I love the smell of Citronella. I know some people hate it, but I think it’s awesomesauce!
Maybe because it reminds me of summertime and sitting on my back porch with my BFFs or of sitting out on the dock at the lake as a kid. Whatever the case, the smell makes me happy. And luckily that smell really honks off mosquitos! So I’m really killing two
bugs birds with one stone!
So recently I found a pin on Pinterest on how to make your own citronella candles that really tickled my fancy! I decided this would be a relatively cheap and fun adventure with a low risk of me completely destroying something or burning down my house!
It was actually really super easy. I read up on several other sites on the best way to do things, and sort of tweaked the recipe a little bit to how it would work best for me. Garden Therapy and a few other folks used their old candles and melted them down. I however chose to order some soy wax online. (I got a 10lb bag for under $20.) I like the feel and smell of soy wax a lot better, I think they burn cleaner and are easier to clean up after should something spill.
If you’d like to give it a try, this is how I did it and what you’ll need:
- Cans (I used soup cans)
- A double boiler (I used a big stock pot with a smaller older sauce pan inside it)
- A Metal cookie cutter (to keep your wax pot propped off the bottom of the water pot so it doesn’t over-heat the wax)
- A ladle
- Soy Wax chips/shavings
- Pre-Waxed wicks with tabs (measure your can, you want the wick to be at least as tall as your can, you can trim it if need be)
- Citronella (or whatever scent you like) Essential Oil
NOT E – NOT the oil that you put in your tiki torches… get yourself a good essential oil. I really like Piping Rock’s oils and they are very affordable.
- Some sort of glue to glue the wicks to the bottom of your can. I used super glue, hot glue would work… whatever you have laying around!
- Clothespins (2 for every can)
- Some twine, jute ribbon or anything else if you’d like to decorate the can afterwards
1. Set up your cans with wicks.
I don’t have a baby hand, so I couldn’t fit my hand into the can to smash the glue-covered wick tab against the bottom to adhere it. So I used a straw. I slid the string end of the wick into the straw, then squeezed the straw to hold onto the wick inside of it and then used the straw to press the wick tab against the bottom of the tab until the glue set.
Someone else said they used a white Bic pen tube. I guess that would work, but I thought it would be hard to keep the wick in the tube.
2. Measure out your wax. I just eyeballed mine! (I think I ended up using probably 10-15 cups of wax for 3 cans. I added it in two batches since wax chips take up significantly more room than melted wax does. I let the first bowl full melt, then slowly added in more chips.)
3. Set up your double boiler. You want your water at a nice SIMMER… boiling is not necessary and will actually probably make things harder for you! Put the metal cookie cutter in the pot with water, then set your pot with wax on TOP of the cookie cutter. This keeps your wax pot off the bottom of the water pot. I don’t know if this is completely needed, but since I wasn’t using a candy thermometer, and wasn’t interested in catching my house on fire, I used a cookie cutter.
4. The wax will sort of melt like cold butter does. It melts rather quickly so make sure you don’t wander off during this step! You’ll want to stir it until it becomes a clear liquid and there are no more chunks of solid wax in it! Some people use a candy thermometer for this. I don’t have one, so I was just REALLY careful and guessed when it was ready. If you’re nervous about this part, please use a thermometer.
The melting point of soy wax is 122 degrees.
You want a pour temp of about 125 degrees.
The flash point (FIRE!) of soy wax is 450 degrees! Please be safe about this and do not leave your wax unattended!
5. Ok so now that your wax is “molten” (that’s kind of a scary word), you can add your citronella!
I used a teaspoon or so, maybe like 20 drops? I didn’t really measure this part, I just added and stirred until I thought it smelled nice!
I guess the rule of thumb is 1 oz of Citronella oil per pound of wax.
6. Stir for about one minute to make sure the oil is mixed well.
7. Adhere the clothespins to the wicks to keep the wicks straight while you pour and while they are cooling. You don’t want your wicks to move at all while cooling.
Then carefully ladle your molten wax into your cans. I filled three cans up to about an inch under the top.
8. Let your cans cool in a warm place undisturbed for at least 48 hours before using!
9. Decorate the outside of your cans with twine or ribbon or jute ribbon for a cute, rustic, finished look!