Make Your Own Homemade
Citronella Candles

homemade soy candles made in terracotta pots

Hey all! Hope everyone is having a fantastic week. 

Today, I have the easiest DIY for you… how to make homemade citronella candles. They smell wonderful and are so simple to make!

handmade citronella candles

What You Need to Know

Before every project, I like to do my my research. Oh, and I’m cheap frugal. I like to learn from others experiences and take in as much as I can before starting a project. 

Here’s a list of what I think are the key things to know before you start:

  1. Not all wax is created equal. Wax candles burn at different rates. Paraffin wax burns fast while beeswax burns a little slower. Soy wax burns cooler so it commonly burns 30-50% longer than paraffin. We decided on soy because it is non-toxic, does not contain carcinogens or pollutants which means it’s less likely to trigger allergies. I also liked that it doesn’t put off petrol-carbon soot like you get from petroleum-based paraffin candles. Winner! I later learned that soy is super easy to clean up after too, just use soap and water. Double win!
  2. Don’t panic when looking at fragrance load equations… just keep it simple! 1oz of oil for 16oz (or 1 lb) of wax. Remember the ounces are units of weight, not volume. Now, fragrance oils are NOT essential oils. Essential oils do no put off as much fragrance as essential oils. It’s all in what you’re going for. We wanted a strong smell, so we went with fragrance oils.
  3. Temperature matters! Get yourself a thermometer so you can be accurate. Here are some simple numbers to remember if you’re using soy wax {again, all wax is not created equal!}. Heat wax to 185*F, never over 200 because it will discolor your wax. Add the fragrance oil at 155*F and stir for 2 minutes continuously to evenly distribute the oil in the wax. Then let it cool to 110*F before you pour into your containers.
  4. It’s common to have imperfections on the surface. Air bubbles or pits tend to occur and even after the wax hardens. Don’t worry. You can pop them with a toothpick while the wax is hardening {Nope! It’s worse that watching a pot of water try to boil.} or you can use a blowdryer to melt the top to make a more uniform, pit free, top. Super easy fix!
  5. Candles need to cure. They need a full 24-48 hours before their first light. Fight the urge to light it too soon!
  6. Have fun! mix scents, colors, waxes, and vessels. Do what makes it fun!

What You'll Need

Fragrances:

I was referred to Nature’s Garden {not affiliated} by a friend who had some experience in using different fragrance oils. They have great high quality oils and SO many to scents choose from. Alright, I confess… I went a little overboard and ordered a bunch! They all just sounded so wonderful. 

The Wax and Wicks:

I headed over to Amazon and ordered 10 pounds of 464 Soy wax and 6″ wicks. I linked everything for you guys below.

{However, check out CandleScience {not affiliated} for their inexpensive prices on wax and containers. I compared prices and I noticed {yes, even with shipping} they beat Amazon prices in bulk! Hard to do.}

Containers:

I grabbed a few left over terracotta pots from the house to use as vessels. I figured they would go well with our outdoor space. Honestly, any container would do.

Supplies:

The only other supplies you’ll need to have are a candy thermometer, a food scale, a melting pot you can use just for wax, and pots to make a double boiler. I ordered a melting pot, but honestly you can use any container that can withstand a double boiler. Just remember it will get hot! Avoid “pyrex like” glass measuring containers, they will get too hot to handle safely.

The Process

First, I hot glued the wicks to the bottom of our pots. I made sure to cover the hole at the bottom of the pot so not to spill any wax as it melts.

Thankfully, Natures Garden has a few different tutorials for candle making which was SO helpful. I determined I needed 440g of soy wax flakes to make a 16oz. candles. Actually, I guesstimated that each terracotta pot was approx. 16 oz. Also, I learned that 36g of fragrance oil for 440g of soy wax allows for a strong scent load but not overwhelming. See, I told you… don’t panic about fragrance loads and equations! 

Using a food scale, I measure out our soy flakes and our fragrance oil. I wanted to make sure I was accurate to ensure the wax and fragerance oils would adhere and blend well. Don’t guess folks. 

Making a double boiler, I started melting the wax over medium-high heat. Don’t let the wax exceed 200˚F because it will burn and discolor. The wax melted around 135-145˚F, but still needed time to reach 185˚F. So be patient!

Once the wax hit the desired temp, I took it out of the double boiler and let it cool to 155˚F.

Once cooled to 155˚F, I added our fragrance oil. Making sure I mixed for 2 minutes consistently, ensured the fragrance oil and wax were perfectly blended.

After 2 minutes I let it cool to 110˚F. Now, this took some time. Once it cooled, it was time to pour our mixture into the pots. I decided to use chopsticks to make sure the wicks stayed straight while the wax hardened.

Troubleshooting

After the wax hardened, I started to notice some imperfections on the top of the candles. Bummer! There are a few ways to correct this. I really wanted to see which methods worked best so I tried two different solutions. 

The first method was to use some leftover wax, melt it again, and then pour a thin layer over the imperfections. I poured it at a cooler temperature so it wouldn’t melt through the candle too much. This was easy. The top layer does not need to be scented, so if you don’t have any left over wax mixture you can use some unscented wax.

The second method was to use a blowdryer and remelt the top layer of the candle. The has the potential to get messy. As the wax melts, the air will blow the wax everywhere! Being careful, I needed a few repetitions of this to achieve a smooth surface, but it worked.

In the end, both worked well and we achieved our desired look. I honestly don’t have a preferred method, so try both and see what works best for you.

handmade citronella candles

This was such a fun project. I’m tickled at how well these little beauties came out and how easy they were to make. Now, I’ve becomes obsessed. I’m now plotting to mix smells and fragrances for gifts. It speaks to my inner alchemist!

I encourage everyone to give it a try!

XOXO,

PIN IT FOR LATER

handmade citronella candles

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