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Making Car Air Fresheners

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If you are looking for an alternative to the ubiquitous pine tree air freshener of old, try making your own. This is a page about materials for making car air fresheners.


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By 4 found this helpful
June 2, 2015

A cute and simple project that kids can make for dad for Father's Day. A car or office air freshener!

Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 a styrofoam plate (found under fruits/foods at the grocer)
  • 1 ft cord
  • a small piece of felt
  • some sort of scent dad likes: essential oils (pine, eucalyptus, rosemary all smell great) or even some of his cologne!
  • 1 scissors


  1. Cut a rectangle out of the Styrofoam.
  2. Fold it in half to shape it into a triangle with like sides.
  3. Punch a hole through the top of each triangle (one at a time).
  4. Cut your piece of felt or cloth a little smaller than the Styrofoam triangles and punch a hole in the top of that as well.
  5. A parent should oversee this part. Carefully pour a tiny amount of cologne or essential oil onto the felt. You may add olive oil if you want to extend the scents lasting ability but be careful not to pour/spill on any of these products! I placed the felt over the open oil and carefully turned it upside down while pressiing on the bottle to limit how much came out at once.
  6. Sandwich the felt in between the two Styrofoam triangles.
  7. Ad

  8. Thread the cord through all three triangles (the two Stryfoam and the felt piece).
  9. That keeps the freshener dry to the touch on the outside while hanging.
  10. Tie the loose end of the cord and present to dad to hang in his office, closet or vehicle!
  11. Happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there!

Note: You may want to design your freshener in the shape of a ball, fish or other hobby of dads. I just thought the triangle looked pretty cool and was simple for young hands!

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 4

August 4, 2010

After I had heard that the car was smelling musty from my dear husband about ten hundred times, I decided to look and see if there was something hidden under the seats. I mean, spend an hour or so out there cleaning up. Well, there was a ton of paper and toys, etc., which I can't stand because they can roll up under the brake pedal and impede the brakes from working which could cause a crash, especially plastic coke bottles and small balls. Once something is lodged under the brake pedal, nothing will stop the car except for the emergency brake. I don't know if putting a car in another gear will stop the car or not and I don't want to find out.


Anyway, I found a sock and not having any gloves, I put it on my hand. Seeing a large candle in the car, an expensive one that had the scent of pears, I took the sock and rubbed the dust off the top to clean the surface of it. I had to scrape with my fingernails through the sock to get the dust off the top of the candle. I shook the dust off the sock and then put it back on my hand to gather the debris off the floor. I learned a long time ago blowing the dust out of a candle must makes me sneeze. Soon the candle was clean and this sock smelled so good, it was heavenly. Then the smell went from the sock to the carpet, since I was using the sock as a whisk broom - it picks up better, and on top of that, the animal hair came off like a dream. By the time I had cleaned out the car, and kept going back and getting wax on the sock from scraping the top of the candle, it smelled really, really good, and there was not a speck of dust on top of that expensive candle.


My daughter, who is twenty and is disabled, carries around candles with her. She won't ever allow anyone to light them, she just likes them, so that is how the candle got in the car in the first place. I like the scent so much I am going to take a melon ball thing and take round things out of this scent, flatten them, and put them under the car seats where the dogs can't get at them. I have no small kids who might eat them.

I was happy with the way this turned out and my dear husband loved the smell. Now when the car heats up, there is a bunch of melon ball sized bits of wax in a plastic container in the back and some under the seats. I will take them out in the wintertime.

Thought I would share this with you, I already had made some air fresheners out of a candle wax and a small fabric softener sheet, but I like the bigger melon ball size of wax better.

By Robyn Fed from Hampton, TN

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March 4, 2005

Cut a piece of fun foam into desired shape. You can draw it, or use cookie cutters to trace around. Cut the shape out. Paper edging scissors are fun to use!


Take a drop or two of essential oil or fragrance oil (from the craft store or a health food store) and rub it on with your finger.

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July 1, 2004

I am allergic to a lot, and with my pregnancy, smells drive me crazy, even ones that make life a bit more pleasant, like air fresheners in cars. I don't normally smell them but they are needed due to occasional trips with the dog.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

May 7, 20080 found this helpful

Did anyone ever get the recipe for the gel looking, cookie cutter shaped air fresheners being sold at craft fairs for 4.95 each with rope tied through top for hanging? I would like to make my own instead of buying and looking for them elsewhere. Hard to find.




By denise w (Guest Post)
May 21, 20080 found this helpful

Hi everyone. Just a little tidbit of info for all. I'm one of those crafters who make and sell those aroma beads. I just wanted to let you know that by the time you order the product, pay shipping. make the beads and package them 4.95 is a steal, but if you want a discount what would be better is to ask the seller for one if you buy say 3 and have a few friends go in on it.

