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Bug Off, Naturally: Terracotta Pot Citronella Candles

Nothing ruins a summer party more quickly than unwanted guests like mosquitoes and other biting insects! These terracotta pot citronella candles not only keep pests away but they also make a great summer table decoration.

Terracotta citronella candles

The citronella scent sends annoying bugs flying in the opposite direction, so these pretty candles are perfect additions to your outdoor table for summer evenings on the patio that you want to enjoy itch free. Ah, the power of nature.

citronella candles to ward off bugs

These candles are made using real terracotta pots which means they have drainage holes in the bottom that need to be sealed with a material that won’t melt or leak molten wax. Once you’ve done that, the steps to make the candle are the same as any other container candle: melt the wax, add color and fragrance, and pour into a container prepared with a wick.

citronella candles in terracotta pots

The wicks for this project are wider than you would normally use for a container of this diameter. Use a wick that is considered too large for the container to increase the amount of smoke the candle produces. The right size wick will burn a candle all the way to the edges of the container without creating a lot of extra smoke. Because these candles are meant to keep pests away and will be burned outdoors, choose a larger wick than would normally be appropriate.

Makes three 2.5” clay pot candles



Make it!

Seal up the holes of each of the clay pots by placing a few pieces of electrical tape at the very bottom inside of the pot to cover up the hole.

seal drainage holes

Flip the pot over and fill the hole with silicone sealer. Cut a round of cork sheet into a circle that will fit inside the bottom rim of the pottery. Use a hot glue gun to attach the cork to the bottom of the pot once the silicone has completely dried.

fill drainage hole with silicone sealer

Melt one pound of soy wax flakes in a double boiler and add a thermometer. While the wax is melting, measure the citronella oil and attach the wick to the inner bottom of the clay pot using hot glue.

flowerpot candle supplies

When the melted wax has reached the specified temperature for adding dye or scent oil (i.e.: 160°F—see the instructions that came with your wax), add the citronella oil.

adding citronella oil to wax for candles

Stir well for one full minute to make sure that the oil gets fully mixed into the wax.

combining melted wax and citronella oil

Set the candles in a metal tray to protect your work surface from spills or leaks. Cool the wax to 140°F and pour into each of the three candles ½” from the top.

let candles set with wicks propped

Allow the wax to dry completely untouched in a warm room. When the candles are dry, trim the wicks to ¼”above the wax.

trim candle wicks

Give it!

A set of three citronella candles set in a in a nest of reindeer moss and chicken wire has the right feel for the outdoors. The basket can be brought out to the entertaining space easily and it makes a thoughtful garden party gift. Not only will these candles light up the night, but they will keep only the desired party guests in attendance.

set of three handmade citronella candles

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