diy projects exterior & outdoor living

DIY Citronella Candles

DIY Citronella Candles With the backyard being finished, we’re serious about enjoying it. We’ve been spending a TON of time outside grilling, hanging, relaxing, and soaking up every last bit of summertime. I love being outside, but there’s one thing that instantly puts me in a bad mood… mosquitos. I’m one of those people they swarm to. I’m not sure if it’s my blood type or what, but they seriously eat me alive. They can make summer pretty miserable. Aside from treating our yard and drenching myself in bug spray, I’ve been burning citronella candles while chilling in the yard and they really help! I wanted to share an easy recipe for DIY citronella candles and how I find cool vessels for them. Click through for the details…

First of all, I’m all about recycling vases, planters, and used candle containers that I already have. If one of your favorite candles is burned to the quick and totally gone, pop it in the freezer overnight (it will loosen the wax from the edges), then dump the wax and it’s ready for a refill. Odds are, most of the things I already have on hand, I bought because of their aesthetic. Therefore, they’ll go from vase, to candle, then back to a vase or planter again.

Citronella Candle DIY Anyway- back to the candles! Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

Hand Poured Citronella Candle DIY SUPPLIES

DIY Hand Poured Soy Candles Step 1 // Prep your glasses. Clean your existing vessels and add a wick to the center of each glass. Push the wick through the metal bottom, securing it in place with the sticky wax.

Candle Making 101 Next, make a web with scotch tape to hold the wick in place. Feel free to add multiple wicks, depending on the size of your container.

Hand Poured Candles Step 2 // Melt the wax and add fragrance. In a medium size saucepan, heat the wax flakes until they are completely smooth and the liquid looks pure and golden.

Soy Wax Flakes This is what it will look like once it’s totally melted…

How to Pour a Soy Candle Add around 10-12 drops of citronella oil and continue to stir. You can add more or less depending on how potent you like your candles. I’m all about adding a little bit more for extra mosquito protection, but the candles will have a much stronger aroma.

Citronella Candle Once the liquid and fragrance are completely combined, pour the melted wax into a large glass measuring cup. This will make transferring the liquid to the vessels much easier!

Citronella Candle Making Carefully fill each container with the citronella soy wax.

Candle Making DIY Step 3 // Allow the candles to cool completely. It’s important to leave the candles alone as they solidify! Resist the urge to move them, shake them, or touch them until they’re completely solid. Otherwise, you will end up with lumpy looking candles.

Hand Poured Citronella Candles Step 4 // Trim the wicks. Once your candles are fully set up (approximately 4-6 hours), you can trim the wicks. I recommend cutting it just below the top of the container on a slight angle.

That’s it! Easy peasy. Citronella candles are a great addition to any patio or backyard space and they’re super functional. I like a little ambiance at night with twinkle lights and lit candles anyway… mosquito protection is just an added bonus.

Outdoor Citronella Candle

Citronella Outdoor Candle These also make great gifts. You could even do tea light sizes and install them in something like my friend Erin’s clay fabric votives. Coming into fall, I’ll make another batch but use a different fragrance and burn them inside- just switch out the citronella to a different essential oil. One other alternative to keep the bugs away? Check out these cute mosquito repellent tiki torches. If you have any questions, please comment below! I’m happy to help.


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  • Reply
    August 21, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    This is amazing! How easy is it to clean up afterwards? (I envision wax residue coating my saucepan for all eternity…)

    • Reply
      August 21, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      It’s honestly not bad. The first time I did this, I went to a thrift store and bought a $1 saucepan specifically for things like this and tossed it afterwards. However, last time around, I used a regular saucepan and cleanup wasn’t as bad as expected. It just takes hot or boiling water to clean and melt the wax. I let it sit with soap and boiling water and it wiped right out.

      • Reply
        August 22, 2017 at 4:02 pm

        Good to know! Thank you! Buying a thrifted saucepan, just for peace of mind, is a great idea.

        • Reply
          August 22, 2017 at 5:04 pm

          No problem! I think that’s a great call. xo

  • Reply
    Allison H
    May 17, 2019 at 11:32 am

    About how many candles did you get out of the 10lb bag? I’m thinking I want to do these for a girls night and want to make sure I have enough wax.

    • Reply
      May 17, 2019 at 11:57 am

      It totally depends on the size of your vessels, but I usually get anywhere from 5 – 7 with a variety of shapes and sizes :) These would be SO FUN for a girls night!!

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