Keep the bugs at bay this summer when you learn how to make citronella candles. Perfect for camping and picnics, these homemade candles will keep away the creepy crawlies so your family can enjoy the late summer evenings.
One of the nice things about living in the desert is that we don't really have a lot of flying bugs. Mosquitoes are pretty much non-existent so we can stay out doors all summer without worrying about bug bites.
My family loves to camp in the summer and we generally head to cooler weather, which means we have a few run ins with mosquitoes over the summer. We always pack store bought citronella candles for camping and they never, ever work.
I did a little research and apparently the store bought candles have lousy citronella in them so they don't work well. My sister, who lives in Michigan where mosquitoes are the size of small birds, was told that homemade citronella candles are much more effective than the store bought ones.
So of course, I had to test that theory.
While we don't have tons of mosquitoes in Las Vegas, we do have really awful spiders. I have heard that spiders don't like eucalyptus so I figured as long as I was figuring out how to make citronella candles, I might as well add a little eucalyptus to keep the spiders away. Plus it smells heavenly!
I gathered my candle making materials.
Basically all you need is:
- candle wick
- a glass jar or other container of some sort
- Citronella and Eucalyptus oils
For this round of candles I used soy wax – for no real reason whatsoever. It just sounded good. One pound of the soy wax yielded 3 candles.
I bought really long candle wicks with metal bottoms already attached. I really like these and they were super easy to use.
I used different sizes of canning jars – mostly the ones for jelly and jams. I was experimenting so I didn't want anything to big.
If you just want to make it easy, you can buy an all in one kit!
I used good quality citronella and eucalyptus oils. I wanted to make sure these candles worked so I didn't skimp on the oils. Find out more about the oils I use and why I love them!
Thankfully I thought ahead and didn't melt the wax in a good pot or pan. I created a kind of double boiler. The kit comes with a nice pitcher to melt and pour the wax.
I poured 1 cup of the wax in to an empty coffee can. I placed the coffee can in a pot and added a little water to the pot. Bring the water to a boil and allow the wax to melt.
Let the wax completely melt until it is clear otherwise the candle is bumpy.
I messed around with figuring out how to keep the wick standing straight up and came up with this. I didn't really secure the wick to the bottom of the jar first.
I'm not sure if that will make a huge difference or not as it burns. But you can glue, tape or use the wax to hold the metal part of the wick in place.
Once the wax was melted, I just poured it into the jars and the added the oils. I used about 10 drops of citronella and 5 drops eucalyptus per candle.
You can see in the photo above that I didn't let the wax melt all the way in the candle on the left and it's bumpy. But I let the wax melt completely on the one on the right and it's nice and smooth.
Put the candles in the fridge for faster cooling. It took a good 2 hours for the wax to set at room temperature. Put the candles in the fridge if you want to speed up the process.
How to Make Citronella Candles with Eucalyptus
- Clean out the coffee can so no coffee remains. Allow to dry completely.
- Pour the wax in to the coffee can.
- Fill a pot or pan with about 1-2 inches of water. Place the coffee can with the wax in the water. Bring the water to a slow simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to keep water hot, but not bubbling at all.
- Use an old spatula or spoon to mix the wax to help it melt. Allow the wax to melt completely until it is clear.
- Place a wick in the center of the jar. Carefully pour wax in to the jar to desired level.
- Add oils to the wax - about 10 drops citronella and 5 drops eucalyptus.
- Wrap the wick around a pencil to help it stay in the middle of the wax.
- Allow wax to set completely. You can put the candle in the fridge to help it set quicker.
- Cut the wick to desired length once wax is set.