I love this site and I love saving money, but some things its just easier to buy and by the way it costs about 2.75 for each auto air freshener to make and then the person has to pay for the booth. I go to festivals and sell my wares, and by the time I come home I paid for the day. A lot of us do it because we like to.

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By bambi (Guest Post)
November 20, 20080 found this helpful

I found some templates at a craft site they were hard like cardboard, but were made of some type of white paper bound together and you then put your own scent on them. I just wish I could remember where it was I ordered from.

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May 18, 20090 found this helpful

I simply take a fabric softener sheet and attach it to a vent in the car. My car always stays fresh smelling! Even my trucker husband does the same thing in his truck!

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May 21, 20091 found this helpful

Scented Gel Air Fresheners

What You Need:
2 c distilled water
Essential oil/fragrance
4 pkg unflavored gelatin
Empty jar(s)
Food coloring (optional)

Here's How:

Heat 1 cup of distilled water to boiling.
Stir in 4 packages of unflavored gelatin (e.g., Knox) until dissolved.
Remove the mixture from heat and stir in the other 1 cup water.
Add 10-20 drops of essential oil or other concentrated fragrance.
If desired, add food coloring to tint your gel.

You may also wish to add a mold inhibitor, such as 1-2 T salt
OR a small amount of potassium sorbate
OR a splash of vodka.

Pour the gel into clean baby food jars or other small, decorative containers.
The gel will set at room temperature, although you can place the air fresheners in
the refrigerator for a quick set (and scented fridge).

Decorate your jars as desired and enjoy!


This project requires heat, so adult supervision is required.

Feel free to scale the recipe up or down to make the amount of gel you need
(e.g., 1 cup water to 2 pkg gelatin).

If you wish, you can (carefully) dissolve gelatin in concentrated liquid potpourri
(no other ingredients needed) to make your air fresheners. Use a ratio of 1 cup liquid to
2 packages gelatin.

You can make multicolored gels by pouring a new color over one which has already
set up (like making a layered gelatin dessert).

You can get cute jars for about $0.44 at Wal-Mart in the craft department.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
January 18, 20100 found this helpful

I have found the true recipe for air freshener you were talking about!

Here is the link at which I found it:
http://www.ehow  r-freshener.html

Here is the recipe:
By: Fleur Forsythe
Making your own aroma beads air freshener is an easy and inexpensive craft project with many creative possibilities. Aroma beads air fresheners, which you can make in a variety of colors and fragrances, make lovely gifts or party favors, especially when presented in decorative glass containers, paired with fabric sachets, or molded into shapes. You can even sell them at craft fairs or fundraisers.

1. You can find the materials to make aroma beads air freshers any store that sells candle- and soap-making supplies as well as online. To make the aroma beads, buy clear plastic unscented aroma beads made especially for this purpose, also known as luminettes. The beads are designed to absorb fragrance oils and colored dyes---other kinds of plastic beads will not work. Purchase concentrated liquid candle dye to color your beads. Do not substitute food coloring or other dyes, such as fabric dye. You'll also need to pick up the fragrance oil---the kind used for candles or essential oil. Other supplies you might already have on hand include a covered glass or plastic container (large enough to hold a batch of beads), cookie cutters, and a cookie sheet, if you want to mold the beads into shapes.
Making the Beads

2. Reserve 2 to 3 tablespoons of fragrance oil for 1 cup of beads. This proportion is a good starting point; however, some oils (particularly essential oils) are more absorbent than others. Place the colored oil in your covered container and add a tiny drop of colored dye to the fragrance oil. You can use a toothpick dipped in the dye to retrieve the tiniest drop. Agitate the container to blend in the color. Add more color, in small increments, if you want a deeper shade. For clear beads, leave out the dye. Carefully pour the beads into the container. Cover and shake the container so that all of the beads are completely coated with oil. It will take between one and three days for the beads to absorb the oil. If you think you've used too much oil, add more beads. During the oil-absorption process, occasionally shake the container to keep the oil evenly distributed. The beads are finished when they are completely dry.
Molding Shapes

3. Mold the aroma beads into decorative shapes, such as animals, flowers, hearts, or holiday designs. Do this by placing cookie cutters on top of a cookie sheet and filling the cookie cutters with the beads. Bake the beads in a 200° oven for about 45 minutes. Make sure the beads are completely cool before removing them from the cookie cutters. Make these designs into hanging air fresheners by drilling a hole through the shape and attaching a decorative ribbon.

4. Keep aroma beads air fresheners away from children and pets. Aroma beads may also stain wood as well as painted or plastic surfaces. Keep aroma beads away from heat, as they can melt if exposed to temperatures as low as 150°. As with any craft project, don't use the same kitchen utensils for making aroma beads as you do for food preparation.

