Citronella Tea Light Candles

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Easy Outdoor Citronella Tea Light Candles to Repel Bugs

Making outdoor citronella tea light candles to repel bugs is easy and quick with this candle hack. Citronella candle tea lights are perfect for not just the patio, but the beach and camping too because their lightweight design allows you to carry them along. 

When summer pops up we kick into full gear outdoors. Breakfast on the back porch, bike rides, rounds of golf, frisbee, grilling, croquet on the lawn, swimming after dark, smores around the firepit, and every Saturday morning at the farmers market. Every day is an adventure when the weather is nice. 

There’s just one problem…

As much as we love spending time outdoors, we loathe mosquitos just as much! 

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Did you know you can make citronella outdoor candles to repel bugs, including mosquitoes at home? 

Luckily, I’ve discovered a great hack to keep mosquitoes away – enter citronella tea light candles. 

Did you know you can make citronella outdoor candles to repel bugs, including mosquitoes at home? 

Oh yeah! In fact, one of my most popular candle recipes is for DIY citronella lemon bowl candles. As the name says, they are citronella candles poured into lemon halves that make a beautiful centerpiece for outdoor gatherings. And I’ve even written an article sharing nine unique homemade outdoor candles to keep bugs away. But, there was one missing – outdoor citronella tea light candles! 

Can you use tea lights outside?

Heck, yes, citronella candle tea lights are not only perfect for barbeques, dining on the patio, or in the backyard, they can be used at the beach, on a picnic, or camping too because their tiny, lightweight design allows you to carry them along. 

You can even place one near where you are gardening, enjoying a glass of wine outdoors, fishing, or reading a good book by the pool. 

Try this outdoor citronella tea light candle making tutorial now!

What does a citronella candle do? 

When you add citronella essential oil to a candle its naturally occurring insect repellent mask scents that attract insects rather than killing them. What bugs does citronella repel? There are a handful of essential oils derived from herbs that contain the unique ability to repel insects. I include a list of all essentials oils that repel mosquitoes and more here

You may also combine citronella with other essential oils to help ward off flies as well. I cover a list of the best natural repellant herbs in my related article at The Herbal Academy. (I’ve found the herbarium and self-paced courses at the Academy are a great way to study herbs.) 

Make note, if you buy “citronella-scented” candles or fragrances they will not work! The effectiveness comes from using real citronella essential oil. I recommend purchasing high-quality essential oils from either Plant Therapy or Aura Cacia.

What kind of wax is used for tea lights?

Paraffin wax is the least expensive candle wax and is most commonly used for tea lights. However, tea lights made from paraffin typically last for only 1 to 1.5 hours. This is why I use a blend of beeswax, a natural long-burning wax, and unrefined coconut oil to make tea lights with a burn time of 4 to 5 hours. 

It’s the best solution on how to make tea light candles last longer!

Which Candle Wax is Best? Grab our Candle Wax Type Swipe File!

Learn more about beeswax with our printable candle-making resources in the  Simple Living Library

How do you make tea light candles?

Making outdoor citronella tea light candles to repel bugs is easy and quick with this candle hack! You see, instead of using plastic or metal tea light candle containers, I use a silicone mold. It’s basically a silicone mold for mini muffins, but it creates the same dimension as tea lights! 

You can just pop the tea lights out of the mold and use it again and again to make more candles – brilliant right?

Supplies for Tea Light Candles:

1 ½ inch silicone mold

1/2 lb white beeswax pastilles

12 tea light candle wicks (1 ½ inch)

12 glue dots

¼ cup coconut oil

1-ounce citronella oil

Makes 16 to 20 tealights 

How to make citronella tea light candles at home!

