DIY Perfume With Fresh Flowers

freshly picked pink rose petals in cheesecloth-lined bowl next to white tray with empty buds

Treehugger / Jordan Provost

  • Working Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 day
  • Yield: 2 fl. oz. perfume
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

A fine perfume can have a hundred ingredients — but sometimes simple is just as sweet. While you can make perfumes with combinations of essential oils, or with complex top notes, middle notes, and base notes, a delicate water-based perfume with a floral scent is deliciously direct — and an ideal gift for a romantic at heart.

Not to mention that making your own perfume is a way to eliminate the potentially harmful chemicals or preservatives often found in synthetic fragrances. For example, scientists and activists have argued that phthalates in perfume and other cosmetics are not proven safe for any use. A homemade, all-natural, water-based perfume is the best Earth-friendly option.

When making perfume as a gift, it’s important to keep in mind the recipient’s tastes and preferences. You’ll want to use a highly fragrant flower to achieve a good scent, so think about which flowers your beloved enjoys. (You might even get a bouquet to make the perfume and save the remaining flowers to give alongside your handmade gift.) Get even greener with this gift and pick the flowers from your own garden. Some options to consider are rose, honeysuckle, and lavender.

fresh rose petals and lavender with water and cheesecloth to DIY perfume

Treehugger / Jordan Provost

What You'll Need


  • 1 medium-sized bowl with lid
  • 1 small saucepan
  • 1 pack cheesecloth


  • 1 1/2 cups chopped flowers
  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 1 washed and sterilized vanilla extract bottle (or any small colored bottle with an airtight stopper)


  1. Wash flowers

    close view of freshly rinsed bright pink rose petals in cheesecloth with drops of water

    Treehugger / Jordan Provost

    Wash the flower petals. Gently clean off any dirt and sediment with water.

  2. Soak flowers overnight

    hands pick up cheesecloth lined around glass bowl filled with fresh pink rose petals

    Treehugger / Jordan Provost

    Place cheesecloth inside a bowl with edges overlapping the bowl. Put the flowers into the cheesecloth-lined bowl and pour the water over them, covering the flowers. Cover the bowl with the lid and let the flowers soak overnight.

  3. Heat the flower-scented water

    hands squeeze cheesecloth filled with wet rose petals to get out diy rose water

    Treehugger / Jordan Provost

    The next day, remove the lid from the bowl and gently bring the four corners of the cheesecloth together, lifting the flower pouch out of the water. Squeeze the pouch over a small saucepan, extracting the flower-scented water. Simmer over low heat until you have about a teaspoon of liquid.

  4. Bottle the perfume

    brown glass bottle with rubber dropper filled with DIY rose water yellow label

    Treehugger / Jordan Provost

    Pour the cooled water into the bottle and cap it. The perfume will last for up to a month if stored in a cool, dark place.

You can decorate your bottle, or create a small label for it, or simply leave it as is. This is a simple version of perfume, but there is a wide array of perfume recipes available. You might want to try mixing perfume with essential oils next, or perhaps even creating your own aftershave — who knows where making this DIY gift will lead?

View Article Sources
  1. Al-Saleh, Iman and Elkhatib, Rola. "Screening of Phthalate Esters in 47 Branded Perfumes." Environmental Science and Pollution Research, vol. 23, no. 1, 2016, pp. 455-468. doi:10.1007/s11356-015-5267-z