of the type of mold you use. Therefore, you’ll get the best results using silicone molds with smooth bottoms and minimal details. 3-D silicone molds can also be more difficult to use with aroma beads. That’s not to say you can’t use silicone molds with embossed details or intricate shapes. Just don’t expect those details to pop in your finished product.

    Do not use plastic molds, which may melt in the oven or melt to the beads themselves.

    My aroma beads aren’t all melting at the same rate. Why?

    There might be a few reasons:

    • You might experience uneven melting rates if you use cookie cutters or molds that are different shapes/sizes. Try to bake each batch using cookie cutters that are similar in size.
    • The way you space out your cookie cutters on the tray can also play a role. Try to keep even spaces between each cookie cutter.
    • Make sure your cookie cutters are filled to the same level as one another. The thickness of your air fresheners can affect the required baking time.
    • If you use cookie cutters with intricate details, the smaller/narrower parts of the design will melt first. The center of the mold or thicker parts of the design will take longer to melt.

    Will aroma beads make my oven smell?

    Aroma beads shouldn’t make your oven smell like fragrance after you’re done baking. You will probably notice the fragrance in the air while your beads are baking, but this should dissipate quickly. It is still safe to bake food after using your oven to melt aroma beads. If you can still smell the fragrance in your oven after baking, you may wish to leave the door cracked open to help it air out.

    If there is a lot of baked on food in your oven, it can potentially absorb the fragrance. Using an oven cleaner to remove baked on food can prevent this potential issue.

    Can I melt aroma beads in the microwave?

    We have not tested this, and do not recommend using a microwave to melt aroma beads.

    Do aroma beads stay stuck together?

    Baked freshies look like a cluster of beads stuck together. Depending on how long you bake them, the beads may melt and smooth out more. However, aroma beads do not melt into a fully smooth shape.

    Aroma bead shapes remain somewhat flexible. Keep in mind the thinner you make your shapes, the more breakable they may be if bent. Avoid bending freshies no matter their shape or thickness.

    Will freshies melt if I leave them in my car?

    Aroma beads may start to re-melt if they are exposed to high temperatures, which may occur in your car depending on where you live. If you live in a warm climate and your car is parked in the sun, temps inside your vehicle can easily get over 165 F (the melting point for EVA plastic).

    Most people don’t have an issue with their freshies melting during the warm months if they use their car regularly. However, if you don’t plan on driving for a few days and there’s hot weather in the forecast, consider taking your freshies out of your vehicle, or at least storing them in an area where they’re not exposed to direct sunlight.

    Can I re-melt pellets that have already been melted into a shape?

    We don't recommend trying to reuse beads that have already been melted into a shape. Once aroma bead pellets have been melted together, it’s difficult to get them to re-form in a different shape because the beads will be firmly stuck together.

    Making Projects with Aroma Beads

    How do I make a hole in my air fresheners to hang them?

    You can place a roofing nail in your mold/cookie cutter before adding the beads. Pour the beads around the nail, then pop it out when you take the air fresheners out of the molds.

    It also works to drill a hole after your car freshies are baked. This technique can be more difficult, and tends to work better on thicker car freshies. Make sure to hold the freshie securely while drilling, and drill on top of a wood surface that you don’t care about putting holes in.

    How long do aroma beads hold their scent?

    Depending on the type of project, aroma beads will continue smelling strong for up to 45 days. If you use freshies regularly, you’ll probably find that they last longer in the cooler months.

    Keep in mind that if you might get used to the scent over time, which might make it seem like the air freshener has lost its scent more quickly than it actually has. Guests in your home and passengers in your car may be able to smell your air fresheners longer than you because they’re not accustomed to the fragrance.

    How can I extend the life of my air fresheners?

    There are several things you can do to make freshies last longer. First, avoid exposing scented aroma beads to direct sunlight or extreme heat for too long. If using in a car, you may wish to remove the freshie from the window and place it in a cooler, darker location when you’re not driving.

    Second, airflow can affect how quickly an air freshener lasts. Air flow is what helps a fragrance disperse into your room or vehicle. However, placing a freshie in an area that’s overly drafty can make the fragrance dissipate more quickly.

    For example, if you hang a freshie in front of a vent, it might lose its scent more quickly. You can try placing the air freshener near a vent when you want to enjoy the fragrance, then removing it from the drafty area when you’re done.

    If using aroma beads in a jar, consider placing an airtight lid on the jar when you’re not in the room.

    How should I store unused aroma beads or freshies?

    Proper storage is helpful if you make more aroma beads than you need or make a large batch of air fresheners and don’t want to use them all at once. Car freshies can be stored in mylar bags to prolong their life, while unused scented beads can be stored in an airtight glass jar. Plastic bags are not airtight. Unused air fresheners or scented beads should be stored in a cool, dark location.

    How long do scented aroma beads last in storage?

    Loose aroma beads should keep their scent indefinitely as long as they are in an airtight container. For best results, use freshies within 6 months to 1 year after making them.

    If your beads lose their scent, remember that you can try adding additional fragrance (up to 20-30% fragrance load total). The beads may not be able to absorb additional fragrance oil once they’ve already been scented with the maximum fragrance load.

    Have a question we didn’t cover? Check our Aroma Beads FAQ or leave a comment below and we’ll add it to this page!

    Aroma Beads 101 Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Aroma Beads

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    Can you bake more than one scent at a time?


    Hi Brandy, freshies can be flexible after baking. Usually the thinner the piece is, the more bendy it will be.

    Robin from NorthWood

    When I make my freshies the freshie tends to be very bendy and flexible, is this normal? I thought they were supposed to be harder after cooling, how do I fix this (if not normal)?

    Brandy Jones

    Is there a way to make fragrance oil at home? I live in Mexico and the oils are extremely expensive


    Can you put dented aroma beads in a sachet and then in a storage bag to send out in the mail??


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