DIY Essential Oil Diffuser

When my sister and I ran an herbal gift shop we sold a lot of essential oils, items made with essential oils, and accessories to go with essential oils. One, was a pretty ceramic diffuser, that you heated water with a few drops of the essential oil(s), simply from a tea light below. So, recently when I was decorating terracotta pots I got the idea to create a diffuser using a flower-pot. This diy essential oil diffuser was pretty easy to make, and I’ll show you how.

DIY Essential Oil Diffuser

This DIY essential oil diffuser is easy to make and costs little to make.

If you are familiar with essential oils then you know that their natural fragrance is beyond compare. In addition, many people believe that they have great healing properties. I am not a medical professional however, and would not begin to claim any medicinal benefits, but I do love the way they smell.

materials ~DIY Terracotta Diffuser ~

All you need is a terracotta pot and a saucer that fits on the top, a tealight, and a Dremmel tool

Sketch Opening ~ DIY Terracotta Diffuser ~

The key to getting the diffuser to work is to cut a hole in the side, to let oxygen in, so that tealight stays lit. I did a little research and found some people using hole saws and others using a Dremmel tool. After watching this video from Dremmel, I decided to give it a try.

First cut with dremmel ~ DIY Terracotta Diffuser ~

I did soak the pot in water for about 30 minutes as suggested in the video. On the second one I tried cutting it without soaking, and it took much longer to drill. As you can see, the first pass pretty ragged.

Finished Diffusers ~ DIY Terracotta Diffuser ~

I went back and tried different speeds and worked on smoothing the opening the best I could. I also used a little bit of coarse sand paper to sand the edges. No perfect, but I think this is something that requires a little practice. Still, I was happy with the results.

Terra Cotta Diffusers ~ DIY Essential Oil Diffuser ~

And yes, they did work. I decided to paint one of them. I used some varnish on the top to protect the paint. Within minutes I could smell bergamot, my favorite oil , drifting throughout the room.

This diy essential oil diffuser is easy to make. For a few dollars you can have your home smelling sweet with the power of essential oils.

About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Hearth and Vine, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. Hello!
    Did you use a sealer on the part where tge oil goes?

    • Hi Sue,

      I did put a sealer on the painted one but I do not think it is necessary for the natural one. First of all you will be filling it with water first. Then you add a few drops of essential oil on top of the water. When the water starts to get warm it will diffuse the essential oils into the air.
      Hope that helps,

  2. Love this. Could you tell me if you uses just the essential oil or do you add water and if so how much?
    Thank you

    • Hi Jennifer,
      I fill the saucer with water. Fill it as much as you feel comfortable without having spill over the side.
      Then add a few drops of essential oils. Anywhere from 5-10 drops. You can experiment on what works for you.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  3. Hannah Sova says:

    I was told that essential oils and water don’t work well together. Would it be better to use something like almond oil instead of water?

    • Hi Hannah,
      The essential oils sit on top of the water and the candle heats the water which allows the essential oils to diffuse through the air. I’m not expert but when my sister and I owned an herbal gift shop we sold similar clay vessels an the were meant for water with essential oils. I don’t know if oil would work and haven’t tried it. I think oil is better for blending in perfumes and other cosmetics.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  4. tina miller says:

    What kind of sealer did you use?

    • Hi Tina,

      I did not use a sealer. I guess you could use one for the pot itself but I didn’t want to use one on the top because I didn’t want it to possibly interfere with the oils.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  5. Kontogouris Nick says:

    I think you NEED to drill a hole on the other side big enough to create airflow. As it is now the candle will not stay lit for long.

    • Hi Nick,

      That’s an interesting observation. Did you try it, because this design works for me and I based it off the product we used to sell in the store. That being said I appreciate your input and maybe some readers would want to try that option.
      Have a great week,

  6. Did you use a non toxic paint? I have MCs, so would likely leave mine unpainted to avoid the release of chemicals and toxins from the heat. Does the EO sink into the Terra cotta? Do you label them with scent names to keep the fragrance true?

    • Hi Mary,

      I just used regular craft paint, but you could certainly leave them unpainted.. I’m pretty sure that the essential oils burn up in the water way before they get a chance to sink in to the terra cotta. I use the same diffuser for different essential oils. Again, I believe they burn up with the water so I don’t think there is a concern about mixing.

      Hope that helps,

  7. Hello! I hope you see this even though it’s been a month since your last reply!
    I love this idea and it can match my home’s aesthetic.
    I have to use homemade wax melts instead of essential oils because I am allergic. Do you think this would work with pieces of wax melts?

    • Hi Clarissa,

      I have never tried wax. In theory it should work. The biggest issue I could see would be having the wax stick to the base. Maybe you could try a glossy sealer on the top to prevent sticking. Let me know how it turns out.

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