We love spending time outdoors now that the weather is warming up, but we are not loving the mosquitos! I recently shared the ultimate list of 34 plants that repel mosquitos naturally; stick those plants in your garden or in containers on your patio to help keep the bugs away. But if you don’t have a green thumb, here’s another great way to fight off mosquitos: a DIY outdoor citronella candle!
A DIY citronella candle is such an easy way to deal with mosquitos and keep them from bothering you while you spend time outdoors! Though we may like the strong citronella smell, mosquitos hate it and they will steer clear.
Plus, when you make your own citronella candle you know you aren’t getting chemical-laden commercial versions; just pure citronella oil and wax!
DIY Outdoor Citronella Candle
- 25 minutes (time spent doing stuff)
- up to 48 hours (time spent waiting around)
- a little over two days (total project time)
- hot glue gun
- a double boiler (or a large pot and a 4C Pyrex measuring cup)
- wax (you can use any kind you want; I used a standard paraffin wax)
- citronella essential oil
- a container for your candle (I used a cute galvanized tin I found at Michaels)
- wick clips
- popsicle sticks, skewers, plastic utensils, or anything else long and skinny
I made a video to show you just how easy it is to make these DIY citronella candles!
If you’d prefer written instructions, you’ll find them below.
Start by measuring the volume of your container. Fill it with water, then dump the water out of the container and into a measuring cup to figure out how much wax you need to fill the candle. 1 pound of wax is about 2 ¼ cups once melted. Once you’ve figured out how much wax you’ll need, it’s time to prep the container.
Cut off a length of wick material that is the height of your container plus about 3” extra. Thread the wick through the wick clamp until only 1/2” is left sticking out the bottom of the clamp. Use pliers to crimp the top of the wick clamp closed around the wick.
If your container is wide, you can make multiple wicks to go in the same container. If it’s tall and skinny, you probably only need one wick.
Use hot glue to attach the wick clamp to the base of your candle container, leaving the end of the wick hanging up and out of the container.
Tape the free end of the wick to a popsicle stick or plastic knife, then roll up the excess wick until the wick inside the container is pulled taught. Don’t pull too tight or the whole thing might come out! It just has to be tight enough to keep it standing upright when you add the wax.
Repeat for any additional wicks.
Fill a large pot halfway full with water, and bring it to a boil. Chop up your wax into small pieces to help it melt faster, and place all of your chunks of wax into a glass measuring cup. Carefully set the cup inside the pot of boiling water, being careful not to get any water inside the measuring cup.
You can stir the wax occasionally to help it melt faster.
Once the wax is completely melted, add your citronella essential oil. You need about 15-30 drops per pound of wax, depending on how strong of a scent you want in your finished candle. Stir in the citronella oil, then remove the wax from the heat.
Carefully pour the wax into the candle container, being sure to leave the popsicle sticks or plastic knives in place to hold the wicks up.
Set the candle aside somewhere at room temperature to cool. The candle should be fully cured after 48 hours. (NOTE: If you’re tempted to put the candle in the fridge to help it cool down faster, don’t! This will cause the wax to crack and pull away from the edges of the container because it will cool down too quickly.)
Once the candle is fully cured, trim the wicks down to an inch above the candle, and light them!
Enjoy your bug free backyard!
For more essential oil projects and recipes, check out my essential oil project gallery, or check out these great projects below!
Sparkling Lavender Lemonade
Fruit Kabobs with Citrus Dip
Grilled Chicken with Citrus + Ginger Marinade
Lime Raspberry Popsicles
Cowboy Caviar with lime oil dressing
Tuscan Pasta Salad
BLT Salad with Creamy Lemon Chive Dressing
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