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Activity #2: Make Your Own Perfume

People have been making and using perfume throughout history. As far back as ancient Egypt, fine-smelling plants, flowers and oils have been used to freshen clothing, homes and bodies. Archaeologists (historians who study found objects) have discovered perfume bottles dating from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.

Perfume making flourished in Italy beginning in the 1400’s, and perfumes were very popular in England by the 1500’s. Perfumes were luxuries that were available only to those who could afford them. Wearing perfume showed that a person had money.

People did not often bathe in a tub in Tudor England because the available water was not clean. Perfume was a way to keep clothing and people smelling fresh. The Tudors wore pomanders (small metal balls on chains) around their waists that contained good-smelling substances. The one in the photo above belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots! Many of these scents were expensive to buy. Inexpensive options were spices, flower petals and herbs. Of these, rosewater was widely used.

Gather your supplies for Day 3, Activity #2 and make your own scent to wear! You will need some food coloring from home for this project and one or two citrus fruits (orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit).


1. Choose and pick some nice-smelling herbs and flowers from your garden. Tear or cut these up and place them in the bottom of the short plastic jar.

2. Choose a citrus fruit to use in your perfume. Chop a slice into small pieces and add these to your jar.

3. Fill your jar with ¼ cup clear water. *You can add a drop or two of essential oil if you have some.

4. Add a drop of food coloring to your jar.

5. Add glitter to your jar.

6. Cover your jar, shake it up a bit, and let it sit undisturbed for 30 minutes.

7. Using the funnel, slowly pour your perfume into the tall thin bottle. This will separate out all of the large pieces of plants and fruit. * You may need someone to help you hold the funnel and bottle steady. Make sure to pour slowly and dump any plant matter out of the funnel if it gets too full. When you are finished, put the cork in the bottle.

8. Think of a name for your perfume. Add a fun label to your bottle with the name of the perfume.

9. Enjoy the scent of your perfume, and put a dab or two on your wrists and behind your ears!

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