This tutorial is an excerpt from our December issue of AromaCulture Magazine. To purchase the full issue, CLICK HERE.
Clay acts as a natural diffuser for essential oils, making it a wonderful canvas for creative aromatherapy projects. I often make fresh batches of clay charms like these to use in my car, around the house, or to give as gifts.
Tip: The trick to using these charms as diffusers for your essential oils is to leave the back of each one unpainted. The essential oils have to be applied to a blank surface and will ruin the painted front of your charm. So...paint the front; apply the essential oils to the back.
- self-hardening clay (I’ve used this one and this one with success.)
- clay carving tools (I used these ones for this project.)
- a sprig mold (I used this one.)
- acrylic paint
- paint brushes or a paint sponge
- jute, hemp twine, or copper wire
To make your diffuser charms, start by kneading a piece of clay for about a minute. Once you feel like it’s workable, press it firmly into your sprig mold.
Use a rolling pin or something with a smooth surface to make sure that the back side of your leaf (the side that is facing you, outside the mold) is reasonably flat so you will have an even finished piece.
Remove your clay from the mold.
Use your clay carving tools to cut away the extra clay from the leaf. Go slowly to preserve the integrity of the mold’s design. Use an awl (included in the carving tools set I linked to earlier) to make a hole you can use to string your hanging thread through later.
Allow the clay to air dry overnight (or until thoroughlydry and hardened) on a flat surface.
Using a paint sponge or brush, start layering your acrylic paints onto your leaf. I chose to use natural colors for these pieces, but you could also use more playful, abstract colors. Lay down lighter colors first and build up to the darker colors to give your leaf dimension.
Let your finished piece air dry again until the paint is completely dry.
Now you can attach your string or wire! If you choose to use wire, you’ll want to be extra careful while adding it to your piece - it can cause the clay to break if too much pressure is applied. 20 gauge wire works fairly well if you prefer to use wire, though I do recommend using thin jute or hemp twine. It’s much more gentle on the clay piece and can easily be adjusted if you want to change the length at which you hang your piece.
To use your charm, add a drop off essential oil to the back of the finished piece.
Diffuser charms can also be made to nestle in a pretty dish or bowl instead of being made to hang from something. If this is your preference, skip the hole-drilling step. Leave a tray of charms in the bathroom or a clothes closet to scent smaller spaces where you don’t keep a diffuser. Enjoy!