There's no argument that mosquitoes are a major buzz kill of summertime fun, but covering yourself from head to toe in sticky bug spray can be almost as vexing.
So what can you do? Ditch the DEET next time you're entertaining outdoors by making a DIY citronella candle – you'll have outdoor fun and a bug spray-free existence!
What's citronella oil? Citronella oil is nontoxic and plant-based. Its strong, lemony scent naturally repels mosquitoes. Combine citronella oil with other natural scents that help keep mosquitoes away (such as lemon eucalyptus or cinnamon essential oils).
Here's how to make your own DIY citronella candle:
Here's what you'll need:
Wax flakes (you can purchase a package of these at any hobby or craft store)
A pair of chopsticks
Eucalyptus essential oil
Glass measuring cup
Medium sized pot
1. Grab your supplies.
Grab the wick, chopsticks and tape. Pinch the wick in between the two chopsticks, and then tape the ends of the chopsticks tightly together. Pinching the wick between the chopsticks will help keep the wick straight for the next few steps.
2. Secure the wick.
Place the chopsticks horizontal on the open mouth of the mason jar with the wick held tightly in between the sticks. Adjust the wick's length below the chopsticks until the metal bottom of the wick sits flat against the bottom of the jar.
3. Fill a saucepan with water.
Head over to the stovetop, bringing the saucepan, small measuring cup and wax flakes with you. Fill the saucepan with water and place it on the stove (make sure the measuring cup can fit comfortably inside the saucepan, first).
4. Add the wax flakes.
Add the wax flakes to the measuring cup and then place the measuring cup inside the pot of water. You've just created a double boiler!
5. Melt the wax.
Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the pot to low heat. Heat the wax flakes in the measuring cup until they're fully melted. Note: Depending on the type of wax you've purchased, the time and amount of heat required may vary, so be sure to read the instructions carefully!
6. Add citronella and essential oils.
Add the citronella and eucalyptus oils to the melted wax. For small-to medium-sized mason jar candles, we recommend adding 10-13 drops of citronella oil and 5-8 drops of eucalyptus oil.
7. Pour the wax into the jar.
Have the mason jar ready (make sure the chopsticks are still resting on top) for this next step. Turn off the stove, put on an oven mitt and very carefully remove the measuring cup of hot wax from the stove. Next, slowly pour the wax into the mason jar. Tip: Make sure you don't overfill it. Stop pouring when the wax reaches just below the lip of the jar.
8. Let cool completely.
Wait about five minutes (for the wax to cool) and then place the candle in the fridge or freezer. Keep the chopsticks balanced on top. The wax will harden in just a few hours and you'll be able to slide the wick out from in between the chopsticks.
9. Trim the wick.
Now that the wax has hardened, remove the candle from the fridge or freezer and trim the wick. Don't trim the wick any taller than a half inch from the top of the wax.
Place your DIY citronella candle outside, light it and enjoy a bug-free summer.