Keep the bugs at bay this summer when you learn how to make citronella candles with soy wax, citronella essential oils, and canning jars. 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 outdoors 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 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 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!
How to Make Citronella Candles with Eucalyptus
Homemade Citronella Candles Materials:
- Candle wax – we prefer soy wax; one pound of wax will make three small candles
- Candlewick – we like the longer candlewicks with the bottoms attached as they are easy to use
- A canning glass jar or other containers of some sort – we used 4 oz, but you can make them any size you like
- Citronella oil
- Eucalyptus oils
- If you just want to make it easy, you can buy an all-in-one candle-making kit! You will still need to buy the oils.
Homemade Citronella Candles Instructions:
First, you need to melt the wax. Don’t melt the wax in a good pot or pan. You can either use an old pan you don’t care about or create a double boiler using an old coffee can or a liquid measuring cup. You won’t be able to use the container for anything else again so make sure it’s old.
The candle-making kit has a nice pitcher to melt and pour the wax.
Pour 1 cup of the wax into an empty coffee can. Place the coffee can in a pot and add a little water to the pot. Bring the water to a gentle simmer and allow the wax to melt. Stir to help it melt.
Let the wax completely melt until it is completely clear otherwise, the candle will be bumpy.
Wrap the candlewick around a pencil or pen. If you want to keep the wick standing straight up glue, tape, or use the melted wax to affix the metal bottom part of the wick to the bottom of the jar. Lay the pencil over the top of the jar.
Once the wax is melted, carefully pour it into the jars. Make sure to avoid the pencil. Let the oil cool a tad, but not so much that it starts to set. Add the oils – 10 drops of citronella and 5 drops of eucalyptus per candle. You can add more or fewer oils based on your preference.
You can see in the photo above that I didn’t let the wax melt 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.
It will take a good 2 hours for the wax to set at room temperature. Put the candles in the fridge to speed up the process.
- 1 cup soy wax
- 1 candle wick
- 1 canning jar
- Empty coffee can
- 10 drops Citronella Essential Oil
- 5 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- Clean out the coffee can so no coffee remains drying completely.
- Pour the wax into 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 the wax into the jar to the 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 the wax to set completely. You can put the candle in the fridge to help it set quicker.
- Trim the wick to the desired length once the wax is set.