How to Make Tea Light Candles with Citronella

1. To begin, press a tea light candle wick into a glue dot on the roll. Then place it into the center base of each cavity in the silicone mold

2. Use a kitchen scale to measure half a pound of white beeswax pastilles. Pour the wax into a candle melting pitcher and place it inside a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of water. Using the double boiler method, heat on low heat with gentle simmer at most. Do not heat the wax above 170°F, as this may brown the wax. Stir slowly, yet often with a wooden skewer, you can toss or compost after.

3. Remove the pitcher from the heat immediately after melting. Scoop ¼ cup of coconut oil into the melted wax and stir until blended. 

4. Check the temperature of the mixture with a quick infrared thermometer or a candle thermometer. The ideal temperature to add citronella essential oil is 125 degrees. But, the best temperature to pour beeswax is 150-160°F. So, aim for a temperature between the two. Slowly stir the essential oil into the beeswax for 1 minute. 

5. Carefully pour the wax into each cavity of the mold. I recommend using a funnel or a narrow pouring pitcher like this one to help avoid spills. It is also helpful to line your work area with parchment paper to catch any drips or over pours. 

6. Allow the wax to cool and harden for a few hours before removing it from the mold. And you won’t need to trim these wicks as they are pre-sized for tea lights. 

Clean-Up Tips:

To clean up beeswax, place your candle pitcher back in the double boiler and allow the wax coating the pitcher to melt a little. Then remove it from the double boiler and wipe the wax out with an old cloth or paper towel. 

Because beeswax can be tough to clean up I keep a candle melting pitcher strictly for melting beeswax. You may want to consider this too if you like to make soy wax candles as well. 

Did I mention, aside from repelling mosquitoes, these tea light citronella candles smell really good? The lemongrass scent has a crisp, powerful citrus aroma. And we noticeably fewer mosquitoes and flies around when we have a few lit! 

Help prevent yourself and your family and friends from being bit by lighting these tea light outdoor candles around your picnic, backyard barbecue, or pool party. 

Print this Candle Tutorial:

I’ve discovered a great hack to keep mosquitoes away - enter citronella tea light candles.

Citronella Tea Light Candles

Yield: 16 to 20 tealights
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Making outdoor citronella tea light candles to repel bugs is easy and quick with this candle hack!

Materials

  • 1 ½ inch silicone mold
  • 1/2 lb white beeswax pastilles
  • 12 tea light candle wicks (1 ½ inch)
  • 12 glue dots
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1-ounce citronella oil

Instructions

1. To begin, press a tea light candle wick into a glue dot on the roll. Then place it into the center base of each cavity in the silicone mold

2. Use a kitchen scale to measure half a pound of white beeswax pastilles. Pour the wax into a candle melting pitcher and place it inside a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of water. Using the double boiler method, heat on low heat with gentle simmer at most. Do not heat the wax above 170°F, as this may brown the wax. Stir slowly, yet often with a wooden skewer, you can toss or compost after.

3. Remove the pitcher from the heat immediately after melting. Scoop ¼ cup of coconut oil into the melted wax and stir until blended. 

4. Check the temperature of the mixture with a quick infrared thermometer or a candle thermometer. The ideal temperature to add citronella essential oil is 125 degrees. But, the best temperature to pour beeswax is 150-160°F. So, aim for a temperature between the two. Slowly stir the essential oil into the beeswax for 1 minute. 

5. Carefully pour the wax into each cavity of the mold. I recommend using a funnel or a narrow pouring pitcher like this one to help avoid spills. It is also helpful to line your work area with parchment paper to catch any drips or over pours. 

6. Allow the wax to cool and harden for a few hours before removing it from the mold. And you won’t need to trim these wicks as they are pre-sized for tea lights. 

Notes

Clean-Up Tips:

  • To clean up beeswax, place your candle pitcher back in the double boiler and allow the wax coating the pitcher to melt a little. Then remove it from the double boiler and wipe the wax out with an old cloth or paper towel. 
  • Because beeswax can be tough to clean up, I keep a candle melting pitcher strictly for melting beeswax. You may want to consider this too if you like to make soy wax candles as well. 

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