DIY Citronella Candles

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June 8, 2016 by bridgitgillis

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It’s mosquito season in Alaska, and that means breaking out all attempts of keeping them at bay.  Making your own citronella candles probably isn’t a whole lot cheaper than buying them at the store, but by making your own you will get all natural ingredients with quality essential oils, as opposed to synthetic fragrances.  Not to mention, with my custom labels they are much cuter than the store-bought ones.

For these jelly jar candles, my cost was about $4 per candle, but I bought my ingredients at a small business here in Alaska.  If you purchased your soy wax and jars from a site like, your cost would go down to about $2 per candle.  (Note that these costs do not factor in the costs of the essential oils, because I already had them and didn’t use much out of the bottles. More about that later…)

Items for this project:

2 lbs Soy Candle Flakes (mine was for container candles only)
Candle Wicks with Bases
Jelly Jars (I used 12, 4-oz jars)
Double Boiler (or a pan of water with a large glass jar or measuring cup)
Wax Paper
Cookie Sheets
Hot Glue Gun or Tape
Stove/Oven and Hot Pads

Essential Oils for this project:

160 drops Citronella Oil
60 drops Eucalyptus Oil (or Lemon Eucalyptus Oil)
40 drops Cedarwood Oil
40 drops Lemon Oil


Circular Labels for Lids
Computer and Printer


Guide to Essential Oils:

Be sure to use pure, undiluted, therapeutic grade essential oils.  Otherwise, what’s the use in making your own candles?!  Most essential oil users have their preferred brand, but honestly as long as you choose quality oils that’s all that matters.

If you have to purchase oils for this project, a good rule of thumb to remember is that there are 20 drops of essential oil per 1 ml.  So, for this project you would need to purchase a 15ml bottle of Citronella, and 5 ml bottles of the other oils.

1. Preheat your oven to the lowest setting.  Place your jars on a cookie sheet into the oven to warm.  This allows the wax to cool at a more even temperature.

2. Get your double boiler ready.  I used a pan of water with a large glass jar.  (Old Pyrex measuring cups work wonderfully for projects like this.)

3. Pour 1/2 pound of your wax flakes into your glass jar.  Mainly because of the size of my jar, I melted the wax in 1/2 pound increments.  This worked well because smaller batches at a time give you breathing room to work out  the kinks as you go.


4. Stir your melting wax every so often, and monitor your water temperature.  It shouldn’t be a rolling boil, but it shouldn’t be too low either.  The directions on my wax flakes did not designate a particular temperature.  I would suggest reading the directions on the package of your flakes to see how they suggest melting them down.  I used a butter knife to stir my wax.

5. Once the wax is fully melted, carefully remove it from your pan and place it on a heat-proof surface to cool.  Turn the heat on your pan down to low- don’t turn it off unless it’s your last batch.  It will take longer to reheat if you turn it off between cycles.


6. As your wax cools, carefully remove 3 jelly jars from the oven.  You should be able to handle them since the oven should be on the lowest setting, but always double check their temperature before touching them. (My oven was on 170F)

7. Using either tape or hot glue, attach your wicks to the bottom of the jar.  I tried both methods, and I highly suggest the hot glue if you have it.  Place your jars on the second cookie sheet, lined with wax paper. (This will make clean-up so much easier!)


8. Once you can comfortably touch the outside of your glass jar that contains the melted wax without it feeling too hot, it’s time to mix in your essential oils.  I chose to wait until my wax had cooled a bit to avoid the chance of the extreme heat of the wax causing my oils to evaporate.

I discovered that the soy wax does not set up immediately, and you should have plenty of time to mix in the essential oils and pour.  By my fourth batch, my jars were ready well before the wax was cool enough.  I stuck the jelly jars back in the oven with the wax coated wicks attached- bad idea.  The wicks started to melt.  Test out your timing on the first batch, but you might want to wait a minute or two before pulling out your jars and attaching the wicks.

Essential Oils (Per 1/2 pound of wax)

40 drops Citronella Oil
15 drops Eucalyptus Oil (or Lemon Eucalyptus Oil)
10 drops Cedarwood Oil
10 drops Lemon Oil

Add these oils to the glass jar of wax.  Stir, and pour into the jelly jars.

9. Be sure the wicks are standing straight up.  They might need some help, in which case utilize whatever means necessary.  For me, it was the silverware drawer.


10. Repeat the process until you’re done!


11. Let your candles cool and harden overnight, or at least 6 hours.  Be sure to place warning stickers on the bottom of them.

candle warning

While they do their thing, why not make some cute labels for the lids?
Check out my tutorial here!


Similar Articles:

DIY Insect Repellent Spray

DIY Citronella Bracelets



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