Projects by the students of the
Bachelor Major in Art, Major in Design,
and the Master in Eco-Social Design

Goodbye Phthalates, hello DIY bio-perfumed “silicone”

Course topic/s

MA Practice Based Course




What happens when you can cook up a soft silicone-like material in your kitchen that captures the aroma of freshly peeled oranges?

Well, you get to replace Phthalates, an endocrine-disrupting chemical that’s in everything that smells good in your home: your perfume, your cooling under-eye patches, your scented candles, your air freshener, your dishwashing soap and your detergent etc.

Why it matters? Phthalate is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that ensures lasting fragrances in most fragranced household / cosmetic products. While individual products typically contain harmless amounts of phthalates to adults, the scale of phthalate-containing items we use daily may contribute to high Phthalate exposure while may contribute to fertility issues, worsening asthma or birth defects .

It’s challenging to rule out all phthalate-containing products, because it is not only used in almost all fragrances products but also as a plasticiser in plastics. However we can create bio-perfumed substitutes for some products reducing your total Phthalate exposure. We can home-cook variants of a simple soft silicone-like biomaterial recipe using orange peels, water, glycerine and gelatine to create everyday bio perfumed products to introduce safe, bio-degradable smells in your home. Now that’s how you reduce your need for Phthalate-containing fragrances at home!

Which orange-perfumed cosmetic / household products can you cook up? 

Try anything that needs a soft silicone-like texture: from cooling under-eye patches to reduce puffy / tired eyes or dark circles; non-slip, cooling cup coasters; fragrance patches products; muscle cooling packs to perhaps adhesive bras?!

The DIY recipe

3g glycerin, 12g gelatine, 70ml – 115ml orange peel water* (for a transparent “silicone) and / or 12g dried, grounded orange peels (for an orange coloured “silicone”)

Optional: 6 – 8g grounded hemp to ensure longer longevity, slower decomposing rate, but introduces soil-like smell. (for a brown, textured “silicone”)

* Add maximum amount of water in the case hemp is added

The technique

1) For the orange peel water: Cook 27 gm orange peels in 300ml water and stop once the water has a strong smell of orange and keep 70ml orange peel water (with the peels removed) in the pot.
For the dried orange peel powder: Dehydrate 27 g orange peel until dry and grind the peels to a fine powder. Add 4g orange powder to a cooking pot. 2) Add 70ml orange peel water to cooking pot.
For the grounded hemp. Ground at least 10grams hemp in a coffee grinder until fine.
3) Also add 3g glycerin and 12g gelatine
4) Cook all ingredients until texture is thickened and gelatine is fully mixed. 5) Place in fridge until completely cold and solid and then gently remove from pot by lining a knife along the edges and then lifting once loose.

The tools

Oven, Blender
Coffee Grinder
Stove, Fork & Round-edge Knife
Pot *
* Also get a steel mould if you prefer another shape than your pot’s basis