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How to Make Citronella Candles: Perfect DIY for Summer!

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These easy and inexpensive DIY citronella candles are easy to make, look adorable in mason jars and help get rid of bugs! Perfect summer craft!

 DIY citronella candles shown on outdoor table

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!

 Deck Reveal with wicker patio furniture and red cushions - Marty's Musings

Just as with the inside, I shop yard sales and thrift stores, finding decorative elements and unique pots for my plants.

Honestly, though? I really don’t like digging in the dirt much. I love the finished look of beautiful plants but dirt under the nails? Not so much!

But like many other things, I do it because I love the result!

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

set of 2 diy citronella candles on outdoor table

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 our mason jar chandelier, gifts in a jar, and even our family blessing jar.)

How to Make Citronella Candles

Notes about this DIY project:

  • Citronella oil is a plant-based insect repellant.
  • Use mason jars or repurposed glass jars for containers.
  • Baby food jars make excellent small candles for display.
  • Pint-sized jars are the perfect size for decks, porches, and yard.
  • Jars can be decorated if desired.
  • Perfect for housewarming gifts or new neighbors.
  • Exercise caution when burning and don’t leave it unattended.

Materials Needed for Citronella Candles:

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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 - Marty's Musings

Instructions for Citronella Candles:

Step 1:

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.

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 - Marty's Musings

Step 3: Fill the jar with citronella torch fuel.

pouring Citronella into mason jar for Candles - Marty's Musings

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!

Citronella Candles with wick - Marty's Musings

The citronella oil changed colors with exposure to sunlight.

3 Citronella Candles  on outdoor table - 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.

lighted DIY Citronella Candle on table - Marty's Musings

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 - Marty's Musings

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

taping end of wick for Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings

This aided in pulling the rope through the opening.

pulling wick through mason jar lid- 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.

A smaller wick will give you a smaller flame!

Regardless, 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!

top of  Citronella Candles - Marty's Musings

For your safety, don’t leave citronella candles unattended!

citronella jar hanging on tree limb

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

Deck Reveal with wicker furniture and red cushions - Marty's Musings

our wood deck restoration

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

, and how we stained our wood deck.

deck decorated for fall - Marty's Musings

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

chairs around firepit in the Backyard - Marty's Musings

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  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. Pingback: 56 New Ways to Repurpose a Mason Jar This Summer | Interesting News
  4. I made some & gave away & one of them broke from the heat, are they acceptable to break?

  5. 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?

    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!

    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!

  6. 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!

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