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How to Make Citronella Candles

Have you ever wondered how to make citronella candles? We use citronella candles every time we sit outdoors on our patio at the lake. Without them, the biting insects make for an unpleasant time.

Instead of buying new citronella candles this year, I made my own. This project ended up being fun and easy.

Homemade Citronella candle in an upcycled floral dish garden pot

I’m sharing DIY citronella candles for this month’s Thrifty Style Team project hosted by Julie of Redhead Can Decorate.

Don’t miss all of the spring projects shared this month! You’ll find links to visit each project at the end of this post.

How to Make Citronella Candles

I made four citronella candles, a trio of three to use on our patio at the lake, and a single candle for my mom to use on her 1912 home’s porch.

This is Mama’s candle. I gave it to her on Mother’s Day and we immediately put it on a stool beside her chaise lounge on one of her porches to light and enjoy when she’s on the porch in the evening time.

Homemade Citronella candle on an antique stool with potted flowers in the background

Mama’s candle holder is a florist dish that originally held a dish garden that I received for my birthday last year. The plants in the dish garden outgrew the container and this spring I transplanted each plant to its own pot.

The leftover florist dish made a great candle holder.

The frog below the stool is an antique and belonged to my grandmother.

I photographed the trio of candles that will be used at the lake on Mama’s porch on Mother’s Day.

Three homemade Citronella candles on a wicker coffee table on a porch

The trio is purchased citronella candles from a few years ago. I put them in the freezer to remove the wax remnants, cleaned the containers, and used the containers to make new candles to enjoy.

Trio of homemade Citronella candles

Supplies Needed

Supplies to make homemade candles

I bought way more wax than I needed which is nice because when Mama and my candles no longer burn, I can easily refill them for us.


I made my candles in my kitchen and the first thing that I did was put a large sheet of cardboard on my kitchen counter to protect it from wax spills.

Add Wicks to the Candle Holders

I then heated up my glue gun to add candle wicks to my containers. My handy glue gun holder is a DIY from a few years ago.

Supplies to make homemade Citronella candles

I glued one candle wick into each of the small containers and three into the larger container.

Hot gluing candle wicks to empty containers to make homemade candles

Some of the wicks didn’t stand straight on their own, so I hot glued them to skewers.

This was an experiment that didn’t work as well as I had hoped. I found that when I poured the wax into the containers, the heat of the wax melted the glue causing the wick and skewer to separate. I recommend using a clothespin or binder clip over hot glue.

Candle wicks in a group of empty candle containers

Measure Wax

To make the candles, I melted the wax in one pound increments. I chose one pound because each pound of wax requires 2 T of citronella oil to make a citronella candle.

I don’t have a modern scale but this ancient one that I inherited from my grandmother worked like a charm.

Soy wax in a plastic bag with an antique kitchen scale

I used a piece of plastic from my recycle bin to hold the wax as I measured one pound.

One pound of soy wax

Melt the Wax

I use this double boiler that I inherited from my grandmother for crafts.

Melting soy candle wax in a double boiler

Melt the wax over medium heat, stirring occasionally. I recommend wearing safety glasses when working with hot wax.

Melting soy candle wax in a double boiler

Add Citronella Oil to the Wax

Once the wax is melted, add two tablespoons of citronella oil.

Adding Citronella essential oil to candle wax

Feel free to add other essential oil scents to the melted wax. I added several drops of Doterra Harvest Spice Gathering Blend to each pound of wax that I melted.

When Mama unwrapped her candle on Mother’s Day, she immediately commented on how good the candle smelled.

Pour Wax Into Containers

Carefully pour wax into the containers.

Pouring melted soy wax in candle holders to make homemade Citronella candles

It took four pounds of wax to fill my four containers. You can see that candle making was messy for me. I was very glad that I protected my countertop with a sheet of cardboard.

Making homemade Citronella candles - wax poured into the containers

Let the candles cool.

Trim the Wicks

The last step was to trim each wick to 1/4″.

Cutting candle wicks when making a homemade Citronella candle

I had so much fun making these citronella candles and I can’t wait to light them for the first time on our lakeside patio.

Now it’s time to enjoy the projects that my Thrifty Style Team friends are sharing this month. Click on the links below to enjoy all of the ideas shared.

Photo collage of 14 Thrifty DIY Home Decor Project for Summer

Redhead Can Decorate – Lily of the Valley Green Ball Jar Centerpiece
The Painted Hinge – How to Repurpose a Cabinet Door to Add More Depth and Interest to Framed Art
DIY Beautify – How to Upcycle a Berry Wreath
2 Bees In A Pod – Decoupage Vase with Napkins – Dollar Tree Project
The How To Home – DIY Hurricane Candle
Sweet Pea – How to Make Citronella Candles
What Meegan Makes – Vintage Embroidery Hoop Shadow Box
I Should Be Mopping The Floor – 5 Ways to Display Free Printables
Lora B. Create & Ponder – Upcycled Old Garden Fencing Cloche How To
White Arrows Home – Vintage Brooch Magnets
Our Crafty Mom – Round Side Table Makeover With Napkins
Chas’ Crazy Creations – DIY Candle Holders
Cottage On Bunker Hill – DIY Cottage Garden Tower
Vinyet Etc – DIY Plant Stands From Vintage Stools


    1. Thank you, Cindy! I have loads of vintage flower pots that also would make great candle containers.

  1. I’ve never thought of doing this Paula, but it makes total sense! So many times I come inside because the bugs are so bad! I love that you can use different oils to make your own unique scents! Pinned 😉

  2. I have been meaning to try making my own candles and now I just want to do it! Thanks so much for this tutorial:) Now to hope for warm weather to sit on the porch!!

