Once upon a time I married this handsome man who had several of those tree car air fresheners hanging from the rear view mirror in his car. I never understood why he had so many, especially because they had lost their smell, but boy I loved those little dangly trees because I could ALWAYS find his car in the parking lot by looking for them.
We’ve been married almost 7 years now and while he does have the same car, those little trees no longer hang from his mirror. I was thinking back to those first days of our marriage and came up with this idea for a non-toxic, DIY car freshener. Now I can once again find our lost car in the parking lot and I can change the scent using whatever essential oils I am feeling at the time. Kids going crazy? I’ll just add a couple drops of Peace & Calming. Getting drowsy behind the wheel? I think I’ll add a couple drops of Citrus Fresh. Stressed out because I’m running late? Stress Away to the rescue! You get the point. I’ve found that 3 – 4 drops will last for almost a whole day if it’s a “base” oil. If it’s an oil that evaporates quickly, it will probably only last a couple hours.
How to Make a Tree Car Air Freshener
Materials (*contains affiliate links)
- Terra Cotta Clay (I bought mine at Michaels with a 40% off coupon. You can also buy it on Amazon)
- Rolling Pin
- Wax Paper
- Tree shaped cookie cutter
- Something to poke a hole with (I used a stainless steel straw)
- Twine/ribbon/something to hang the tree with
- Essential oils of choice
Step 1: Cut a slice of clay and place it on wax paper (ignore my picture with the old plastic cutting board, that was not a good idea). Use a rolling pin to make a smooth slab. You want it to be about 1/4 inch thick. If it’s too thin, it will crack after hanging in your car for awhile.
Step 2: Using the cookie cutter, press firmly down into the clay and wiggle it back and forth a little bit to loosen the clay around the edges. Remove the excess clay.
***This is my keeping it real picture. The clay is really sticky and I didn’t have wax paper. First I tried a plastic cutting board and then a Silpat mat, but both did not work very well. It was very difficult to remove the excess clay. I even tried dusting the board with my trusty Redmond clay, but alas, nothing would work – so save yourself some trouble and use the wax paper.
Step 4: Carefully remove the tree using a flat spatula and place somewhere safe to dry. The thicker the clay, the longer it will take to dry out. Mine took 3 or 4 days to completely dry out. Don’t worry about any rough edges, they are much easier to sand off once the clay is dry than to try and smooth out while the clay is wet.
Step 6: Cut your ribbon or twine at a little more than twice the length that you want it to hang. Fold it in half and stick the folded edge into the hole. Take the loose ends and push through the folded end. Tie on your rear view mirror. ***You don’t want it to have a lot of hanging room. The longer your ribbon or twine is, the more swinging room the tree will have which could cause it to become a distraction or to break. Keep it pretty short and close to the mirror.
When you go to apply oil to your awesome DIY car freshener, you will want to hold the tree parallel to the ground, add your drops, and let them absorb before letting the tree go back to the hanging position. This ensures your precious drops of oil won’t roll right off your tree.
Some oils evaporate faster than other oils. For a list of oils and how long their scents last, check out this chart. The top notes evaporate the fastest and the base notes evaporate the slowest.
You will also want to avoid diffusing peppermint or eucalyptus in your car if you have a young baby.
What’s your favorite oil to diffuse? Are you excited for a non-toxic option to freshen your car?