DIY Citronella Outdoor Candle

By Kate Riley April 5, 2024

We’re experiencing lovely weather here on the Gulf Coast of Florida which means we can linger outside in the evenings. Knowing the warmer weather in the coming months will bring gnats and mosquitos with it, I made a citronella candle to sit on my outdoor coffee table to keep annoying bugs away.

I spied these budget friendly modern planters online in two sizes and fell in love with their shape. The larger one I used for its intended purpose and added a mini monstera, but I made the smaller one into a citronella candle. Now it sits outside looking oh so chic with its modern shape and one-of-a-kind design.



Isn’t the ribbed shape of this planter so good? I saw today that the small 8″ white one is no longer available online, but you can still find it in stock in local stores if you move fast. The larger 12″ planter is available both online and in stores too.


I haven’t made candles in over ten years, so instead of using kitchen cookware, I bought a $20 candle making kit which made the process so easy, and I can use the kit again and again to repurpose old candle containers in the future.

Sources to recreate your own ceramic outdoor citronella candle: modern white planter (I used this one); candle making kit; citronella oil; extra soy wax (I used a total of 4 lbs. soy wax flakes for this project). Note, you can find soy wax at your local Michaels stores too.

Candle making isn’t complicated, you just need to follow the steps and pay attention to the heat and timing. To begin, I centered my wicks in a triangle shape for even burning using the little stickers and wicks included in the kit.


The kit comes with a thermometer and long metal spoon so as you stir, you can watch the consistency of the wax go from flakes to murky fluid to clear liquid.


To make a candle this large I had to do five rounds of melting and pouring, so it took me an entire afternoon, coming back to the project every 30 minutes or so. For each round I kept the metal pitcher on medium heat and stirred constantly, leaving it on the heat for ten seconds then taking it off the heat and stirring. I did that back and forth a few dozen times each round so the wax melted slowly and consistently.

I read that citronella oil has a flash point of 175 degrees so I didn’t let my melted wax get over 135 degrees. I added two droppers of citronella oil for every pound of melted wax.

In the future I plan to experiment with other oils like eucalyptus and lavender to make soothing candles for indoors too. Once the wax became a liquid I gently poured it into my planter over the course of five rounds. I used kitchen knives suspended over the top of the planter to stabilize the wicks so they remained centered as I poured each round.

Once the candle was completely cool, I set it outside to use all spring and summer long.


Sources for the outdoor sofa and pillows in the background are linked in this post about my budget finds for our home in Florida.

I have some friends in town for a few days for spring break and we’re headed south to Key West. There is a weekend roundup post planned for Sunday, then I’ll be back later next week to continue with further projects once my friends depart.

I hope you all are enjoying your spring break too.

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