  3. I had no idea it was so easy to make citronella candles, Paula. Thanks for the tutorial and I hope you’ll share this at Party In Your PJ’s.

  4. That is crazy good! I love a tutorial I can easily follow and those containers are so beautiful. Normally, I’m all about red, but this season I’ve been leaning into green and teal a little more. So pretty!

    1. Thank you so much for pinning, Carol. It’s such a great way for bloggers to support each other. I always have to wrap my head around the fact that you are in the opposite season from me. I hope your fall is a beautiful one.

  5. Thank you for the tutorial, Paul. This is much easier than I thought. I am looking forward to making some for my back porch. I really like the vessel you have chosen, as well.
    I hope you are feeling well and healthy.

  6. Thanks for sharing this , Paula! I used to make candles in 4-H and back when I first started my herb business. This was a great reminder that I could do this now, also! I love how you recycled your containers!

    1. Thank you, Marie! I hope that warm weather will soon arrive in Canada so you can enjoy outdoor time.

  7. What a great idea and I love how they turned out. Thank you so much for sharing, I need these too!. Wonderful hoping with you and I hope you have a great weekend.

    1. It is a surprise that you vintage loving friend didn’t use a vintage container! I do have lots and lots of vintage flower pots that would make great candle containers.

  8. I didn’t realize that you can make citronella candles, Paula. I love how you can choose your own decorative containers if you make your own. What a great Mother’s Day gift! I definitely want to make some for our patio this year. Thanks for sharing the great tutorial. Pinned! I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling better, too.

  9. I’ve been meaning to make some candles (I bought the supplies a while back) but I never thought of making Citronella ones, let alone in pretty ceramic pieces like you did! They are so pretty and perfect for keeping the bugs away this time of year. So happy to be part of this super fun blog hop with you!

  10. Paula!

    I love this! I actually have 2 containers that I keep because I love them, but I don’t know what to do with them! THIS IS PERFECTION!!!! I LOVE THIS IDEAS!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. I’ve never made candles by myself before, but the idea of using vintage containers makes me want to do it. I love that you can come up with your own scents, & citronella is definitely a good idea for summer!

    1. Thank you, Lora! I know you have a ton of vintage flower pots that would make perfect candles.

  12. What a fun project. This may be something I try with my girls over the summer. I have lots of containers I can repurpose.

    1. I think your girls would have a blast making these. They even could not use citronella but other scents and make them for Christmas gifts for their friends.

  13. Wow Paula – this is a great idea! We have made candles in the past, but never thought to create citronella candles. With the newest addition to our family, this will be perfect to use when we take the baby out to the porch. Love your containers too! Thanks for sharing.

  14. This project came at the perfect time. I lost all of my citronella plants to our weird Texas winter and none are to be had around town. Looks like I’ll be making some lovely candles, instead! Thank you for the beautiful inspiration, Paula! xoxo

    1. That Texas freeze was something. I’m so sorry that you lost your citronella plants and can imagine that they weren’t the only things that the cold killed. I hope you successfully make candles to keep those biting pesks away this summer.

  15. This is awesome! I was just looking at a citronella candle at Target and debating if it was worth the $35 lol. I would much rather make one!

    1. Gosh. I didn’t realize that a citronella candle was so expensive. I’m now very happy that I made my own!

  16. Who knew? I certainly didn’t. But it would make sense that there would be citronella oil for candle-making. I am certainly going to order some and give this a try!

    Thanks bunches for this tip and the great tutorial!

    1. Thank you so much, Kristin! I hope you and your family enjoy every minute of lake time this summer.

  17. I love how detailed your tutorial is and it’s the perfect time to make citronella candles! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!

  18. They look fabulous, makes me wonder why I buy them now!
    And thank you for the mess photo, never fails to make me feel better to see people’s mess.
    Your candles will be featured at Handmade Monday this week 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for the feature, Julie! I am very good at making a mess while doing a project. 🙂

  19. Girl, I could have sworn I commented on this already, but these are so great, is deserves another ‘try’ (in my own mind, at the very least!). Love the upcycled holder you used for your mom’s handmade citronella candle (I feel weird saying ‘your mom’ instead of using her name! LOL!) And the reused ones you have at the lake are perfect, too! Pinned, and I’m thrilled to be featuring you at Tuesday Turn About!

    1. I love that you have been to the exact two places where these candles are now being enjoyed so you can picture them being in use. Thank you for featuring me at Tuesday Turn About.

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