I have recently been doing a lot of cleaning and de-cluttering, and I made some new herbal sachets, so thought I would share my recipe for lavender and other herbal sachets.
Lavender is one of my favorite herbs, and lavender sachets are among my favorite sachets to make. Lavender sachets not only smell wonderful but they have so many different uses! Use them to scent, freshen, and decorate a room; they are beautiful to look at and impart a fresh fragrance. I like using them for clothing storage; they gently scent clothes and also help repel bugs. Lavender is also a very calming scent. When I am stressed or having trouble sleeping, I sometimes use lavender to alleviate stress and to help me sleep (place a sachet near your pillow or keep one near you when you are working). They make great car fresheners (make sure they are hung up, and not touching the dashboard or your car seats).
To make lavender sachets you will need:
-a small bag or pouch, OR a piece of cloth and ribbon, string, or yarn
-dried lavender flowers
-lavender essential oil (optional)
You can make sachets in a couple different ways: you can sew your own sachet bag or you can make a sachet without sewing. If you didn’t want to make the bag, then you can buy bags or pouches.
To make a very simple sachet from scratch (sewing method):
First make the bag: cut a rectangular piece of cloth (it can be any size, depending on how small or big you want the sachet. You can make some very tiny sachets using this method. I like using cloth made from cotton to make them, but you could use a variety of other materials too). Fold the cloth in half (make sure the pattern or front of the fabric is facing in, so it should be wrong side out). Pin the two long sides and then sew them up (leave the top of the bag alone; do not sew the top of the bag). Remove the pins and flip the bag, so that it is right side out (so now the pattern or front of the fabric is on the outside of the bag).
Fill the bag with lavender flowers and add one to a few drops of lavender essential oil if desired. Tie the top closed with a piece of ribbon, string, or yarn.
To make a more complex drawstring sachet from scratch (sewing method):
First make the bag: cut a rectangular piece of cloth (you can make small to large bags using this method. For very tiny sachets it is better to use the method above). Fold the cloth in half (make sure the pattern or front of the fabric is facing in, so it should be wrong side out). Pin the two long sides and then sew the sides up; sew the two long sides up almost to the top of the sachet (leave maybe a few cm to an inch or two un-sewn, depending on the size of the bag). Remove the pins from the sides of the bag. Fold the top edge of the bag down, pin it and sew the bottom of the edge. Then do the same with the other top edge. Remove the pins. Flip the bag, so that it is right side out (so now the pattern or front of the fabric is on the outside of the bag). Thread a piece of ribbon through the top of the bag (some people like to use two ribbons threaded in the opposite direction, and others prefer using just one ribbon).
Fill the bag with lavender flowers and add one to a few drops of the essential oil. Pull the drawstrings closed.
To make a very simple bag (no sewing required method):
Cut a square piece of cloth (any size, depending on how big you want the sachet). In the middle of the piece of cloth add a small amount of lavender flowers and one to a few drops of essential oil. Gather the edges of the cloth together and tie it closed with a piece of ribbon.
If you prefer to buy bags, then you can find small pouches or bags in local craft stores or online. Organza bags work well; they are translucent and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns and make very beautiful sachets. Many people also like using muslin bags too. Just fill with lavender and add lavender essential oil, and pull the drawstrings closed.
Depending on the size of the sachets use anywhere from 1 to 8 drops of essential oil. Refresh the herbs every couple weeks with essential oil, if needed. Replace the herbs when they loose their fragrance. Usually I replace the herbs every few months. Don’t forget to compose the herbs when done!
If you don’t have lavender, you can make sachets with many other different herbs. Cedar chips work well (and will also repel bugs). Although, you can make sachets with a wide variety of herbs, keep in mind that some herbs will repel bugs and some won’t. Herbal sachets can be made with different essential oils too (please keep in mind that some essential oils like german chamomile, which is a dark blue color, may stain the fabric. If you want to use chamomile essential oil, be sure to use roman chamomile essential oil instead, which won't stain). One of my favorite herbal sachets is lavender flowers with lavender essential oil and cedar wood essential oil. I also like chamomile flowers with lavender essential oil, and also peppermint with peppermint essential oil or spearmint essential oil.
Where to buy herbs and essential oils:
In addition to growing your own herbs (in a garden or in pots), you can find them in local herb shops, plant stores, and on the internet. Another good place to buy herbs is your local supermarket. Most supermarkets have a spice aisle (some stores sell lavender flowers as a spice) and a tea aisle (most stores sell chamomile or peppermint tea, and some brands may sell herbal blends with lavender in them). Herbs can sometimes be found in the bulk foods aisle too. Look for colorful herbs that aren’t brownish, and buy from companies whose herbs are fragrant. If you are buying herbal teas, I suggest buying ‘loose’ teas in a tin rather than bagged teas (bagged teas can work in a pinch but they are often chopped up finer so they oxidize faster, and they may not be as high quality as whole herbs or herbs that are cut in bigger pieces). I suggest buying from a store that has a fast turn over rate (that sells a lot of tea, spices, etc, and that restocks often) to ensure you are getting the freshest dried herbs possible.
Some essential oils can be found in health food stores (the quality of essential oils found in health food stores usually range from poor to okay to good, so be sure to smell the testers before buying). Personally I’ve found many online aromatherapy companies and essential oil vendors to have higher quality essential oils. Many anb mall vendors sell essential oils and herbs, including Earth Alkemie (my aromatherapy and herbal all natural skin care company).
Please keep the sachets out of reach of children or pets. Research herbs and essential oils well before use.
How are herbal sachets eco-friendly?:
They can replace many potentially toxic products or ingredients (like certain air fresheners or bug repellents), and they do not endanger your health or the environment.
The herbs can be composed after use. The bags and ribbon can be reused over and over again (so less waste).
If you use organic or ethically wild harvested plants or materials, then you are helping support sustainability.
Please visit Earth Alkemie: my all natural, eco-friendly, vegetarian skin care and mineral makeup line.
About The Author:
Li Wong has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. She has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001, and is currently a student of Jeanne Rose’s Aromatherapy Studies Course. Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception. She is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and mineral makeup company.
For more information on environmental issues, Eco Living, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and herbalism check out: Solarkat’s Eco Blog. http://solarkatecoblogspot.com