With summer winding down, we're planning to spend as much time outside as possible: on the deck, in the yard, at the beach, by the pool — you name it, we're doing it. One of our favorite ways to hang al fresco is with friends, with something cold in hand and the bounty of the season's produce on the table.
Of course, nothing puts a damper on an outdoor party like unwelcome guests of the biting variety. So, if you're planning one last hurrah (or a few), forget the flowers and opt for these mason jar citronella candles.
Not only will they help keep those pesky bugs at bay, they're also perfectly pretty table decor. Even better, you've probably already got the majority of ingredients on hand and can prep the candles while you're preparing dinner.
What's in Citronella Candles?
The most important ingredient is citronella essential oil, which comes from the leaves and stems of Cymbopogon, or lemongrass. Best known for its insect-repelling abilities, the plant-based oil is also used in aromatherapy and, because of its antibacterial properties, in household soaps, cleaners, and detergents. You can find two main varieties, Ceylon (from Cymbopogon nardus) and Java (Cymbopogon winterianus), at the health food store or online.
Mosquito repellant herbs such as rosemary, catnip, lavender, basil, peppermint, or lemon balm are also great to use, as are citrus fruit — bugs hate citrus!
How To Make Citronella Candles
Makes two candles
What You Need
Fresh herbs such as rosemary, catnip, lavender, basil, peppermint, or lemon balm
2 mason jars
10 to 20 drops citronella essential oil
2 floating candles
- Prep your ingredients: Slice lemons and cut lime wedges, and choose a handful of mosquito repellant herbs such as rosemary, catnip, lavender, basil, peppermint, or lemon balm, cut down to the size of your jar.
- Fill the jars with water and citronella oil: Fill each jar 3/4 of the way full with tap water, then add in 10-20 drops of citronella essential oil.
- Add herbs and citrus: Add the herbs first, then top off with lemons and lime wedges.
- Add floating candles: Last, add a floating candle to each jar, light, and enjoy your bug-free time outdoors!
- This citronella candle isn't nearly as strong as your citronella oil-filled tiki torch, so be sure to place quite a few of them on the table in order to be effective.