How to Make Your Own Citronella Candles

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 Make your own Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings

This has been the summer of outdoor projects for my hubby and me.

We designed our new deck, had it built on a budget with finish details added by my DIY hubby and decorated by me.

 From Dream to Reality- Our Deck Reveal - Marty's Musings

The one thing that distracts us and makes our time outside unpleasant? You guessed it! Mosquitoes!  

Citronella oil is a plant-based insect repellant that is a must for spending time outside. Since we are self-taught DIYers we knew we could find a way to make candles that were both efficient and pretty.

Cue the mason jars! These all purpose glass jars can be found everywhere on Pinterest (and I’ve written about craft ideas, a mason jar chandelier, gifts in a jar and even our family blessing jar).

Here’s the scoop on how to make your own citronella candles:


Mason jar (or any glass jar) with lid and ring

Citronella torch fuel

1/8″ lamp wicks 

Nail punch, Phillips head screwdriver or a nail


How to Make your own Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings


Using the pint sized mason jars punch a hole from the bottom in the center of the lid. This allows for easier installation of the wick.

How to Make your own Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings

 Push and twist the wick through the hole in the lid leaving 1/8 inch exposed. 

How to Make your own Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings

Fill jar with citronella torch fuel.

 How to Make your own Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings

Screw on the lid and ring and pull the wick through. That’s it!

How to Make your own Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings

The oil changed colors with exposure to sunlight.

How to Make your own Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings

These little candles make a great gift for neighbors or friends and create a warm and inviting ambiance for an outdoor room.

How to Make your own Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings 

Close your eyes and imagine the warm breeze and good company while your homemade citronella candles chase away the bugs! 

How to Make your own Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings

When we first experimented with the wicks we used torch wick replacement and wrapped duct tape at the tip.

How to Make your own Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings

 This aided in pulling the rope through the opening.

How to Make your own Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings

Once the rope was through we just snipped off the duct tape with scissors.

I wasn’t comfortable with the larger flame (especially with a new deck I didn’t want to see burned down!) so we chose to go with a smaller wick. 

Regardless, the rubber ring on the lid will melt with exposure to heat and can become difficult to remove.

How to Make your own Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings

Have you enjoyed a leisurely evening this summer outside with your family?  I’d love for you to share it with me! 

Want to see more of our outdoor projects? Here are all the details on our deck reveal

From Dream to Reality- Our Deck Reveal - Marty's Musings

our wood deck restoration

Wood Deck Restoration with Behr Premium Deckover® - Marty's Musings

and how we stained our wood deck.

How to Stain Your Wood Deck - Marty's Musings

You can also read about our budget friendly backyard patio ideas (which includes a practically free fire pit.)

Spending Time with Family in the Backyard - Marty's Musings

This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. What a great idea! Never thought of making my own citronella candles (though I use them all the time in the summer)…so great, thank you!

  2. Great idea! Pinning!

  3. Love your citronella candle idea!!! We learned growing up from our family GP that if you take a B12 tablet from April to the end of October the mosquitos will leave you alone. Thought fellow pinners might be interested in this awesome tip. :-):-)

  4. I love these – made them myself this summer 🙂

  5. Steve Bronson says:

    Marty, neat idea. However I noticed yours smutted up the top of the seal due to the flame being right on top of it.
    I decided to raise the flame up by using a 1/4′ x 1/2′ aluminum threaded rivet inserted from the inside and compressed. It works like a charm. no smut.

  6. I wonder if I could use the same idea with a different scent! Thanks for the Idea!

  7. But do they really work??

  8. I made over 100 of these last year outdoor fundraisers that I host but they turn into potential fire bombs until they’ve burned off for a while… one caught a picnic table on fire, another started the patio umbrella on fire, & I’m just generally concerned about safety with several thousand people being around them. Are you happy with using 1/8″ wick or would you suggest going even smaller? I use a larger fiberglass wick currently.

    • I would definitely be careful with large crowds. We use these for personal use and since I’m slightly afraid of fire I don’t leave them alone for an instant. I think these wicks worked well for our project, although going even smaller would seem acceptable as well. A smaller wick would mean a smaller hole (in the lid) and also a smaller flame, so your preference is the only guide. I’m guessing you might be using the wicks from a Tiki torch; that large braided one? We did try that and decided it was just too large.

    • Buck Fawkes says:

      You can also put the home made candle in a terra-cotta planter fill with dirt or sand for more stability.

  9. Lynn Van Slyke says:

    Hi there, Love this idea! Have you tried using a ceramic ring instead of the rubber one? I know hobby lobby carries both. Let me know what you think. Im going to buy the supplies today =D Really pays to work at the place that carries all the supplies!! Thanks for sharing.

  10. I take monthly B12 shots too and still get bitten!!!
    I may add more eucaluptus essential oil to it to make it stronger. I can introduce you to doTERRA if you like!

  11. I tried this, but all I could find were the larger wicks. I have it all set up and even tried it out. Great idea! I have just one question… will the glass get too hot and crack? Thanks for your idea!

    • Hi, Kathy. Mason jars are manufactured to withstand the intense heat and pressure of the canning process. This makes them ideal for projects that might expose them to heat. While I have had one or two explode in the canning process, the heat generated from the flame in these candles will likely not be a risk, but that opinion is only based on my experience and not necessarily fact. So proceed with caution if you feel necessary. We do not leave these candles unattended.

  12. I think I would use the mason jars with a Handel on it so your hand is not right on the glass. To me it would be safer. I used the mason jars with handles on them and plastic mason jar lids from Wal mart .i drilled holes in the plastic lid and put thing like salt etc in them. If you have bugs put the flat metal piece in the white lid and pop out when using then put back in. I gave as gifts for this past Christmas gave each family a different coolotrr.

  13. I made these a few nights ago. Last night I decided to try them out. I bought the 1/8 ” wicks and pulled them up about 1/2″. They burned down to the jar lid and then would just burn out. Any idea what I did wrong? Thank you

    • Hi, Monica.The only thing I can think of is that you need to enlarge the hole just a bit. Maybe it’s just getting choked off. Also, make sure you’re not using a waxed wick. Those are for candles and will not draw like a dry braided wick. Good luck!

  14. Tiki torches typically come with covers to protect the wicks in the rain and also to put the torch out. What do you do with your jars when it rains?

  15. Love this idea! And I actually think I could make this (I’m not crafty at all!) 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  16. love this idea! so much easier than making the actual candle!

  17. Love this! much easier. Did you replace the cording once it was done?

  18. Looks awesome and it’s so useful! Love the color too… didn’t know that citronella came in different colors… I’m used to the yellow one! Lovely!

  19. Love this idea, and the different colors are great! Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty – we love partying with you! Hope to see you next Friday. 🙂

    Life With Lorelai

  20. I have a question. Do you suggest the rubber ring be removed when making citronella candles? Waiting to hear from you.

    Thanks, Mary

    • Hi, Mary. That would be a fine idea, in that it will probably make removing the lid for re-fills much easier. With the heat from the flame being so close to the ring, it will not only graft to the jar rim but also break down faster. This is a great question and one I have not gotten yet, nor considered since I have yet to need a re-fill. Thank you!

  21. I made some & gave away & one of them broke from the heat, are they acceptable to break?

  22. This is perfect! Simple but great tip. Thanks for sharing!

  23. I made a bunch of these after I saw them on pinterest however I am having issues with the citronella liquid soaking up the wick and leaking out of the jars when they aren’t in use. anyone else have this issue? any ideas how to stop it?

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