These easy DIY candles use real citronella oil (available online or at health food stores) to deter insects. Make them for your own backyard, or take them along as a thank-you gift for your friends in cottage country. Remember: never let candles burn unattended.
You need (for one):
• Heatproof container, approximately 4 inches (10 cm) diameter, such as metal bucket, flower pot or recycled can
• 1 lb (450 g) paraffin candle wax
• Hot glue gun and glue, or "wick stickums"
• Pre-waxed, pre-tabbed candle wick (6 inches/15 cm long, or at least 1 inch/2.5 cm longer than container is high)
• Wick bar or bamboo skewer
• 2 to 3 wax crayons (unwrapped, broken into pieces), or dye wax, in desired colour (optional)
• Citronella essential oil (0.5 oz bottle)
• Double boiler
• Thermometer (such as for candy making)
• Wooden spoon
1. Fill bottom of double boiler one-third full of water; bring to boil. Reduce heat so water is barely simmering.
2. Place wax and thermometer in top of double boiler and place over hot water. Melt wax, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, prepare container: wash and dry thoroughly. Using small dab of hot glue or "wick stickum," adhere wick tab, centred, to bottom of container. Secure wick to wick bar or tape securely to skewer.
4. When wax has melted completely and temperature has reached 185ºF (85ºC), stir in crayon pieces (if using) until completely melted and wax is evenly coloured.
5. Remove wax from heat and stir in 5 to 6 drops of citronella oil. Stir to combine well.
6. Let wax cool to pouring temperature of 170ºF (77ºC). Carefully pour wax into container.
7. Let candle cool overnight at room temperature. Trim wick to 1/4 inch (6 mm).
• Measure the diameter of your container before you buy candle wicks, and be sure to read the package carefully to ensure you're choosing the correct size wick.
• Equipment used in candle preparation should not be used for food preparation. Check second-hand stores such as Value Village for inexpensive double boilers and utensils.
• Spread paper over work area to protect it from wax spills. Place trivet nearby to hold hot pot or bowl.
• Always work in a well-ventilated area.
• For quick and easy cleanup, wipe containers with paper towel dampened with a little rubbing alcohol before containers have cooled completely. Caution: keep alcohol away from heat source!
Canadian sources for candle-making supplies:
Village Craft and Candle
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