Simple to make and effective at repelling pesky insects, this all-natural homemade citronella candle is not only fun to create but can be quite useful when you want to spend time outdoors and away from biting bugs.
Cookouts. Barbecues. Bonfires. Late night, front porch swingin’. Gardening. Swimming in the pond. Fishing.
There are so many glorious, memorable summer activities to do. The warmth, the sunshine, the long days — I love them all. But what I don’t love are the bugs.
Pesky flies. Biting mosquitoes. Gnats. And ticks. Ticks are the worst.
Come early spring a legion of ticks seems to emerge from the deep, dark depths onto my parents homestead. Not much appears to combat these nasty critters other than time. They come. They go. Then the rest of the summer is generally tick-free.
Thankfully there is a diverse amount of products available to deter these annoying critters. Some are natural or use old fashioned methods. While others can use synthetic or harsh ingredients. I often opt for the do-it-yourself method. It’s cheaper, convenient and fun.
Citronella candles fit into both categories — enjoyable to make and functional. With a homemade insect repellant candle, I can now partake in those merry summer adventures without being feasted upon. I plan to sit several of these soy candles around our deck when we grill outdoors this year.
Here’s to a bug bite-free summer!
What Insects are Repelled by Citronella Oil?
Citronella is a gentle oil that works to repel insects by concealing the scent that normally attract pests. It is a popular ingredient in many bug sprays. The odor of citronella, unpleasant to bugs, drives them away instead of feeding upon you. It works best on mosquitoes but it can also deter flies and ticks.
Essential Oils for Natural Bug Repellent
Lemongrass makes an excellent addition to DIY citronella candles as well as many homemade bug repellents. As a child I remember we often used vanilla extract to help repel pesky insects. Any these essential oils are also great for protecting yourself from biting buggies.
Essential Oil for Soy Candle Making
Typically I do not recommend using essential oils in candle making for several reasons but primarily because you need an enormous amount of essential oils to scent a candle. However, when making a candle specifically for repelling bugs, you do need to use a real, high-quality citronella essential oil. Fragrance oils will not contain the therapeutic properties needed to deter the insects.
Do note that before you add the citronella oil into the melted wax, allow the candle to cool for a few minutes in order to prevent any destruction to the beneficial qualities of the essential oil.
What Do You Need to Make Citronella Candles?
To make citronella oil candles you will need a few ingredients. Here is a list of supplies for making bug repellent candles as well as helpful tools you may also want to grab.
- Soy wax (or beeswax)
- 8-ounce container or mold
- Candle wicks
- Candle making pitcher or mason jar or old tin can
- Pencils or dowel rod
- Citronella essential oil
- Stainless steel pot
Which Wax is Best for Candle Making?
In my opinion the two best natural waxes to use for candle making are soy wax and beeswax. For this homemade citronella candle I chose to use soy wax. Soy wax is a natural vegetable wax made from the oil of soy beans. It comes in the form of flakes or pastilles and melts quickly, allowing soy wax candle making to be quite simple. Soy wax is easy to handle and burns beautifully which makes it great for new and experienced candle makers. In this candle making tutorial, the soy wax blends magnificently with the natural citronella oil.
How to Make a Citronella Candle
Ward off unwanted mosquitoes and other pests with this easy-to-make citronella candle. Made with just two all-natural ingredients.
Makes: One 8-ounce candle
Tools You May Need
Hot glue gun
Stainless steel pot
Heat proof glass jar or candle making pitcher
One 8-ounce heat proof container for finished candle
2 heaping cups (1/2 lb) soy wax
3/4 – 1 teaspoon (75-100 drops) citronella essential oil
Fill a stock pot with several inches of water. Place the candle making pitcher (or tin can) into the pot. Add the soy wax to the container. Turn the stove to medium. Bring water to a gentle boil and begin melting the wax.
While the wax is melting, use a glue gun to attach the wick to the bottom center of the 8-ounce vessel. To stabilize the wick, place two pencils around the wick.
When the wax has melted, remove jar from pot. Allow the wax to cool for 5 minutes before adding the essential oil. Carefully pour the wax into the candle container. Once the wax has completely hardened, trim the wicks to 1/4-inch length. Wait a day or two for the candles to finish curing before lighting them.
How to Use Citronella Candles as an Insect Repellent?
These candles are meant to be used outdoors to repel bugs. Simply place your homemade bug repellent candle(s) around the area you are sitting, such as on the corners of your deck, by the fire pit, the borders of the pond or near the porch. Adding multiple citronella candles will make them even more effective.
More DIY Project Ideas
- 2 heaping cups (1/2 lb) soy wax
- 3/4 - 1 teaspoon (75-100 drops) citronella essential oil
- Candle Wick
- Hot glue gun
- Stainless steel pot
- Heat proof glass jar or candle making pitcher
- One 8-ounce heat proof container for finished candle
- Fill a stock pot with several inches of water. Place the candle making pitcher (or tin can) into the pot. Add the soy wax to the container. Turn the stove to medium. Bring water to a gentle boil and begin melting the wax.
- While the wax is melting, use a glue gun to attach the wick to the bottom center of the 8-ounce vessel. To stabilize the wick, place two pencils around the wick.
- When the wax has melted, remove jar from pot. Allow the wax to cool for 5 minutes before adding the essential oil. Carefully pour the wax into the candle container. Once the wax has completely hardened, trim the wicks to 1/4-inch length. Wait a day or two for the candles to finish curing before lighting them.