If you love the outdoors-but not the bugs and mosquitoes, these diy citronella candles may be just what you need. Candle making is a popular craft or hobby of many people. And for those of us who love making things with beeswax, homemade citronella candles are a great opportunity to create something beautiful and useful.
Homemade Citronella Candles
It is impossible to rid the outside world of insects that bug us – and we would not really want to anyway. Each life form has a role in the ecosystem, but that does not mean you have to make a blood donation to every hungry mosquito.
Because of the threat to public health, some cities spray chemicals for insect control. If proper care is not taken, beehives are sometimes killed as a result of these mosquito sprays.
Rather than using toxic chemicals, one way to discourage insects at your next evening party is by making homemade citronella candles.
Citronella as Insect Repellant
From times dating back to the Roman Empire, citronella oil has been used as an insect repellant. This essential oil comes from the leaves and stems of several types of citronella grass (Cymbopogon).
The theory behind the use of Citronella oil to repel pests is that it masks the scents that insects find attractive.
It is one of the most popular natural repellents in use. Yet, many scientists say that it does not work well as a repellent for mosquitoes.
Though the studies may not back up the use of citronella candles as an insect repellent – it’s hard to argue with a thousand years of consumerism.
I can’t promise these will keep the bugs away. But, they are adorable, useful and will add a spark to your outside event.
Only a few major materials are needed to make these diy citronella candles using beeswax. Of course, you can substitute in other containers, waxes or decorations.
- small clay pots
- citronella oil
Clay Pot Containers
Naturally, you can use any (fire-safe) type of container that you wish or already have on hand. Small glass jars work well or even mason jars.
But, these cute clay pots are nice because they fit into almost any outside décor. They sit well on the outside deck or patio and add a nice ambiance to the setting.
You can make then fancy with lace or other embellishments.They can be painted to any color scheme and are fire safe.
Using larger pots is certainly a possibility – but you may get into problems finding a wick of the correct size. It was also require more beeswax.
When making your own candles with beeswax, you can avoid the use of suspected carcinogens found in many commercial candles. It burns bright and clean with little soot or smoke.
When using beeswax for making candles be sure to clean your beeswax well before you begin. Otherwise, your candle will not burn well.
This project uses 2/0 cotton wicking. Wick size is important when making candles. If your wax is not clean, or you wick is too small – your candle will not burn properly.
Try to avoid zinc core wicks. These are readily available in my stores but are not the best choice for beeswax candles.
This essential oil has a fresh, lemony aroma. Popular in insect repellents, it is also used for cosmetic purposes and aroma therapy.
Adding a little natural citronella oil to your beeswax candles is a great way to at least discourage some insect visitors at your outside events.
Decorating Your Candles
These cute clay pot beeswax citronella candles are just fine as they are. However, you can dress them up with a label, ribbon, etc. to match your décor or party design.
When you make crafts do things always turn out well? If so, I am happy for you but for myself that is not always the case.
Beeswax shrinks as it cools. Therefore when making large diameter beeswax candles (such as pillars – etc.), it is not unusual for cracking to occur. It doesn’t hurt the candle-but it sure is ugly.
Sometimes, when making larger diameter beeswax candles, cracking can be prevented by slow cooling. Therefore, I covered my cooling candles with a towel.
Alas, though this strategy helped 2 of my candles – one still had an ugly crack in the beeswax. Never fear – there is a fix.
You can either pour a small amount of additional wax on the cracked area. Or, you can place a bit of beeswax on the crack and heat it with a craft heat gun.
Using Citronella Candle Pots
Always use beeswax citronella candle pots outdoors in a well-ventilated area. And, as always, avoid breathing the smoke of any candle.
If you have any concerns about the use of essential oils in candles, consult a medical professional.
Your candles may not keep away all of the pesky mosquitoes in the neighborhood. However, any time we can discourage a few insects pests, I count that as a win. This makes a bit of citronella oil worth a try.
If you have a little beeswax left over, how about trying some egg shaped beeswax candles next time.
Another wonderful option to use for yourself or give to someone special – try these homemade beeswax fire starters. They are great to use on camping trips or at the backyard fire pit.
For a more unique elegant project, use your favorite dried flower petals in a candle. This project uses a clear glass container to show off the petals.
There are so many things you can make with beeswax, including many DIY beeswax gifts. Handmade items are always very special. For a wedding or other romantic occasion, seashell candles can be a nice touch.
Citronella Beeswax Candles Tutorial
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- Choose several small clay pots. Simple craft clay pots are inexpensive and great for many projects. These are 2 1/2″ in diameter. Sometimes you can find them a local dollar store.
- Seal the drainage hole in the pot with some type of clay or glue. For this project, I used air dry clay.
- Measure and cut a 6 1/2″ piece of 2/0 cotton candle wicking. Attach a small amount of air dry clay to the bottom of the wick.Use your fingers to reach down into the small pot and adhere the wick in place. (You can use tape or anything that will seal the hole).
- Secure top of candle wick. Use a clothespin and skewer to secure the top of the wick. Be gentle-do not pull too hard or your wick will release from the bottom.Your goal is to center the wick inside the pot. It does not have to be pulled tightly.
- Place your beeswax in a double boiler for safe melting. I like using a neat little double boiler insert and a regular pot for the water in the bottom.
- Adding the citronella oil. Once the beeswax is completely melted, remove the pot from the heat. Measure your citronella oil and pour into the beeswax. Stir well.
- Carefully pour a small amount of beeswax into each clay candle pot. An inch or two of depth is fine.Let this sit for a couple of minutes – then continue to fill the pot to the desired level.This helps set the wick – but you can use a hot glue gun to attach the wick to the bottom of the jar or pot if you wish.
- Cooling. Leave your beeswax citronella candle stationary for a couple of hours. Do not move it – allow the wax to cool and set.
- To ensure good burning, once the wax is completely cool – trim the candle wick to 1/4″.