DIY Citronella Candles

Good morning!

I hope y’all had an awesome weekend; I know we did! We spent as much time outside as possible this weekend since Dallas decided to have some unbelievable late June weather (it was only 90). Of course, we had to fight off the giant, man-eating Texas mosquitoes with baseball bats… but that’s to be expected, right?

Well not anymore.

My lovely sister Steph is back with us today doing her very first guest post on how she makes her (amazing) homemade citronella candles to send those pesky skeeters packing.

Homemade Citronella Candles Little House. Big Heart.

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Hey, Little House. Big Heart. readers!  I hope you like my recipe for homemade citronella candles! The regular store bought candles weren’t cutting it for us, so I decided to make my own!

  • What you need TO BUY:
    • Glass or metal containers: I originally planned to make my own using old tin cans, but I found these at a garage sale for free. They were the perfect colors, except the now blue buckets were once pink. I spray painted them to match Jess’ Talavera-themed patio.

    Buckets

    • Wax: I chose soy way from Hobby Lobby because it burns slower and cleaner. A 2lb bag made 5 candles. The cost was $9.99, but I waited until they had a sale on candle making supplies and snagged it for 50% off, $4.99.
    • Wicks: I bought the thickest wick I could find at Hobby Lobby which was also in a package containing 13 feet of wick. That was was way more than I needed but it was only $2.79 and also 50% off (so I only paid $1.39).
    • Wick Sustainers: Again I found these at Hobby Lobby for $2.49 for a pack of 20. They were also 50% off so I paid $1.24.
    • Pure Citronella Oil: I bought mine here at Bulk Apothecary. Because I wanted to make a lot of candles, I went ahead and purchased a larger quantity, 1lb for $24.36.
    • Additional Scents (if desired): I researched scents that go well with Citronella and found that both Lemon Verbena and Eucalyptus were recommended as complementary “smells”. The Lemon Verbena was $2.99 at Hobby Lobby for 0.5oz (only $1.49 after the 50% discount) and the Eucalyptus was $6.99 at Hobby Lobby for 0.5oz ($3.49 after the 50% discount).
    • Super Glue or Hot Glue (if you really want to be perfect)
  • What you need FROM HOME:
    • Measuring Cup
    • Microwavable Safe Bowl that you don’t care if it gets ruined
    • Spare or plastic fork
    • Teaspoon or if you have a baby or toddler in the house one of their medicine droppers works perfect.
    • Scissors
    • Pliers
    • A few sticks from the yard
    • A tarp, trash bag, or newspaper to work on if you want

    DIY Citronella Candle Ingredients

THE STEPS:

1)      Make sure your containers are clean

2)      Measure wicks so they stick up about 1.5” about the top of the container

3)      Slide your “cut to length” wicks through the wick sustainers (the little metal discs), then use needlenose pliers to pinch the wicks between the metal and secure them in place. Be sure you do not let too much of the wick show through the bottom of the sustainer or your wick will not sit evenly on the bottom of your candle. You make have to bend the circular metal part of the sustainer to straighten it back out after to pinch the wick in place.

4)      This is the step where you would glue your wick sustainer to the bottom of your container if you wanted. I chose not to do this, because well, honestly, I was being lazy. I didn’t have any super glue and was too lazy to hunt down the hot glue. Thank goodness I had little desire to be a perfectionist while making these!

5)      Next take the sticks you found in your yard and cut (or just break) them so they are a few inches larger than the “mouth” of your container.

6)      After your glue is dry, pull the wick up and tie it loosely to one of your sticks so they will be held in the center of your candle when you pour the wax. If you aren’t sure about the whole “stick from the yard” deal, Hobby Lobby does sells sticks that you can use for this purpose.

Wick Stick

7)      Now it’s time to melt your wax. Measure 5 cups of wax out and pour it into your microwavable safe container.

8)      Add your scents. Now, when I researched “how much citronella to add” all of the websites said 3-9 drops…… Upon “trial-and-error” I decided that 3-9 drops was no-where near enough for me. I mean, not even close. The whole reason I decided to make my own citronella candles was to make one that would definitely repel pesky bugs. With that being said, I added 3 teaspoons (or three droppers full) of citronella oil and ½ a teaspoon of either additional scent (but not both combined).

Wax and Essential Oils for DIY Citronella Candles

9)      If you want to add color to the wax, Hobby Lobby sells coloring in several different forms, liquid, wax, etc. I’ve also heard that you can add crayons for color, but I’ve not tried this nor do I think it would be the best solution.

10)   Melt the wax and scents in the microwave. It took my little microwave just 4 minutes to fully melt the wax and scents.

Melt Wax in Microwave

11)   Now use your “spare” fork and mix up your wax, be sure not to splash. Not all your wax will be melted when it comes out of the microwave, but that’s okay. Just keep stirring and it’ll all melt.

Melty Wax

12)   Pour your wax into your containers. If you can avoid it, try not to get the wax on your wick. However, if you do. It’s not a huge deal. It will melt off and the only problem it might cause is when you go to light the candle for the first time. It may be hard to get started and keep burning but once you get it fully lit there won’t be any issues.

Pour in your Wax for DIY Citronella Candles

13)   Once the wax has fully re-hardened, carefully untie your wicks from the sticks.

14)   Cut the wicks so they are just ¼ to 1/3 inch above the top of the hardened wax.

trim your wicks

15)   And, TA-DA! Light your candles and enjoy your BUG FREE outdoors.

Finished DIY Citronella Candles

DIY Citronella Candles Little House Big Heart

The candles above are for Jess (EDIT: I can’t wait to get them!), but we made lots more for home. You can make them in just about anything that’s not flammable. I hope you try them out because they’re seriously better than the ones you buy at the store!

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Have you ever made homemade candles before? Do you think store-bought citronella candles even work? Do you have giant skeeters in your neck of the woods?

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