There are various ways to create homemade potpourri and it's quite easy to do. I used two different methods to test it out, plus I wanted to use my new dehydrator, which I hardly use. Method #1: dehydrator, and method #2: microwave.
A third method would be to air dry your ingredients, laying them flat on a surface. I was in a climate that had more humidity then normal in the air, so using my dehydrator saved time.
Decisions, Decisions: fragrance and ingredients:
You can use a plethora of items in your potpourri bowl: flower buds and rose and tulip petals, herbs (mint leaves, rosemary, basil, etc.), dry wood chips, nut shells, bark, pine cones, amongst other things. I used all of these, in addition to cinnamon bark/sticks, dried lemon peel, and dried berries, etc.
1 l Dried roses/tulips/flower petals
Large bowl or plastic bag
125 g - 150 g cinnamon bark (cut), and/or dried fruit
1 Lg. spoon
2 tbsp. Orris root powder or whole dried cloves
1-2 Essential oil(s)
Dried wood chips (optional)
Decorative pieces for embellishing (optional)
1. After gently plucking your rose petals from the stems, disperse them out on a paper cloth, (you may also use a mesh screen). I used both: a screen, and a paper cloth to test out, and they both worked well, although the mesh probably works better for the air drying method. *Air drying usually will take a couple of days.
2A. Microwave Method: Follow step one with laying your plucked petals out on a paper cloth or towel lined plate that's microwave safe. Make sure that the petals are single-layered and not touching each other.
2B. With another paper towel cover the petals. Now, place another plate on top, and lay it in the microwave. Heat on high for about 30-40 seconds, or until the petals are completely dried. Be careful not to burn them. You still want to retain some of the colour in the rose petals.
2C. When the petals have been in long enough they should be dry, not damp at all, and not too crispy. *I used a mix of both dried and some crisp petals, because I was crushing other petals for an additional project.
2D. Remove petals from the microwave and place on a flat surface to rest momentarily. Now, in a large bowl begin pouring in the dried petals/herbs.
2E. Skip to #7
3. Dehydrator Method: set it at 35 C-38 C / 95 F-100 F.
4. Lay your roses, and herbs in the dehydrator trays.
5. Put the trays together and close the lid/clamp down. Petals will be done when brittle and dry.
6. Remove petals from the trays and mix them with all of the other dried petals/herbs in a large bowl.
7. Add your essential oils or other scented fragrance to bring your potpourri to life. To do this, fill a spoon with the orris root powder and add your oils to the spoon. Then, either blend it together in the bowl, slowing stirring in the powder/oil mix together or in a plastic bag to shake the dried flowers with the rest of potpourri ingredients. You can add extra drops if needed until you're pleased with the smell. Let potpourri rest a few hours to seep.
Storage: Place the contents in a stainless steel tin, glass container, or a tin with a closed lid, one that will be out of the sunlight.
Adding Fragrance: I made two very large batches for each, so I used about 15 drops of essential oils total in each batch. I made a cinnamon-orange concoction, and a rose-lavender bowl. For small sachets I created a mix of thyme, lemon, and bergamot, and then a mint-rose version.
Fixatives: I used a mix of fixatives: orris root, cloves, and Frankincense, because I made sachets (w/powder) and container kept potpourri (w/non-powder fixative). In a sachet, the powder won't show, but in a visual display, you may want to opt for cinnamon bark, nutmeg, or even sandalwood oil. Myrrh, and dried lavender can also be used as a fixative.
Choose wisely and think about the purpose of your potpourri. The fixative will absorb the oil, keeping it in the potpourri mix, and prevents evaporation, which allows your potpourri to be fragrant longer.