Aroma Beads Troubleshooting: How to Make Aroma Beads Absorb Fragrance Oils Faster

Aroma beads are super fun and easy to make. All you need to do is add aroma beads, fragrance oil and mica to a jar, then shake it every few hours until the fragrance is absorbed. But what happens when you can’t get your aroma beads to absorb the fragrance? It can be frustrating when aroma beads won’t absorb fragrance in the way you’re expecting. Luckily, we have a few tips that should help you get your aroma bead projects to work better.

Please note: Our tips for making aroma beads might be different from instructions you have received from other aroma bead suppliers. If you are experienced with making aroma beads, please also be aware that our aroma bead instructions might be different from the process that you are accustomed to using. Please follow our instructions when using our aroma beads.

How long should it take aroma beads to absorb fragrance?

Making aroma beads can be a very quick project, with some fragrances absorbing within 1 day. However, this isn’t the case for all fragrances. Most fragrances take an average of 2-7 days to absorb.

If you’ve read all about aroma beads and you’re following all the steps for making aroma beads but can’t seem to get the fragrance to absorb within a week, don’t fret. Some fragrances can take up to 2 weeks, or even slightly longer, to fully absorb. While it can be frustrating for a project to take that long, it doesn’t mean the aroma beads or fragrance are defective. Some fragrances simply just take a long time to absorb, and this is completely normal. For example, heavier oils can take longer.

Tips for Getting Aroma Beads to Absorb Fragrance Oils

What if you’re following all our tips for making aroma beads and still can’t get the fragrance to absorb? We understand how disappointing it can feel when a project doesn’t work the way you expect! These troubleshooting steps should help get your aroma bead project back on track.

  • Make sure you're shaking the jar in all directions. This one might seem obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning. For the best results, we recommend shaking your aroma bead jar up and down and side to side. In addition to holding the jar from the lid and shaking, try turning the jar on its side and shaking the jar horizontally by holding the lid and the base in both hands. You can also hold the jar by its base and shake it upside down. Try to shake the beads loose from the bottom and edges so they mix with the others. Just make sure the lid is super secure each time you shake the jar! You essentially want the aroma beads to move around as much as possible, which brings us to the next few points.
  • Make sure you're using a jar that's large enough. If you fill a jar completely full of beads, they won't be able to move much when you shake the jar. We recommend choosing a jar that will give you at least 1 inch of space between the lid and the top layer of aroma beads. Having 2-3 inches of extra room in the jar is ideal. Simply put, the aroma beads need enough room to move around within the jar in order to absorb fragrance. For reference, 1 pound of aroma beads fits comfortably in most 32 oz jars, but an even larger jar may work better.
  • Shake the jar thoroughly each time you shake it. In our testing, we have found that beads absorb much more quickly when you shake the jar for 30 seconds to 1 full minute each time you shake it. Giving your jar one or two shakes is better than nothing, but we have gotten much quicker results by shaking for a full minute. Try placing the jar in a place where it'll be convenient to shake often. Keeping the jar on your coffee table or on a kitchen counter makes it easy to remember -- and anyone you share your home with can help with the shaking process too!

ideal type of jar for aroma beads

  • Choose a jar or container that is uniformly shaped. You may have trouble getting aroma beads to absorb fragrance if you use containers with an unusual shape. For example, square, oblong, tapered and oval shaped bottles may make it harder for the beads to circulate well. This is because bottles with edges or tapered designs may prevent the beads from moving around freely. You can certainly try using a variety of different jar styles. However, if you are having trouble getting your beads to absorb the fragrance, you may want to try switching to a straight-sided jar with a round shape. We have found that mason jars and recycled pasta sauce jars work great!
  • Try storing the jar in a warm location such as near a heat vent or in a sunny window in your house. Keeping your container in a room with a warmer ambient temperature may help with the absorption process. On the other hand, storing your jar in a very cold location may increase the absorption time. While a warmer ambient temperature can help beads absorb, we do not recommend placing your container on a direct heat source. Fragrances can actually take longer to absorb if the jar gets too warm. If the jar is in a location where it becomes warm to the touch, consider moving it to a slightly cooler location for better results.
  • Don’t add too much fragrance at one time. Aroma beads can hold a maximum of 20 to 30% fragrance, but it depends on the fragrance used. In any case, you don’t want to add the maximum fragrance load all at once. In fact, adding too much fragrance all at once can make it hard for the beads to absorb. We recommend starting with no more than 1 oz per pound of beads. Once your initial 1 oz of fragrance has absorbed, you may add another ounce of fragrance. Let the fragrance absorb completely before adding additional fragrance. With our aroma beads, you will have much better results if you follow this process of adding fragrance slowly.
Remember you don't necessarily need to add the maximum amount of fragrance. Although the beads can hold 20 to 30 percent fragrance, you may find it's unnecessary to use this much fragrance to make the beads smell strong. In many cases, a 5 to 15 percent fragrance load actually smells very strong. Not only does it take less time to use less fragrance, it also allows you to save on fragrance!
    • Add more beads to help soak up the fragrance. As covered in Aroma Beads 101, you don't want your beads to be swimming in fragrance oil. If there is so much fragrance oil in the jar that it begins pooling at the bottom, you might find it helps to add more beads. Aroma beads have a hard time soaking up fragrance when they are completely saturated in fragrance. The extra beads will help soak up the excess fragrance.
    • Try using a plastic bag instead of a jar. While we prefer to making aroma beads in reusable glass jars, you can also try using a gallon-sized freezer bag. Simply add your beads, fragrance and colorant to the bag. Seal the bag securely and shake/squeeze the bag to evenly distribute the color and fragrance. Just as you would when making aroma beads in a jar, be sure to shake the bag every few hours. Keep in mind that given enough time, fragrance oils can potentially eat through plastic, so it's a good idea to store the bag on a tray while the beads are absorbing. In case there is any leakage, the tray will prevent damage to any surface that the bag may be sitting on.
    • Use mica and other additives sparingly. You only need a small amount of mica powder to color aroma beads. In our testing, we have found 4-8 micro scoops of mica per pound of aroma beads to be an ideal amount. You can experiment with using more mica powder in your aroma beads. However, using an excessive amount may make it harder for the fragrance to absorb. It’s best to start with a small amount and work your way up. You can add more mica to the mix if you decide that the color isn’t as intense as you wanted. Mica can be added directly to the aroma bead container, or you can mix it with fragrance oil if you decide that you also want to add additional fragrance to your beads.
    • Use high-quality fragrance oils. We have only tested aroma beads with our fragrances, so we can't guarantee how they will perform with fragrance oils from other sources.

    We hope these tips help get your aroma bead project pointed in the right direction if you can’t get the fragrance to absorb. It may feel like something is wrong with your project if it’s taking a long time for the fragrance to absorb, but don't worry. Some fragrances simply do take longer to absorb because of their properties. Other fragrances have a lower maximum fragrance load in aroma beads than others. No matter what fragrances you're using, these troubleshooting tips should help speed up the process.

    There are numerous factors that can affect how aroma beads turn out. This post will continue to be updated as we discover more tips and tricks for success!

    Note: Our instructions for making aroma beads may differ from other aroma bead instructions you have read online. We have done numerous tests using our aroma beads in order to provide these instructions. We can't guarantee success with your aroma bead project if you follow instructions provided by different sources.  

    Have more aroma bead tips we didn’t cover? We’d love to hear what works for you! Leave a comment below to join the discussion.

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