How to Make Citronella Candles

Many folks rely on citronella candles to keep mosquitoes at bay. These homemade citronella candles are simple, inexpensive, and fun to make!

Do citronella candles work? Well, don’t expect a single candle on a huge patio to be your golden ticket to eliminating mosquitoes. But in a controlled area, with enough candles, studies have shown that they do make a difference. In our opinion, every little bit helps when it comes to mosquitoes! Learn how to make citronella candles to dress up your patio while sending mosquitoes on their way.


  • A few clean, dry glass jars
  • Braided candlewick
  • Hot glue
  • Wooden dowel pieces
  • Wooden clothespins
  • Natural soy wax chips
  • Double boiler
  • Old crayons or wax dye
  • Citronella essential oil, found at natural food stores (not citronella-scented oil)

Step-By-Step Instructions:

Step 1

For each jar, cut a braided wick a few inches longer than the jar’s height. (You can find wicks at a craft store or wherever you’d find candle-making supplies.) Carefully dab a bit of hot glue to one end of the wick. Adhere glued end to the bottom center of your jar. When the glue is set, wrap excess wick around the dowel and top with a clothespin to keep it out of the way of the hot wax.

Step 2

Pour wax chips into your double boiler, following the package instructions to melt the wax. As an alternative, you can make quicker work of this project by using microwavable soy wax chips instead. These are fairly inexpensive and are available at many craft stores. If you go this route, be sure to use a microwave-safe bowl.

Step 3

To color your candles, peel the paper off the crayons and chop them up. (The more crayons you use, the deeper the candles’ color will be.) You can also use a wax dye to get your desired color. Either way, drop the dye pieces into melted wax and stir to incorporate.

Step 4

Depending on the candle’s size, add five to 10 drops of citronella essential oil for each candle you’re making. Once the oil is stirred in, carefully pour the wax into your jars, being careful not to disturb the wicks.

Step 5

Allow the wax to cool completely before trimming excess wicks and lighting the candles.