We’re smack dab in the middle of grilling season and spending a whole lot of time outdoors but the insects are rampant this time of year and if there’s one thing that can ruin an outdoor gathering quickly, it’s mosquitoes (flies too)! Not only have we been battling the flying insects outside, but we’ve been battling them inside too. If you’re curious to know how we handle them inside the house, be sure to check out this post here.
To make our time outside more enjoyable, I thought a giant citronella candle on our patio table would help or at least deter them while we ate. I found a couple planters on clearance at Target and used one to make a succulent arrangement (also for outside) and the other is what I used to DIY a giant (really, really big) candle. Here’s what you’ll need to DIY your own candle:
- Planter or vessel of some sort
- Soy wax flakes
- Medium sized sauce pan (preferably with pour spouts)
- Silicone spatula
- Essential oils – I used Geranium & Lavender but Citronella is a great option too
To start, adhere your wicks to the bottom of your vessel. The wicks that I ordered came with sticky tabs to help keep them in place. Placing one in the middle is always the best starting point and depending on the size of your vessel, you may need to add more to the perimeter for optimal burning. I ended up with 7.
Next, use tape to secure your wicks in place and keep them upright.
After your vessel is prepped and ready, it’s time to melt the wax. Using your sauce pot, and silicone spatula, melt the wax in stages on the stove until the wax flakes reach a completely liquid state.
Add 10 or so drops of your chosen essential oils and stir until they are completely incorporated. More drops = stronger fragrance and a little more potent to keep those insects away. After a little bit of research, I opted against using citronella and used about 10 drops of geranium and 10 drops of lavender instead per wax batch for my DIY candle. Both Geranium and Lavender not only repel mosquitoes, but flies too…which are just as prevalent and annoying this time of year.
Once the wax is melted and the oils are mixed in, carefully pour your mixture in between the tape strips and into the vessel. You’ll need to repeat these steps until the vessel is filled to the top with your melted wax. For a container this size, I ended up using the entire 10 lb bag of soy flakes which equated to about 6 batches on the stove. I told you this was a giant candle!
Next, set your vessel aside and allow the wax to cool & harden. You’ll be tempted, but do not move, shake, or jostle it! Patience is the key here! Due to the size of mine, it took all night to solidify!
Once the wax is hardened and has turned white, it’s time to trim the wicks!
Lastly, light and enjoy a bug free dinner al fresco!
Pro tip: when burning your candle (especially so the first time) be sure to allow your candle to burn long enough so that the top layer of wax is completely melted. This will ensure that your candle burns evenly every time!