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February 17, 20100 found this helpful

I have been wondering myself how to make these. Instead of pouring them into a jar to you just pour them into a cookie cutter? I don't live in the town anymore where they are popular but a small little town and I stay at home now and would like to make these for fun and to sell.

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May 12, 20050 found this helpful

I am looking for a recipe to make car airfresheners, they look like a gel, but they are hard but flexable. It is shaped like a foot and hangs on a string. If any one has a recipe for these I would really love to have one.

Linda from Danville


May 30, 20050 found this helpful

I found this on another website. Haven't tried it, but it seems like you could use cookie cutters to make the shapes you want. I don't know how the gelatin will hold up in a car. White glue is also flexible when it dries. I'm not sure how you could make that work, but maybe it will get your creative juices flowing.


The "Smelly Jelly" Answer

I have a recipe that my daughter gave me. They are inexpensive and fun to make. The name on the recipe was called Gel Air Freshener, but we changed the name to "Smelly Jelly."

Smelly Jelly

2 cups Concentrated Potpourri Liquid
4 envelops Knox gelatin
1 tablespoon salt (to deter molding)

Heat 1 cup potpourri until almost boiling. Remove from heat. Add 4 envelopes Knox Gelatin and 1 tablespoon salt. Stir until dissolved. Add remaining 1 cup potpourri. Pour into clean jars and allow to set. If in a hurry, lightly cover and refrigerate them to speed the process.

I add food coloring if I don't like the color. This can be put in a vase, and as it starts to set, place artificial flowers in the vase. The flowers seem to be real because they have a smell.

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By Quen (Guest Post)
January 18, 20060 found this helpful

What kind of molds do you use if you want to hang them in the car?

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April 8, 20060 found this helpful

you can buy the beads at or
just add scent and color an lay out on a cookie sheet use a lollipop stick to make the hole an voila .. all done depending on the size of the cookie sheet and cutter you can make up to 25 in 10 minutes

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November 8, 20070 found this helpful

Does the Smelly Jelly will make the cooler of the car air condition look like in the picture attached?

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By Ralph Bell (Guest Post)
April 8, 20080 found this helpful

What tpye of paper do they use for Car Air Fresheners that you hang on your rear-view mirror, and where can I buy it?

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March 29, 20150 found this helpful

How do I make a wax gel freshener for the car?

By Virenn


December 7, 20170 found this helpful

-20 drops of your favorite essential oil(s)
-2 tbsp. salt
-Liquid food coloring
-4 packets of plain, unflavored gelatin
-Empty glass food jars (baby food is best for cars(with screw-on lids


1. Bring 1 cup water to boil in a small sauce pan over high heat.

2. Once it boils, remove from heat and slowly stir in essential oils, salt, and liquid food coloring (if using). (The salt helps prevent or slow molding.)

3. Keep stirring while carefully sprinkling the gelatin into the hot water. Once dissolved, slowly stir in 1 cup of cold water. (Do not stir this too quickly or it will foam up and create a cloudy gel.)

4. Place jars on a towel-covered countertop or cutting board, and carefully pour the gelatin mixture into each jar. Move to a place where they wont be bumped, and let sit for 2 to 3 days to set up. Theywill smell very strong during this process, but do not worry: the fragrance will mellow out once youve got the lids on.

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Read More Answers

November 20, 20110 found this helpful

Can someone tell me how to make car perfume?

By Mahendra


November 22, 20110 found this helpful

I take a dryer sheet and poke it through my vent. One sheet will scent most cars. If you want it to look nice you can either make or buy a small container. I made one using plastic canvas. I've also seen some pretty tea balls that would work too. Or a small sachet.

Just clip it to the vent and within minutes your car will be smelling nice and fresh. And there are so many different scents available for the dryer you have a large variety to choose from.

My husband is a long haul trucker, and those trucks can get to smelling pretty bad sometimes, even though they try to keep them clean. But my husband keeps a box of dryer sheets in the truck (he keeps them in a ziplock bag to keep them fresh) and clips a fresh one to the vent once or twice a week. One box lasts him an average of 6 months. His truck smells so nice, other truckers he's met have begun using the same method. The trucking world is beginning to smell a lot nicer!

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December 9, 20110 found this helpful

I like to take a cotton ball and saturate it with real vanilla extract. Subtle yet smells nice. And if you leave the windows closed, the smell permeates throughout the car.

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September 16, 2010

I need to know where to buy cardboard paper, or whatever it is, to make car fresheners. I don't mean the aroma beads. It looks like some sort of fiber paper, and I also need the directions to make them.

By margaret from Tyler, TX


September 16, 20100 found this helpful

Hi, I'm not sure if your old enough to remember "ink blotters", but that's what I think it's like. Either a craft store or office supply store should have it.

