August 5, 2014

making citronella candles at home. a diy.

we love our backyard but we are getting eaten alive by mosquitos. eecks! we tried different things so far to prevent from getting bit -- sprays without deet, long sleeves and pants -- but they don't seem to work. a couple of folks we know tried citronella candles and plants and thought that we should give it a go as well. i had thought about buying them at home depot, but cindy over at kidgranny planted the most wonderful seed in my head - making your own citronella candles. she even provided a link here

i may be a bit clumsy and sloppy at times but i love making things at home. i wanted to try and make candles this winter with beewax, but this head start opportunity was all worth it for me to purchase what i needed to make candles for the summer. 

here's what i got: 
 + soy wax {5 lbs.} 
 + a couple of glass bottles from goodwill

things used that i already had at home: 
 + glue {to glue candle wick to glass bottles} 
 + scissors {to cut candle wick once soy wax has cooled and set} 
 + wooden spoon {to stir soy wax}
 + ladle {to help pour melted soy wax into glasses} 
 + a few more glass bottles from my collection 
 + cookie sheet {to place jars on in the oven to warm up bottles} 
 + measuring cup
so before i go on further i have to say a few things about my items & lessons learned first: 
  • i wish i had gotten taller candle wicks. i didn't factor in that my bottle collection and the couple of bottles i had picked up at goodwill for this project were all tall and the candle wicks i ordered weren't tall enough. i had to scramble to find ones that were the right height.
  • i only used 3 pounds of the soy wax. i wanted to save some for later to make lavender scented candles. with the 3 pounds, i filled 5 glasses of varying sizes but really, i could've probably just gone with 2-3 large and small bottles. you see, i didn't fill up the bottles all the way up, which later i realized gave me a tough time trimming my wick because i had to reach inside the narrow opening of the bottle. 
  • trimming candle wicks is just hard. period. they don't cut in one go. 
  • glue. i wish i had a hot glue gun. most of the wicks i used did stay put but a couple fell off while i was pouring the hot wax. luckily i was able to save them, but still. glue gun. that would've helped so much. 
  • the ladle was a last minute add in because i had trouble pouring from my pot into my glass bottles. it spilt everywhere and was just really messy. i also need a new ladle now for the kitchen. oops. 
  • i read in another tutorial that i should use 3 drops of citronella oil for every cup of soy wax melted. i actually added a lot more than that, but when i tested the candles last night i feel like they didn't smell strong enough. mind you, both yangkyu and i were looking forward to candles with really strong scents. we probably need to do a little more trial and error with this to get just the right level of citronella. 
  • finally, i wish i had researched more on clean up. i just ended up with a lot of mess in the end and not really knowing how to clean out the wax from inside the double boiler to my wooden spoon and ladle. perhaps the wax just sits there until the next time i melt something but nonetheless, i wish i knew how to better clean up in the end. 

 // piri is skeptical and not knowing if i know what i'm doing. trust me piri. i have no idea what i'm doing. // 

directions {i improvised on these steps} to make my citronella candles: 
1. glue candle wicks to bottle using glue {one that works on glass}. set aside. 
2. melt soy wax in double boiler. i used medium to high heat. stir occasionally. 
3. while wax is melting, preheat oven to its lowest setting and set your glasses on a cookie sheet and place inside oven. it is said that warm bottles help the wax set better. 
4. once the wax is melted, add citronella oil. it's suggested that you add 3 drops per 1 cup of soy wax, but i added a few extra {like 5 to 10 extra drops per cup}
5. take out bottles and pour your wax. i used a ladle because pouring just got too messy for me. also, you'll notice that your candle wick is no longer stiff and straight and slightly wilted when you take it out of the oven. 
6. use wooden chopsticks to help center candle wick so that it sets properly. if you don't have chopsticks then other things like pencils will work. here are some other ideas. 
7. i found that soy wax actually cools and sets within 5-6 hours. but i let it cool overnight. 
8. once cooled, take outside, light and use! 
so everyone is probably wondering -- did it work? 

so we took them outside yesterday and... we got bit. those mosquitos are tenacious. but, even though we did get bit, it wasn't as extreme as other nights. this could be other factors, but i don't regret taking the time to make these, and i like to think that they helped. we're going to try one more thing to ward off mosquitos for the summer -- it's here. a friend sent the link over on facebook and i'm so intrigued. we're going to place it next to our candles. 

happy backyard summer days everyone! 

