We have a decent-sized house — not too big, not too small — so you’d think I’d be able to find a place in a home to set up a mad scientist’s laboratory, no? You can’t be a home perfumer if you’re not doing it in your home, right?
But here’s the thing about home perfuming. If you’re doing it as a hobby, or even as an escape at the end of the day, after the hours of making puzzles, baking banana bread, prepping dinner, trips to the park, all of the fun of the afternoons, you’re going to need a space to spread out. I thought about trying this on my kitchen counter, but the idea of being able to look at all of the perfuming ingredients and materials while I went about the business of tending my children throughout the day just about broke my heart.
So I’ve been thinking long and hard about where I might set up shop inside of our house, a room where I could be able to drop the perfuming in an instant and return to it when I am ready and able. I could make a statement about needing A Room of One’s Own, but I’m pretty sure my husband might point to all of the other rooms I’ve co-opted already and remind me how he has pretty much been pushed into a lone bench in an overflowing garage.
I’ve finally settled on our laundry room as the place to set up my home perfume workshop. The laundry room has a lot of advantages. For one, it’s upstairs — not likely to get in the way of the real work I do here everyday in the kitchen. It has a great counter that I am not using at all. It has its own sink, which will soon cease to overflow with reusable Bum Geniuses. And since I’m going to be perfuming at night, when my children are sleeping and the washer and dryer are dormant, the chances of the room being flooded with the smell of laundry detergent are minimal.
Room of one’s own? Check.
In my quest to learn about home perfuming I will be working through Mandy Aftelier’s The Natural Perfume Workbook I, which has a handy list of items to order before you can jump into all of the sniffing and the mixing and the sifting and the inhaling. The list is helpful, but it doesn’t suggest where one might acquire some of these items, so I’m including links to the specific locations of the tools I’ve tracked down for my own studio.
Home Perfuming Supplies
In the name of transparency and information-sharing, I’m listing some of the items I’ve ordered, mostly from Amazon, to set up shop.
- Fragrance Testing Strips
I wasn’t sure where to go for this particular tool, so I found some strips made specifically for fragrance testing on Amazon. As I interact with more perfumers I plan to learn where others source their materials.
- 60 small bottles
These seem like a decent size for the experiments listed in the book.
God I love a good label.
- 2 lb. beeswax
This is, by all accounts, way more beeswax than you would need to make solid perfumes, but I got sucked in by the packaging.
- Bottle of Jojoba oil
As a follower of the Ayurvedic belief in self-massage, I have been Jojoba as a skin oil for a while now and picked this one to be the carrier oil for my essences.
- Lip gloss jars
Ms. Aftel’s book starts you out with solid perfumes (she says it’s easier to make a good solid perfume with fewer essences). So I’m starting with these simple plastic jars with the hope that within time I’ll find some suppliers that make a sexier little pot for my perfumes.
For selecting essences.
- Bamboo scoop
I’m not sure this is the right sized scoop — I’m looking for something that will hold about 5 drops of solid concretes — but I’ll find out when I get it.
- 2 10 mL beakers
Commence mad scientist mixing!
- Electric burner
If I’m going to be working in the laundry room, I’m going to have to have a hotplate there with me.
The grater will be to grate beeswax. I ordered one of the cheapest around, not thinking it important to have a super grater at this point. We’ll see if this works out for me.
Ms. Aftel recommends 190 proof undenatured alcohol
Stirring rods: Picked up a couple of simple wooden bamboo chopsticks at the local Goodwill
This, of course, doesn’t even include all of the essential oils I’m ordering. Check back in soon for my next post, which will be about what essential oils I’m starting out with and to see how I’m transforming this space into my little second-floor smell station!
Have you set up a space anywhere in your house for your hobby?