Candles in this modern period are mainly used as a means of decorating homes. In the past, they were only a source of light. But now, you can take your candles to a whole new level. Citronella candles are so called because of the Citronella oil which is added to the candle when making it. But you may wonder what makes it special.
The scent from Citronella oil is known to repel mosquitoes and other bugs. These insects are mainly found during the summer period and the use of candles is a cool way to send the off, especially mosquitoes. Citronella candles replace your traditional insect repellants in a very great way. As the added citronella chases the insects away the candles add beauty. They are especially good for use outdoors. Usually, you would need a couple of the candles for best results. With citronella candles, one can stay out at night to relax, without fear of bugs.
Citronella candles are mostly container candles. That means they are made to burn in jars, most commonly glass jars. If you can make container candles, making Citronella candles would not be difficult. Since they are container candles, they drip wax into the jars they are in and won't create a mess wherever they are placed. Actually, Citronella candles are not an entirely different type of candle. So just like traditional container candles, colours can be added and even other scent oils. The materials you would need are also just the ones you need for container candles. It would be much better if you can make many candles at the same time. The materials, and their uses are discussed below.
The Materials to Make Citronella Candles
Any type of wax can be used to make citronella candles. Paraffin wax is the most common kind of wax everywhere. But you can explore other options such as palm wax, soy wax, gel wax or even the good old Beeswax. Since they are made in containers, any type of wax, whether hard or soft, can be used. Candle waxes come in various forms. If you are using the flake form, you would need an amount of wax double what would fill your container(s). Also, always make available slightly more wax than you would normally need.
Your wick should be longer than the container you intend to use. The size of your container also matters. For larger containers, you may need more than one wick for better burn. Braided wicks are very common. You may want to go for them, or experiment with other types. Getting pre-tabbed wicks is better and gives you extra ease. If not, you can get separate wick tabs.
Citronella oil is the primary additive in making these candles. This is because the main use of the candles is to repel insects. You can also add other scents like eucalyptus, lemon, lavender etc. These other scents also send insects away so they make a good complement for citronella. For colours, there are many candle dyes in various forms available. Liquid dyes work fine for this.
Mason jars are popular for candle making and they can be purchased in neighbourhood stores or ordered online. For a cheaper alternative, you can make use of your empty glass jars or use tins. The major consideration in choosing containers is that they must be heat-resistant. Glass jars must be thick enough so that they would not explode when hot melted wax is poured in. Containers of various shapes can be used to your desire.
A double boiler, a stove, a pair of scissors, wick stabilisers and wick stickers and a thermometer are needed too. For cleaning, paper towels come in handy. All your materials should be ready and be around you before you begin. Set them on a flat work surface such as a table and then you are ready to work.
How to Make Citronella Candles
Are your materials all in place? If yes, begin by heating up your wax in a double boiler. The stove should be set to medium heat. Let your wax melt to about 185°F and stir slowly as it does. If your wax came in block form, break it into chunks for quicker melting. Use your thermometer to measure constantly so it does not exceed the required temperature.
As the wax melts, you can take some time off to set up you wick in the container. For pre-tabbed wicks, the process is easier. If you purchased wicks and tabs separately, use the wick tabs to adhere the wick to the bottom of the container. There is a little trick if you have no wick tabs, you can use glue too to adhere your wax. Another is to dip the tip of your wick in melting wax and quickly attach it to the container. In anyway you choose to set up your wick, make sure it sits at the centre of the container. To make your wick straight, use your wick stabilisers. Or wrap the wick around an old pen which you then set across the top of the container. This helps keep the wick straight as you pour in the wax.
While the wax melts is the best time to add the Citronella oil and other additives. Add about 5 to 10 drops or more of the oil in the wax, depending on how much your wax is. You should add your desired colour at this stage too. This is optional but if you do, do not add too much.
Turn of the heat when the temperature of the wax hits 185°F. By then, it should have fully melted. Leave it to cool for some time to about 150-160°F before pouring. Pour the wax slowly into the container, making sure your wick is centred. Do not fill the container completely with wax. And do not pour all the wax; leave a little behind for latter use.
Leave the wax for some hours to cool. As the wax cools, it shrinks and you might notice a sinkhole in the centre of your container. Reheat your leftover wax some degrees higher than the former. Then pour the wax to make the candle level.
To finish the candle, leave it for about a day or overnight to completely cool and harden. When this is done, your candle is ready for use, trim the wax and start burning.
Have you now seen how easy it is to make citronella candles? What else are you waiting for? Get your supplies and begin making your candles, chasing insects away and adding beauty to your environment.