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Patio Candles

Citronella candles can be an effective and attractive outdoor accessory for deterring those pesky, blood-thirsty little creatures called mosquitoes. Arm yourself against these pests by making a plentiful supply of these bug fighting candles. Get creative with your containers and save a little money by using a combination of a less expensive paraffin wax and a portion of vegetable shortening (like Crisco). The shortening will make the wax softer and help it adhere to the edges of your container, while decreasing the amount of wax you’ll need to fill larger containers. When using the Crisco the wax may mottle (white patches within the wax) but that will not affect the candles performance. I personally like the mottled look.

There are a number of fragrances, other than citronella, that you could use to deter mosquitoes. I like to use a combination of citronella, eucalyptus, and clove to create a unique bug barrier and a pleasant aroma for me and my guests. Other essential and fragrance oils you could try are:

  • Cinnamon Oil

  • Rosemary Oil

  • Lemongrass Oil

  • Cedar Oil

  • Peppermint Oil

  • Essential oils are usually more expensive than fragrance oils. I’ve used both and really can’t see a big difference in their bug deterring qualities. When you have mosquitoes as thick as we do however, I’m pretty sure some are going to get you no matter what you have burning or how much bug spray you’ve doused yourself with.

    Please read all instructions before beginning this project.

    Equipment and Supplies

    This list of supplies is based on using a less expensive paraffin wax and shortening but you could always use a wax blend specifically made for container candles if you prefer. It seems all waxes are becoming more and more expensive, so if you can find a cheaper one, go for it and use it in this project.


    Note: While making my large candle in a deep bowl, I did this in two pours. I placed my first and central wick (I used a wood wick) and I only poured the wax until my container was about one third full. This is because my bowl is slanted and the bottom is narrower than the top. After my first pour cooled a bit and formed a thick skin, I placed my other wicks on the level surface of the wax for the outer edges of the candle and propped them so they stood up straight and poured more wax to fill the container.

    Container Ideas:
    Inexpensive containers will suit this project just fine but if you would like something stylish for parties or entertaining, decorative vessels are nice to use.

    Aside from any regular candle containers, try using:

    * If using plain terra cotta or garden pots that are not glazed, you will want to seal the porous container by painting or sponging some Mod Podge (non-flammable craft glue) on the inside and allow it to dry before filling with wax. Unsealed terra cotta could absorb the oils from the wax and fragrance and become one giant flammable wick.

    Additional Notes:

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