Packaging is often thrown away, but empty perfume bottles are too pretty to be chucked in the bin. Wash with soap and water or rinse with alcohol, and upcycle into gorgeous products you would be proud to sell at a craft stall.
Perfume is easier to make than many realise! In your fancy old bottles, your concoctions will look as good as they smell. Many recipes, tips and tricks can be found on the internet along with training courses and teach-yourself videos.
A perfume scent is made up of chords, and each chord has three parts:
- The top or head note is what you notice when you go in for a sniff; it catches your attention, but evaporates much quicker than the rest due to its lighter composition. Common head notes might include orange, lemon, lavender, grapefruit or berry scents.
- The middle or heart note combines with both the head and base notes, and is often floral, fruity or spicy with fragrances like geranium, rose, coriander, nutmeg or jasmine.
- The base note is rich and full, lingering on the skin long after the head notes have faded; it might include vanilla, patchouli, musk, sandlewood or oakmoss.
- Essential oils – choosing which scents to include is the creative part. You can add anything from cinnamon or lavender to frankincense or myrrh. Remember to keep a notepad handy to jot down the amount of drops you’re adding to your recipe.
- Alternatively, you can use fragrance oils which are less natural (as they are often combined with synthetics) but are less likely to irritate the skin.
- Carrier oil – this is important to dilute the essential oil, which can damage your skin in its pure form. The most popular types include jojoba, avocado kernel, coconut, avocado and almond oils.
- Vodka or pure grain alcohol, to transform the perfume oil into eau de perfume.
So… what do you do?
When making perfume yourself, you can customise it to exactly how you like it. For example, many find that the more affordable scents sold in perfumeries and pharmacies are too overpowering for their personal tastes. You can sell this at craft stalls, or maybe even set up your own perfumery!
Many people have started collections of the prettiest glass bottles, and some rare or vintage perfume bottles have been known to sell at quite handsome prices. Have a look at sites like:
Although this won’t make you rich, it will be nice pocket money. Common selling prices lie between £2 and £8, but the more extravagant pieces can sell for hundreds of pounds!
Create home décor pieces
Rather than selling them just as they are, try transforming empty perfume bottles into beautiful decorations and ornaments.
Fill the tiny bottles with broken jewellery, odd beads, coloured sand or shells.
Fill the large round bottles with flakes of paper or sprinkles of glitter.
These last longer than scented candles and are much less demanding to make. Take a look at this quick method here.
Easy, simple, and looks great, especially for buds or small fake flowers.
This Lovely Greens tutorial shows you how to make candles inside old wine bottles but, once again, this should work equally well with empty perfume bottles.
This link here contains one method of making a suncatcher, but you can also string bottles along a length of wood as has been done here. Suncatchers are definitely for the more creative among us – maybe you could use the glass-cutting skills you learnt when making candle-holders, and string smaller pieces of glass alongside shells, beads, or broken jewellery.