01 of 08
Get Your Materials Ready
Citronella bucket candles are great outdoor candles for the deck in summer months when mosquitoes are out. Not only do they help repel mosquitoes, but they give a wonderful ambiance to your outdoor spaces.
You'll need a good balance of wick, wax, and container for your citronella bucket candle to burn well. But you don't want it to burn too well. You want it to smoke a bit. This helps the mosquito repelling effect. Also, you'll want a big melt pool to help disperse the essential oils... into the air.
Here's what you'll need:
- Melted wax
- Foil or wax paper
- Wick tabs
- Wick stickum, glue dot or a dab of hot glue
- Double boiler
- Essential oil blend
- Sticks, chopsticks, a wick bar or skewers
Although they're specifically designed to be used outside, these are basic container candles so we'll be following the steps to make those.Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08
Prime Your Candle Wicks
You'll probably have to assemble and prime your own wicks for this project. I haven't found them available commercially so I prime my own.
I usually use an MC-1 size wick for 4-inch metal buckets. I had some MC-3s that I wanted to try as well, so I made two with MC-1 and two with MC-3. The MC-3 wicks were a bit too big. The melt pool was complete across the top and about 1/2" deep. The MC-1 wicks were much more appropriate.
Prime the wicks by cutting them to length, then soak them in... some melted wax for several minutes. You should see small air bubbles streaming out of the wicks. Stir the wax a bit and press on the wicks a little to make sure the wax soaks in well. Lay the wicks out straight on a piece of foil or wax paper and leave them to harden.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
Assemble the Candle Wicks
You can put the wick tab on the bottom of each wick when they're cooled. Use pliers to open up the hole in the wick tab, then insert the wick through and close the tabs onto the wick.Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08
Position the Wicks
Use a wick stickum, glue dot or a dab of hot glue to position the wick tab in the center of the bottom of the bucket. This is an important step because the wicks can "drift" in the melted wax when they're not anchored down. They'll either pull themselves out or they'll burn the side of the container, a definite candle safety issue.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Melt the Wax and Add the Fragrance
Melt the wax in a double boiler. Most container waxes want to be heated to about 180 F. Add you're essential oil blend and stir well. I usually use about 1 ounce of essential oil blend for every pound of wax. You can vary this up or down depending on your blend and how strong you want your candles. You probably won't want to go much more than 1.5 ounces per pound of wax, however.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08
Pour the Wax
Let the wax cool to about 160 F, gently stirring it as it cools. Pour the wax into the bucket.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08
Let the Citronella Bucket Candles Cool
Put the candles in a safe place to cool. Depending on your room temperature, it may take several hours. Use sticks, chopsticks, a wick bar or skewers to help keep the wick centered.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
08 of 08
Light Your Candles and Enjoy the Outdoors
When the candles have cooled and have sat for at least 24 hours, it's time to head outdoors! Light 'em up! Don't forget to take notes on how the wicks, wax and essential oils perform.
The candle that's third from the left here was made with recycled wax scraps. It's kind of a purple-brown color ... but as you can see, it's burning just fine!
Note: Be sure to use extra caution with these candles. The large wicks produce large flames and large melt pools. Be sure to place... them where people, children or pets will not bump into them or knock them over, and never use them indoors.