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citronella candle how to

How to Make Citronella Candles in Paint Cans

Citronella candles are an easy, natural method of bug repellent, and we're happy to share our tutorial for making them!

Enjoy Your Backyard Without Any Pests!

We don’t like to use the word “hate.” As a matter of fact, we use it quite sparingly. We prefer to love. We love candles, we love nice soaps and lotions, we love beautiful glassware and interesting containers. However, we can’t love everything.

We hate mosquitoes. 

They’re party-crashing little pests that come around just to spread disease and make you itch. We don’t think anyone will be offended by our denouncement of these horrid little creatures. Let’s talk about an easy way to keep them at bay, citronella candles.

What Are Citronella Candles?

Citronella is an essential oil that is derived from lemongrass. It’s commonly used as a natural insect repellent, and when it’s made into a candle, it can create a slow-burn that consistently puts citronella out into the air to repel mosquitoes over a long period.

citronella candle

Why Does Citronella Repel Mosquitoes?

To be completely clear, citronella doesn’t exactly “repel” mosquitoes. Rather, it interferes with their sense of smell, preventing them from locating targets from which they can pester (like you and me). Mosquitoes rely on the carbon dioxide that we exhale to locate us, if you pump enough citronella into the air around you, they have a harder time detecting that carbon dioxide. Store-bought insect repellent works in the same way.

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How to Make Citronella Candles in Paint Cans at Home

Citronella candles are actually pretty easy to make, it’s no different from making a regular scented candle. You can provide your backyard with a nice ambiance and a unique aesthetic by using paint cans as your vessel!

What You’ll Need:

  1. Citronella essential oil
  2. Candle wax (soy wax or beeswax)
  3. Candle wicks
  4. A suitably sized paint can
    1. You could also use a regular glass jar if you’d prefer that style.
  5. Double boiler or a heat-proof container and a saucepan
  6. Thermometer
  7. Wick sticker or hot glue gun
  8. Popsicle sticks or pencils

What You’ll Do:

  1. Prepare your container: Clean and dry the paint can or glass jar you’ll be using for your candle. 

  2. Prepare the wick: Attach the wick to the bottom of the container using a wick sticker or a small amount of hot glue. Position the wick in the center of the container. To keep the wick straight, you can use two popsicle sticks or pencils placed on either side of the wick and secured with rubber bands.

  3. Melt the wax: Fill a double boiler with water and place it on the stove over medium heat. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a heat-proof container placed in a saucepan filled with water. Add the wax to the double boiler or heat-proof container and melt it slowly, stirring occasionally. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature and heat the wax to the manufacturer’s recommended temperature.

  4. Add citronella essential oil: Once the wax has melted, remove it from the heat source and let it cool slightly. Add a few drops of citronella essential oil to the melted wax, following the recommended ratio provided by the oil manufacturer. Stir the mixture gently to ensure the oil is evenly distributed.

  5. Pour the wax: Carefully pour the melted wax into the prepared container. Be cautious not to disturb the wick. Leave a small amount of space at the top of the container, as the wax may shrink slightly as it cools.

  6. Set the wick: Hold the wick upright in the center of the container as the wax cools and solidifies. You can use the popsicle sticks or pencils again to keep the wick straight and centered. Allow the candle to cool and harden completely.

  7. Trim the wick: Once the candle has hardened, trim the wick to approximately ¼ inch above the wax. This will ensure a cleaner burn and prevent excessive smoke.

  8. Enjoy your citronella candle: Your homemade citronella candle is now ready to use! Light the wick and enjoy the pleasant aroma while keeping those pesky mosquitoes away.

Remember to always follow safety precautions when working with hot wax and open flames. Keep the candle away from flammable materials, children, and pets.

making citronella candles

Did You Make Your Own Citronella Candle? Share it with Us!

Send us some photos on Instagram or Facebook, or tag us on Pinterest! We love to see our jars put to good use, so we’re super excited to see your homemade citronella candles!


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