How to Make DIY Citronella Candles

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Looking for an easy chemical free way to keep bugs away? These step by step instructions for DIY citronella candles are cute and effective!

Mason jar with citronella liquid hanging from tree

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor projects! I love finding ways to decorate my home on the outside that don’t cost a lot of money!

Our front deck was one of the biggest projects we undertook in our 30 years in our home before the divorce. From a tiny little stoop to a large and inviting deck, this outdoor space created so much new curb appeal!

Front deck with colorful accessories

The one thing that always distracted us and made our time outside unpleasant? You guessed it! Mosquitoes! So I found a solution to scare away those nasty pests and use all natural ingredients!

Citronella oil is a plant-based insect repellant that can be used to create a natural bug spray that gets the job done! This project doesn’t require a double boiler, melted candle wax or even an oven!

Cue the cute mason jar mosquito repellent candles! (See how I used them in my ranch style house on the front deck.)


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Pint mason jars (or these cute ones with handles)
Citronella torch fuel
1/8″ lamp wicks 
Phillips head screwdriver or a nail punch

supplies for Citronella Candles


Step 1: Use a pint-sized mason jar lid and punch a hole from the bottom in the center of the lid.

This allows for easier installation of the wick. This will help keep the wick upright. Also make sure you don’t punch a hole in the surface the lid is laying on!

adding hole to mason jar lid for Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings

Step 2: Push and twist the wick through the hole in the lid leaving 1/8 inch exposed.

creating hold in mason jar lid for Citronella Candles

Second option:

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

taping end of wick for Citronella Candles

This aided in pulling the rope through the opening.

pulling wick through mason jar lid

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

However, these created larger flames, and I wasn’t comfortable with this (especially with a new deck I didn’t want to see burned down!) so we chose to go with a smaller wick.

Step 3: Pour the citronella torch fuel into the jar.

pouring Citronella into mason jar for Candles

This is the citronella torch fuel we use and love.

Step 4: Screw on the lid and ring and pull the wick through.

That’s it! This DIY craft is both cute and easy!

Citronella Candles with wick
lighted DIY Citronella Candle on table

Some tips for making citronella candles

  • A smaller wick will give you a smaller flame!
  • The rubber outer ring on the lid will melt with exposure to heat and may become difficult to remove. Let it cool before replacing and keep extra lids on hand!
  • The citronella oil changed colors with exposure to sunlight.
  • You can use any size jar, from baby food, to pint to quart.
top of  Citronella Candles

What size jar should you use?

For my oldest daughter’s baby gender reveal we used baby food jars for the tables in the yard. Perfect addition to an outdoor party!

A close up of baby food jars with blue liquid

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

3 Citronella Candles  on outdoor table

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

lit Citronella Candle on table
set of 2 diy citronella candles on outdoor table

You can even hang the citronella candles from a sturdy tree branch on your patio or deck. Be careful and don’t leave them unattended and create a fire hazard or danger!

citronella jar hanging on tree limb

FAQs about DIY citronella candles

Blue mason jars add to the outdoor ambience or use repurposed glass jars for containers. Think smaller with baby food jars or pint-sized jars that are the perfect size for any outdoor space.

Essential oils are a long-used solution for annoying insects. Eucalyptus wards off ticks while ants hate peppermint oil. Citronella oil is extracted from a grass related to lemongrass and is a common ingredient in bug sprays. Once the scent is in the air, mosquitoes keep their distance.

Exercise caution when burning and don’t leave them unattended, especially near children and pets.

DIY Citronella Candles

Looking for an easy chemical free way to keep bugs away? These step by step instructions for DIY citronella candles are cute and effective!
Keyword DIY Citronella Candles


  • 1 pack Pint or quart sized mason jars with lids
  • 1 bottle Citronella fuel
  • pkg 1/8" lamp wicks
  • 1 Phillips head screwdriver
  • 1 Hammer


  • Use a pint-sized mason jar lid and punch a hole from the bottom in the center of the lid.
  • Push and twist the wick through the hole in the lid leaving 1/8 inch exposed.
  • Pour the citronella torch fuel into the jar.
  • Screw on the lid and ring and pull the wick through.
  • Some tips for making citronella candles


DIY mason jar citronella candles with blue jar on table

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  1. On the original post in the cat candle holder, that looks like a wax candle. Do you have a tutorial on how to make those with mosquito repellent?

  2. I really like this idea. My question is I’m concerned about moving the wick. As it burns does the wick naturally pull itself up or do I have to stop and adjust the wick to keep it burning?

    1. Hi, Jennifer. You would let the wick burn down and then when it’s cool enough pull it back through the top. The wicks last a pretty decent amount of time. If you’re using them for an event I would try one ahead of time and get a good idea of how it works for you. Hope this helps!

    1. Hi, Shirley. You just use them as you would any other candle. I wouldn’t leave them sitting out unattended for large chunks of time. Hope this helps!

    1. Hi, Becky. I’ve never added a scent to the candles but I don’t think it would effect the citronella fuel. Let me know if you try it and how it works!

  3. 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?

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

  5. Pingback: 56 New Ways to Repurpose a Mason Jar This Summer | Interesting News
  6. I have a question. Do you suggest the rubber ring be removed when making citronella candles? Waiting to hear from you.

    Thanks, Mary

    1. 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!

  7. 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!