Tutorial + How-to Best of Crafting Green

Published on October 8th, 2012 | by Julie Finn


How to Make a Car Air Freshener from Felt and Essential Oils

How To Make A Car Air Freshener

Like the look (and smell!) of those cute hanging car air fresheners? Here’s how to make a car air freshener, one that has no toxic ingredients, that can be any shape and color that you want, and that emits your absolute favorite scent for your driving pleasure.

How To Make A Car Air Freshener

The secret to this project is wool felt. Wool felt is a little thicker and stiffer than recycled plastic felt, which means that it will hold a simple shape well without curling when it’s hung. Wool felt also comes in a ton of amazing colors, so you’ll have a LOT of options for your air freshener.

How to Make a Car Air Freshener from Felt and Essential Oils

1. Cut it out! Cut out a simple shape, about 4″ tall, from wool felt. I used my Cricut to cut out a basic tree shape (but not THAT tree shape!) from paper, and then used that as a template to cut the same shape from felt.

2. Make it smelly! Drop several drops of your favorite combination of essential oils right onto the wool shape. Essential oils are a natural source of scent, and you can always benefit from aromatherapy in your car–for instance, I always include peppermint essential oil in my mix of scents, both because I find it a comforting scent and because it helps keep me awake on long drives. You’ll want the scent to be too strong at first, because much of that will evaporate very quickly, so don’t be afraid to have a heavy hand with the oils.

You’ll also notice as you apply the oils that you can see them on the surface of the shape. Just set the wool shape aside for about a day, and the oils will soak into the middle of that nice, thick wool; you’ll no longer be able to see them on the surface, but if you press on the shape where you applied the oils, you’ll find that you still get a little oil on your finger. That’s the secret to how the air freshener is going to stay active for several weeks!

How To Make A Car Air Freshener3. Hang it up! Using a small hole punch, punch a hole for hanging near the top of your shape. Thread a piece of twine through the hole and tie it into a loop; your car air freshener is now ready to hang. Don’t hang it on your rear view mirror, though, because I want you to be able to see to drive without something dangling in your face; a good place to hang a car air freshener is on one of the hooks in the back seat, those ones where you can also hang your dry cleaning.

The bad news is that the scent of your car air freshener will die down over time, of course, although you can expect it to last for several weeks. But the good news is that when the scent does expire, you can replace it with an all new scent combination!

My favorite combination of essential oil scents for my car is peppermint and rosemary, although my older daughter prefers vanilla and citrus on her own kid-made air freshener, which hangs right above her seat. What essential oil scents would YOU choose?

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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

25 Responses to How to Make a Car Air Freshener from Felt and Essential Oils

  1. So clever! Why settle for just a tree when you can make anything? On my to-do list now 🙂

  2. Mandi says:

    I just made one with Balance for my husband’s work truck, one with On Guard for my truck, and I’m trying to decide what to put on one for my dad’s work truck. Mine is a star and I just cut circles out for the guys. Thank you for the idea!

  3. Me says:

    An angel shape with tangerine and ylang ylang

  4. Robin says:

    Loving your ideas, but wondering where to get wool felt Toronto, Ontario CANADA

    Please advise,

    • Julie Finn says:

      The big-box crafts store in my town now actually stocks wool felt, although not in all the colors that I like. I buy a large amount online of wool felt at one time, so that I don’t have to do it often. I usually buy from Weir Crafts (http://weirdollsandcrafts.com/), although I browse around online first, and I’m not opposed to switching vendors if a different one is having a sale.

  5. Kelly says:

    I made a flower shape and used peppermint and lavender. Yum! I also made one for a co-worker who keeps it on the wall next to her so she can smell it at any time. Helps combat the miscellaneous office smells (kitchen, bathrooms, etc.) that waft her way.

  6. N. says:

    Can you reuse the felt shape? Wash it or just add more essential oil or can you only use it once?

  7. Darla says:

    How would you package these that you can wrap as gifts to hold for scents. I thought of making some to sell for crafts shows and what kind of pricing would you do also.

    • I was wondering the same thing but then I thought I would not apply the scents until the time of purchase. I plan on trying this as a fundraising project for my kiddo’s school. Not sure about the packing yet. I may up-cycle something or order gift bags from India.

    • Mare says:

      Maybe a stronger grade zip bag….like a freezer bag. That might do the trick!

  8. Michelle Patterson says:

    What are some good oils to use for scent? #oils4everyone

  9. Pingback: How To Make DIY Car Air Fresheners With Essential Oils

  10. I use to make scarves out of wool sweaters that I “felted”. Would this work for the Air Freshners?

    • Julie Finn says:

      Felted wool sweaters are the same substance as wool felt, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work just fine. I know that felted wool tends to be thicker than wool felt, but I can’t imagine that causing any difficulties for the project.

  11. Pingback: 50 DIY Ideas for Natural and Green Cleaning | Care2 Healthy Living

  12. Hmm, I don’t have any wool felt, but I do have wool yarn. Wonder if I could knit a small shape and use it??

    • Julie Finn says:

      I feel like you totally could! I think you should knit a little 3D shape, though, rather than a flat one, because I *think* a flat shape would curl. Or perhaps not? Let me know if you try it!

  13. shara says:

    very nice project for making little additions to name tags on Christmas gifts with a little oil in a Christmas scent. Thinking about felting bows for the same purpose, add scent and glitter.What do you think? Would that work?

  14. Dianne F says:

    Could you knit a tree out of wool yarn instead?

    • Julie Finn says:

      I don’t see why not–that sounds really cute! The only thing I could think of that might affect the results is the fact that wool felt is so dense; I suspect that’s what allows it to hold the essential oil for a long time without the scent evaporating. If you found that a knitted tree didn’t hold scent, you could try felting it.

  15. Amy H. says:

    Could you use coaster board as well?

  16. Sharon says:

    I don’t like using animal products. What can I use instead of wool felt?

    • Julie Finn says:

      I bet you could sandwich cotton batting in between two layers of quilting cotton. You’d need to serge the edges or just decide that you like them to look a little frayed, but the cotton batting should work the same way wool felt would to allow the essential oil to dissipate slowly.

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