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November 22, 20110 found this helpful

Put a few drops of vanilla extract or pure vanilla on a cotton ball and place it under the seat of your car. Smells wonderful.

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By 0 found this helpful
December 13, 2013

I am looking for plastic containers that I can place my scented gel into, that I make for candles and air fresheners, and be able to put them in the car as well. I would like to have something that would clip to the vents for maximum circulation! Any suggestions?

By Jayne H.

Answer this Question...

April 17, 2019

A great way to reuse your prescription bottles is as a car air freshener. You can drill holes in the lid and put some scented oil on cotton balls inside it. This is a page about prescription bottle auto air freshener.

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June 30, 2017

Make your own car air freshener from a sponge. This is a page about sponge car air freshener.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

May 7, 20080 found this helpful

Poke holes in the top of an empty mint tin, fill it with potpourri or cotton balls with potpourri oil and put it under your car seat to use as an air freshener.

Source: My own idea

By Mom of 1 from Wilkesboro, NC


Make Your Own Car Air Freshener

That's a good idea! I cut the toe out of an old pair of nylons and filled it with coffee beans/grounds (and tied a knot in the end after filling) to make an air freshener a few weeks ago. I have it placed right under the vent-- it smells so yummy! (02/21/2008)

By Michele

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February 21, 20080 found this helpful

I purchased a homemade car air freshener at a craft show and am wondering if anyone has the recipe. It was semi-hard, but looked like it was made from some kind of gel, hanging on a string, and cut with a cookie cutter.



Make Your Own Car Air Freshener

Hi April. I'm not sure if this is exactly what you are looking for, but it is similar. Perhaps instead of pouring gel mix into jars you could pour it into a lined baking tray and cut out with cookie cutters once hardened. I got the recipe from real food 4 real people ezine.

Room Fragrance Gel Jars

  • 1 16 oz. bottle liquid potpourri in the fragrance of your choice
  • 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin (there are 4 envelopes in 1 pkg. Knox
  • gelatin)
  • 2 Tbls. Salt
  • Small jars of your choice ( 1/2 pint Mason jars or baby food jars work well).

Wash jars (in a dishwasher if possible) before using them. Heat some water to boiling and pour into jars to scald them. Carefully empty the water out and allow jars to dry. (This step, as well as the salt, keeps the gel from developing mold). Pour 8 oz potpourri into a pan and bring to full boil. Stir in 2 Tbls. salt. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin. Stir for at least two minutes until gelatin is completely dissolved. You must stir for two or more minutes. You will think gelatin is dissolved before this, but trust me, it is not. Stir in remaining liquid potpourri. Stir really well. Carefully pour the mixture into your clean jars. Loosely cap the jars and put aside in a cool place to gel. They should gel overnight in a cool place. You could put in refrigerator, but not really necessary. For the tops of the jars, cut lace or thin fabric two inches larger in diameter than the top of the jar. When mixture has gelled, put metal lid on jar, cover with lace or fabric, secure with a rubber band, screw jar ring on. Attach label and bow if desired. To use, remove jar ring and fabric. Place metal lid aside, replace fabric and jar ring and enjoy. Enjoy many hours of fragrance in your house or in your car. (04/21/2004)

By Sue (Cape Town, South Africa)

Make Your Own Car Air Freshener

place your favorite fabric softener dryer sheets under the seats of your car - the smell lasts for days!!! (03/01/2006)

By kelly

Make Your Own Car Air Freshener

The place you are looking for is The have what they call aroma beads that they scent, dye, and pour into a cookie cutter and bake. It looks like gel but it is hard. I have never made them but they sound fun. Hope this helps. (10/31/2006)

By Tina

Make Your Own Car Air Freshener

Fragrance oil in tap water put on carpet. ( (09/11/2007)

By Chase

Make Your Own Car Air Freshener

Car Potpourri
  • 4 oz Celluse Fiber
  • Essential Oil or Fragrance oil scent to your liking.
  • 3x5 cloth bag.

Mix celluse fiber and scent pour into bag. (10/30/2007)

By Fresh

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February 21, 20080 found this helpful

I am allergic to a lot, and with my pregnancy, smells drive me crazy-- even ones that make life a bit more pleasant; like air fresheners in cars, which I don't normally smell but are needed due to occasional trips with the dog. My husband filled a tightly woven bouquet garni bag with baking soda and hung it from the rearview mirror. I am not overwhelmed with smell now, and the baking soda keeps things fresh!



Make your own car air freshener

You can also place a dryer sheet in the car for an instant air freshener...or in a windowsill in the house, or on a heat vent, for that matter! Clip one to the front of a fan and turn it on for quick room freshening! (06/14/2002)

By julie_gustafson

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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