Aroma beads are super fun and versatile. You can make dozens of different scented items with aroma beads, such as car air fresheners, scented sachets, smelly jelly jars and so much more! Before you can start making any of these projects, though, you’ll need to add fragrance to your aroma beads. Below, learn how to add scent to aroma beads in four easy steps so you can start creating all these fun projects.
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Step 1: Choose a Fragrance
Any fragrance oil can be used to scent aroma beads. Choosing a fragrance can seem overwhelming at first given that we have almost 400 choices! However, we recommend starting with one that you like the scent of right out of the bottle (OOTB). Whereas fragrances can smell different OOTB than they do in wax, they generally smell the same in aroma beads as they do OOTB.
You will need about 1-2 oz of fragrance per pound of aroma beads. The beads can successfully hold up to 30% of their weight in fragrance, but we have found that 1-2 oz per pound is usually plenty. You may find that you need more or less fragrance depending on how strong a particular scent is. In some cases, beads smell strong enough with just 0.5 oz of fragrance.
Keep in mind that some fragrances have a darker color than others. Because beads can absorb some pigment as well as fragrance, be aware that dark colored oils can potentially affect the color of your beads. Likewise, fragrances that are more yellow in color may slightly tint your aroma beads yellow. This shouldn’t stop you from using any fragrance you like. Simply try to incorporate the color into your design. For example, our Vanilla Latte fragrance is quite dark in color. Using this fragrance along with a brown mica powder can be a cute way to make latte-inspired car freshies!
Step 2: Choose a Color
Did you know aroma beads can be colored with any of our mica powders? Adding mica to aroma beads will give them a bright pop of color. Mica dissolves very easily in liquids, including fragrance oils. Mica adheres well to aroma beads, and won’t rub off once the fragrance has absorbed into the beads.
A little mica goes a long way in aroma beads. For most projects, you can use just 4-6 micro scoops of mica per pound of aroma beads. A 1g jar of mica will be enough to make several 1-pound batches of aroma beads.
If you use too much mica, keep in mind that it might not be able to adhere completely to the beads. In this situation, the excess mica may cause staining if you set your car freshies on a porous surface.
You can use any color of mica with aroma beads. However, the chemical process of baking can potentially cause some colors of mica to change slightly. Please bake a small test batch of aroma beads before making a large project to ensure you get the color you were hoping to achieve.
In addition to mica, you can also use glitter with aroma beads! Glitter isn’t a pigment and isn’t water soluble, so it won’t absorb into the beads. However, it will still adhere nicely to the rubbery texture of the aroma beads. Like mica, you don’t want to go overboard with glitter. If you use too much, the excess may sprinkle off. For most projects, 2-4 micro scoops of glitter per pound of aroma beads will be plenty. Glitter works best in aroma bead projects that you will bake into shapes, as the melting process helps the glitter stay attached to the beads.
Glitter can also be used to decorate baked aroma bead projects, as shown in our Scented Tree Ornament Tutorial.
Glitter particles are larger and heavier than mica particles, which means the glitter may sink to the bottom of your aroma bead mixture. Be sure to stir the beads well before making projects to ensure the glitter is evenly distributed.
Step 3: Mix Fragrance, Pigment & Aroma Beads
Now that you’ve chosen a fragrance and pigment, you can start making aroma beads! These instructions will tell you how to make 1 pound of aroma beads. If you want to make more, simply adjust the recipe accordingly.
You’ll need the following supplies to make up a 1-pound batch of scented aroma beads:
- A scale to weigh your beads such as our digital scale or 1lb tray scale
- 1-2 oz fragrance
- 1 micro scoop
- 1 pound of aroma beads
- 1g jar of mica
- Face mask (recommended for working with mica)
- Pipette (useful for transferring fragrance oil)
- 32 oz glass jar with lid (one that you don’t plan on using for food again)
Eco-friendly tip: Save glass pasta sauce jars and use them for making aroma beads! They're often the perfect size for mixing beads.
Once you’ve got your supplies ready, follow these steps to make scented aroma beads:
- Use your scale to weigh 1 pound of aroma beads. Set beads aside. This will be approximately 3.5 cups. For accuracy, we always recommend weighing your beads.
- Use a pipette to add 1 oz of fragrance oil to your glass jar. More fragrance can be added later. It works best to add a small amount at a time.
- Wearing a mask, add 4-6 micro scoops of mica to the jar. Swirl to combine. If using glitter, add 2-4 micro scoops of glitter to the jar as well.
- Add the beads to the jar using a wide funnel. If you don’t have a funnel, you can create a makeshift funnel with a piece of thick paper or cardstock.
- Place the lid on the jar and shake it up. Be sure to turn the jar in every angle so the fragrance and mica disperse evenly.
Follow along as we whip up a batch of aroma beads in this quick video!
Step 4: Keep Shaking Until Fragrance Absorbs
Once your aroma beads are mixed, simply shake the jar again every few hours. It will take anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks for the fragrance to completely absorb. Some fragrances may take longer. Each time you shake the jar, turn it at different angles to ensure each bead gets coated. We recommend shaking for a 30 seconds to 1 full minute each time you shake the jar. This can help the fragrance absorb more quickly.
At first, the beads will stick to the sides of the jar. As the fragrance absorbs, the beads will stick less and less. The beads are ready to use once they no longer stick to the sides of the jar. The aroma beads will also feel dry to the touch when they're done. Keep in mind it may take up to two weeks for fragrance to absorb. If you are having issues getting the fragrance to absorb within this time frame, please read these aroma bead troubleshooting tips.
Once the beads have completely absorbed the fragrance, open the jar and check to see if you like how strong it smells. If you want your beads to have a stronger scent, you can add 1 oz of additional fragrance oil at this time. Simply add the fragrance to the beads in the jar, put the lid back on and shake to distribute. Shake again every few hours until the fragrance absorbs. Remember this may take up to 2 weeks.
When adding additional fragrance, you may also decide that you want more pigment in your beads. To add more color, simply mix some mica with your fragrance before adding it to the jar. Combine your fragrance with a few micro scoops of mica and/or glitter using a small container such as our 3 oz measuring beaker. Swirl the measuring cup to blend the mica, then pour the mixture into the jar. Put the lid on, shake the jar and repeat shaking every few hours until the fragrance absorbs.
You now have a batch of scented aroma beads. There are countless ways to use aroma beads! Try these ideas:
- Place some of the beads in a muslin bag or organza sachet to make air fresheners for your closet or drawers (Be mindful about placing bags on/near porous surfaces like wood or cloth. Oil shouldn’t seep out of the beads, but it’s best to be cautious to avoid stains).
- Use a metal cookie cutter to melt your beads into shapes in the oven.
- Make aroma bead Christmas tree ornaments.
- Place the beads in a glass jar to make an aromatic piece of décor.
We’ll continue posting aroma bead tutorials in our blog, so be sure to check back for more ideas! You can also check out our Aroma Beads 101 blog for more ideas and inspiration.
Have you tried our aroma beads? Tell us about your projects in the comments below!