Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

June 23, 2016

Make Your Own DIY Citronella Candles for Summer

When I made my first batch of DIY poured soy candles, I didn't add any essential oils because I was addicted to the clean smell of the soy wax.  It was such a nice break from the heavily perfumed candles I had purchased in the past.  But then I made an Earl Grey tea scented candle that had such a fabulously light and delicate scent, so I started thinking about making some other scented candles.  While perusing Amazon, a bottle of citronella oil caught my eye and it dawned on me that I could make my own citronella candles for summer!

How to Make Citronella Candles

Full disclosure: we don't often get a lot of bugs living beside Lake Superior.  So far I've only seen - and been bitten by - one mosquito this year.  We sometimes get a couple of buggy weeks, but usually the breeze from the lake keeps them at bay (pun intended).  Out of habit, I like to light a citronella candle in the evening anyway, largely because I love the smell - it reminds me of summer!  Plus it does deter the occasional mosquito from snacking on us.  Because I tend to...burn through them (I'm on fire with the puns today), I thought it would be fun, and cost-effective, to make my own.

DIY Citronella Candles

Candle-making requires some precision and patience, but after making a few batches, I have to say that it is incredibly fun!  Being able to turn random, discarded kitchen wares into useful, beautiful candles is really satisfying.  Once you have the supplies rounded up, it becomes easier - and cheaper - to keep churning out homemade candles.


I won't bore you by repeating the candle-making instructions because my post about the Earl Grey Tea scented soy candle has step-by-step photos and instructions.  I followed those instructions to the letter.  Once the wax had been heated to 185F, I let it cool to about 135F before adding the citronella essential oil.  It's important to let the wax cool because if the essential oil is added when the wax is too hot, it can just evaporate!

I have read that the general guide for making scented candles is about 75 drops of essential oil per pound of wax.  I think that with citronella candles, it's better to be more generous!  I almost doubled that guideline, but you can experiment with an amount that's effective but not overpowering for you.  If you've been underwhelmed by store bought citronella candles before, check the labels.  It turns out that some store bought candles are simply scented with citronella and do not actually contain the essential oil, which is the key ingredient for keeping those mosquitoes away. 

Homemade Citronella Candles
DIY Citronella Oil Poured Soy Candles
Poured Soy Candles in French Onion Soup Pots
Easy Poured Soy Candles
Summer Soy Citronella Candles

I absolutely love the citronella candles I made because I re-purposed little French Onion soup bowls I found at the municipal landfill and the handles make them perfect for moving them around.  I'm so happy I saves these little bowls from being thrown away!

DIY poured soy tea cup candle

If you want to make your own citronella candles, check out my tutorial for making soy candles and just swap out the bergamot essential oil (in my tea cup candle, above) for citronella

How to make soy candles

And check out this post about my other batch of DIY poured soy candles for more inspiration for upcycling old glassware into sparkling new candles!

DIY Poured Soy + Citronella Oil Candles for Summer // Summer DIY Projects


  1. These are absolutely adorable......! You make it sound pretty easy to DIY candles, hmmm. I'm a candle fan---seem to look for softer lighter scents now that my hubs and I have our home---haha.

    Amy in MN

    1. You might like candle making! It's so nice being able to control how strong the scent is - plus you can customize color, the container... It's fun too!

  2. I LOVE these with the little handles! We don't get many mosquitoes down here but they've been warning us to keep a watch out for the little buggers (ha) this summer. Thanks for the DIY instructions!

    1. Happy to help! Hopefully they don't ...BUG you this summer! Finger crossed for you :)

  3. I live in central Alberta and we get a TON of mosquitos. They are particularly bad this year because we had such a mild winter and the weather has been unseasonably hot all spring. I was outside for five minutes yesterday and was bitten five times! I'm also one of those people that get huge welts and one time a mosquito bit the corner of my eyelid and my eye swelled closed... but enough with the sob stories. I've been researching mosquito deterrents and I never even thought of making my own citronella candles. What a great idea! I likely will have to just buy them for now though since I have two very small children who are always underfoot. It sounds like you have some experience with candle buying - any citronella ones that you recommend? Great post as always!

    1. Oh no, what a terrible price to pay for a mild winter and hot spring! I haven't ever tried the same citronella brand twice but I always look for one from a natural/organic shop - something with citronella oil and not just the scent, and hopefully something less toxic. The more oil, the better! A local farmer's market might have a candle maker churning these out for summer. The last one I bought was a chunky one with three wicks, which is how I made these.

  4. I always have citronella candles outside to keep the mozzies away so this are a great little project! I love the candle holders you've used too :)

    1. It's so cute you call them "mozzies" - I love that!

  5. It's like someone knows you love all things turquoise and auqua and fills that good neighbor shed with items just for you lol

    1. Haha, it does seem like that! A couple of neighbours have seen my aqua kitchen, so maybe word has spread ;P I should leave a donation box at the end of my driveway, lol.

  6. Replies
    1. Definitely! If you make these in a mason jar, you can screw on the lid for easy transport.

  7. I will definitely be making some of these since I have a 10# bag of soy flakes myself and loads of essential oils. Love your little ramekins.


You've made my day - I love hearing from you! I approve comments only to keep out the spam, so don't worry if your comment doesn't pop up right away.

© Dans le Lakehouse | All rights reserved.
See What Inspires Me on Pinterest