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Citronella CAN-dles

Tonight the mosquitoes have decided that it’s time for a feast and, not one to give up a fight, I made citronella CANdles this year to keep those buggers away.


DIY: This easy project can be simply done in an hour if you have some cans, some wax (old candle nubs will do just fine), and some citronella oil. The most difficult part is finding the right wick for your wax. There is a science to this, so it is best to visit your local candle or craft store and ask for the right combination for proper melting. I like a large pool of wax and a good amount of citronella aroma so in the larger cans I added 2 or 3 wicks.

So far it is working perfectly. Enjoying the garden in the evening without swatting those pests away is a lovely thing.

About the Author : Stephanie Rose

A city girl who learned to garden and it changed everything. Author, artist, Master Gardener. Better living through plants.

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  1. Kat
    KatAugust 6,11

    Great idea Stevie. I’ll have to remember this the next time I plan something in the evenings outdoors. I’m really surprised, however, that with all the rain we did have we aren’t being eaten alive by mosquitoes. But so far so good.

  2. Deb Weyrich-Cody
    Deb Weyrich-CodyAugust 13,11

    Hi Stevie, Thanks for the great idea. I’ll be doing this as a winter project (maybe even for Christmas CANdles; ) Also loving your CANdleCaddy! Is that an old milk bottle caddy?
    P.S. Did your tomatoes ever recover from the great wireworm invasion?

    • Stevie
      StevieAugust 15,11

      You’re welcome, Deb!

    • Stevie
      StevieAugust 15,11

      Oh, and I bought the caddy at a thrift store without knowing what it was used for in it’s past life, or what I would use it for in the future. It fits the cans perfectly and helps me easily move them for storage when it’s rainy or at night.

      And, yes, I captured enough wire worms to save my tomatoes. Just starting to get some ripe ones now. Yum!

  3. Jennifer
    JenniferMarch 19,12

    great idea and i’m sure much more affordable that buying cintrolella candles at big box stores. where can you find cintronella oil though?

  4. Stevie
    StevieMarch 19,12

    Jennifer, where do you live? if you are local I can recommend a place.

    You need quite a bit of the oil but it’s cheap. For 6 candles I used about 6oz.

    Here is an 8 oz bottle of pure citronella oil you can buy online: http://amzn.to/w0TRZY if you happen to be in the US.

  5. Connie
    ConnieMay 22,12

    Love this idea! We are moving into our first house and we do have Geters as we say down here. You mention checking about the wicks..Am I looking for slow burning ones?

    • Stevie
      StevieMay 22,12

      Thanks, Connie. When I was in the candle store, they picked out the right size wick for each of my cans for me. I’ll be making these again this year and I’ll write a full tutorial on it with wick size measurements. In the meantime, head on over to your local craft store and ask the staff what the suggest. It’s not about them being slow burning, it’s just getting the right size so that you get a pool of wax that melts evenly. No one likes candles that don’t melt along the edges, or worse, on only one side. They will quickly smother themselves and be wasted.

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