How to Make a Still / Distiller to Extract Any Essential Oils From Plants. Lavender Oil Shown.

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Introduction: How to Make a Still / Distiller to Extract Any Essential Oils From Plants. Lavender Oil Shown.

About: Lateral thinker, Originator of Inclined Bed Therapy (IBT) Originator of Pocket Full Of Acorns Project. Originator of Operation OASIS.

How to make pure essential lavender oil, or any other oil extracted from plants of your choice. The video shows how to make your own DIY simple distillery which is made from a pressure cooker and a 3 meter length of 10 mil copper tube, coiled around a circular object to form the distillation coil. The video shows how we converted the lavender from our garden into essential oil. The principles are the same for any essential oils. The cost of the still was around £6.00 for the tubing, borrowed the pressure cooker from next door, but you will find one of these on any car boot sale for a few pounds / dollars.

In addition to extracting your pure lavender oil, you can also extract Oil of Spike from the left over stems, which was used as a  Lavender Painting Medium and has many other uses.

Oil of Spike Lavender is the ultimate less-toxic painting medium!  It is listed by the FDA as (GRAS) "Generally Recognized as Safe". 
Oil of Spike Lavender is the medium used by Great Masters and recent Artists , including Leonardo and Netherlands painters. Pacheco, in his Arte de la Pintura published at Seville in 1649, advised artists to moisten just the tip of the brush in lavender oil. Oil of Spike Lavender was often washed over a new canvas to prepare it for painting. It was also mixed with the pigments as a base. An artist would dip the brush hairs in the Spike Oil to make brush strokes smoother. Oil of Spike Lavender was the medium of choice from the fourteenth century on. It has an appealing uplifting scent / aroma, and only a small amount is needed - a drop or two at a time.

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    19 Discussions

    Very cool. If you fill your pipe with sand and then seal the ends, you can bend the pipe without as much worry about crimping. Nice instructable.

    1 reply

    Thanks for reminding me. I did know about the sand but thought I could get away with it due to it being small bore. I will add a note to the video advising this. Thanks again

    While you are waiting for the plants to grow, you can try many other essential oils, including oils from orange peal, lemon balm, rosemary, bay, almond, hemp, there are hundreds to try and most will produce well using this method. You could always ask a neighbour with lavender plants to donate some and have some of the yield, it really is amazing and far better than shop bought which I suspect is made from the whole plant including the stems.

    Anyone try to distill Coca pudding into an aroma that smells like pudding of coca? I have and here are some images.

    20170416_193038[1].jpg

    I am now distilling black pepper in a 2L boiling double sprout flask with about 40 g black pepper in 600 ml of distilled water. Here are some images of the process.

    20170410_193808[1].jpg20170410_195156[1].jpg20170410_195229[1].jpg

    It can hold 2 L of water and 2 L of plants it will be interesting to make perfumes out of it.

    Cool I just bought a special distiller that is designed to seperate oils and other things from water. It cost on sale 80 dollars US.

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    Is there a written version of this? I can't hear the video very well.

    Hey nice instructable, very simple to do and safe...

    I'm a chemist, may I teel you two advices that can help you to improve your technique?

    - Add ice and table salt (NaCl) in the water you're using to cool down copper + extract. We call it a saumur normally you can reach - 13°C with the good ratio : 1/3 NaCl, 2/3 crushed ice and water

    - Add table salt (NaCl) in your extract, why? because of is high solubility in water NaCl will take all the place in it and will force essential oil to separate from water...

    Hi Anderson, thanks for your comment. I do remember the ice and salt from a school science ice bomb experiment
    where a steel container filled with water and sealed was split in the
    freezing mixture. I agree your method would get the pipe much cooler,
    but to be honest, it works perfectly as is and has been used many times
    over some 26 years when it was first tested to make alcohol from
    undrinkable home-brewed wine. K.I.S. and don't fix what ain't broke is my philosophy :)