How to Make Recycled DIY Citronella Candles

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Grab your old tin cans and use them to make citronella candles you can burn outside all summer long!

We all know how bad mosquitos can be during the summer and fighting them off, so you can enjoy dinner outside, is always a nuisance! Since the weather is warming up, we wanted to create a few of our own citronella candles using recycled wax (candles we already had!) and charming tins we’ve collected.

The nice thing about these DIY citronella candles, aside from the chic look, is that you can control how much citronella oil you put into the candle and also add in other scents to offset the smell. We added in a grapefruit scent and the combination was great.

can of tea

So, start saving your tins to make these this summer! And just a quick tip, don’t use any good kitchen items (i.e. shot glasses or measuring cups) you’ll want to keep when working with citronella. It’s so strong and the smell will last forever! We recommend separating craft and cooking items. Enjoy and stay charming!

empty cans for making your own candles
essential oils for candle making

Recycled DIY Citronella Candles 

What you’ll need:

Old candles and candle wax, tins, citronella oil, nicely scented essential oil (we used grapefruit), wicks.

Also, try my citronella jars to keep bugs away!

adding a wick into a tin can to make a candle

Directions for Making Citronella Candles

wicks twisted over twigs to make candles

Remove the metal from the bottom of the old candles. The actual wick can stay in and you can remove it after the candle has melted.

Melt the candles over medium heat in a large pot. We used about 4 large candles to fill these tins.

pouring wax into tin cans

While the wax is melting, use a hot glue gun to adhere the bottom of the wick to the tins.

Wrap the wick around a stick and rest it on the top of the candle. This will help it stay in place.

Once the wax has melted, pour into a heat-proof bowl. Add in 1 ounce of citronella oil per 6 cups of melted wax. Then add in 1/2 ounce grapefruit essential oil.

Pour the wax into the tins and let them sit until they harden.

DIY citronella candle filled with wax waiting to dry

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a citronella candle do?

Citronella is an oil that repels insects like mosquitos. Lighting a citronella candle releases the essential oil smell that insects hate. They are moderately effective.

Is citronella toxic to humans?

The Environmental Protection Agency says citronella oil is safe and has no toxicity when used in candles or as a topical repellent.

Candle tin turned into a citronella candle

More DIY Projects You’ll Love

DIY Essential Oil Candles

Repurposing Yankee Jars with Candles

DIY Pine Scented Soy Candles

Keep Bugs Away with DIY Bug Repellent Potpourri.

citronella candles

Let us know if you make these candles by leaving a comment below!

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6 thoughts on “How to Make Recycled DIY Citronella Candles”

  1. Two things I would add to the instructions:

    1) Burn the candle on something that is heat proof. The tins get hot and you don’t want to scorch your furniture.

    2) Before hot gluing the wick tab (the metal wick holder) take your glue gun and run a heavy bead along the seams inside the tin. Sometimes, the tins do leak. The gluing of the seams helps to seal up the tin.

  2. Great DIY idea! That candles have a vintage kind of look and are just awesome! I’m in love with all those recycled crafts because not only help reducing waste, but also create something beautiful!

  3. This is such a great idea! I have an empty tea can that I just have no idea what to do with… now I know! Do you think I can also use this for regular tin cans?


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