29 comments

  1. Awesome DIY. I've been pretty lucky with mosquitos this year. I only got bit while visiting the botanical gardens with my brother. Mind you, I'm more of an "indoor kid" these days. :p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. heehee. i thought maybe the cooler weather we've been having would make the mosquitos go away (i have no idea where i got that logic from) but they really are relentless!

      Delete
  2. Piri is the cutest in this picture! i love this diy, homemade candles sound amazing! thanks for sharing jane!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you :) making these was slightly messy but definitely fun. i can't wait to make more!

      Delete
  3. Awww bummer that they didn't work as well as you had hoped! At least you have some pretty candles to use around the house now. Using a fan is such a "duh!" solution for annoying mosquitoes - I'm going to try that the next time we BBQ :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i seriously had hoped they would repel them 100%. but even if they didn't they did work somewhat. :) and it's nice to have glowing lights. hehe. i'm seriously going to try the fan too. i have never heard of that before!

      Delete
  4. The mosquitoes nowadays are so vicious!!! Relentless. At least it helped somewhat Jane! I've never made candles before. Yours came out beautifully! Maybe make them stronger? Piri was looking up like what are you concocting!?! Lol Too cute!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. they are! i think i'll definitely make them stronger next time. watch.. knowing me i'll end up using the entire bottle of citronella. i should be careful. i may chase away not only the mosquitos but our entire neighborhood! :)

      Delete
  5. thank you- i think I'l give that a go :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Even if they don't work, they are super pretty and I LOVE the mismatched jars. So you made a gorgeous decoration anyway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes! i love mismatched things - jars, chairs :) something charming about them.

      Delete
  7. They are pretty! I'm sorry you still got bitten. :P Piri's curious fur face in that photo is so cute!

    ReplyDelete
  8. this is so useful! and they look really lovely which is a bonus :) we don't really get many mosquitos around here, but i might try and make a mini to take with us to the south of france next month as I definitely get bitten there! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i hope you make your mini candle!

      Delete
  9. Jane and I definitely laughed out loud at the caption with Piri! The candles look really pretty even if they didn't work 100% You know how there is always that one person in a group who gets bitten more than everyone else? Well that's me. I cover myself in horrid chemicals, sit right next to the incense and citronella candles and still get bitten! At night in summer, if we leave our windows open we definitely put on our pedestal fan to stop the mossies. A few sneaky ones buzz near my ears, every now and again but I say overall the fan is definitely the best method :) If I'm out trekking in a mossie prone area, I grab a big leaf and swing it around me too - I guess it's the same concept as the fan :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hahaha. yangkyu is that person for us. he gets bitten mercilessly! i should post the picture one day but he sat down and then placed the citronella candles around him. it looked like some scene out of a fantasy style anime. hilarious. but i guess nothing will prevent mosquito bites 100%. a little of everything may help lessen the situation. i'm definitely going to try out the fan. i have never heard of it before!

      Delete
  10. How cool and two thumbs up for you for making these candles. You can even venture out to make other fragrant candles after this. Mosquitoes are so aggressive during summer. I have had many bites to the point I dont want to go out in a backyard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. they are so aggressive! but the candle making was definitely fun. i can't wait to make more using different oils. and also beeswax.

      Delete
  11. Sorry it didn't work out as well as we had hoped! Great job making them -- now you have a foundation to make your lavender scented candles :) & that's such a simple, yet brilliant idea -- a FAN! Nice. I'm going to use that trick next time!

    ReplyDelete
  12. How cute! I don't know if you've always done DIY projects here on the blog, but I'm lovin' these posts man. Sucks that the candles didn't work as you intended but they are still beautiful so that counts for something. A fan sounds simple and interesting lol, let me know how that goes because that could be a cool way to keep the bugs away during bbqs and such

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ughhh mosquitoes are definitely the worst! Only the strongest chemical sprays for me and Ryon - we're trying to avoid West Nile here

    ReplyDelete
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love this post! I do this too :)

    Ah in Italy, I saw some people making them in foil pie dishes -----citronella candle pies!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a great DIY and I love that there's no harsh chemicals :). I've heard of sitting by a fan but then you don't get to enjoy the natural breeze! We use smoking sticks (?) that make our deck smell like a Buddhist temple for repellant ;).

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh! love the mismatched jars! :) I had the best mosquito bite prevention which was having Dani by my side ;) since they preferred him to me I was safe, but I'm not sure why things have lately turned sides and I am now the one getting all their attention :S Nevertheless I love to have citronella candles around when eating outside it just makes it more summer?

    ReplyDelete

Latest Instagrams

© Winding Ridge Lane . Design by Fearne.