Sunday, September 9, 2012

Homemade Citronella Candle Tutorial

My husband found this large lump of wax today in our house. He was about to throw it out when I told him not to, that I wanted to try to surprise him and make something with it. (The lump of was used to be a bowl made of wax to hold a few different scented candles, which had melted in the heat.) What did I want to make?
A citronella candle.

I was reading about citronella candles. Everyone knows that they're supposed to keep away mosquitos, but most people with experience with them say they don't actually work. I discovered that citronella candles sold in the store are actually not really made from citronella, but from a chemical that has a similar smell, which isn't actually an effective deterrent to those critters, the way real citronella candles are.

To make citronella candles, all you have to do is add citronella essential oil to regular wax, and melt it down to make a candle.

I made my citronella candle entirely from recycled materials, so it cost me nothing other than the few drops of citronella essential oil. If you want yours prettier or you don't have a hunk of wax to get rid of, you may need to buy your own materials make this citronella candle.

Homemade Citronella Candle Instructions

Equipment Needed:
1 empty metal can, or some other heat tolerant container to hold the candle, such as a glass jar
Wick material
Citronella essential oil
Crayon- optional
Glue, ideally hot glue or superglue
2 sticks
1 glass jar
1 pot

1. Break up the wax and put it in the jar.

2. Heat up a pot of water. Place the jar in the pot of hot water, making a double boiler. You want the water to only be going part way up the sides of the jar.

3. Melt down the wax in the double boiler.

4. If you want to color the wax, add a crayon to the melting wax. I used this crayon and ended up with a pretty bright orange. Mix with your stick.

5. Make your wick. You need it to be some natural fiber, not synthetic. You can use twine or yarn, possibly braided together, depending on thickness. I had a cotton scarf that was all stained. I tore that into thin strips, braided it together, and this is my wick.

6. Attach the wick to the center of the bottom of the can. I did it by adding a drop of hot glue to the tip of the braid, then using a fork to press down the braid onto the bottom of the jar for a few seconds until it dried. This can be done without hot glue, but with a weaker glue, but it'll need to be held in place longer until the glue dries, to keep it from moving.

7. Lay a stick over the top of the can, then drape the wick over the stick so that the wick is being held in an upright position. 

8. When the wax is all melted, including the crayon...

9. Carefully remove the glass jar from the pot of boiling water, and pour the hot wax into the can.

10. Let the candle cool down and harden. I let mine cool in the freezer- it could be that that's why it became the shape it did.... Who knows?

11. Trim the wick. I didn't trim the wick enough in this picture.

See what giant flame it made because the wick was too high? Cut the wick as short as possible.

The finished product!

Enjoy your citronella candle, and enjoy your bug free evenings!

Have you ever used citronella candles before- do you feel they work?
Have you ever made candles before? How did you make them?
Does this seem like something you'd try at home?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the recipe. At what point do you add the essential oil?


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