DIY: How to make floating citronella candles

Perfume the air with heavenly scented floating candles while entertaining al fresco − and fend off bite-y bugs while you are at it.

Words: Extract from Nadia: A Seasonal Journal  Photo: Rachael McKenna

Citronella from the Cymbopogon nardus plant has natural mozzie-repelling properties, as does lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint oil. Take advantage of these attributes to ward off small, biting critters by making mosquito-repellent candles to use next time you host dinner outdoors. Recycled, pretty glass jars are ideal for the project, but you could also use cans or other heat-proof containers, such as teacups. Floating candles are easy to find in retail stores.


– glass jars such as mason jars or other suitable containers
– floating candles
– water
– few drops of citronella, peppermint, eucalyptus or lavender essential oil
– lemon slices
– sprigs of rosemary and lavender


1. Take a jar of your choice (it must have a neck wide enough to fit a floating candle).

2. Curl 2-3 sprigs of rosemary or lavender around the inside of the jar.

3. Slice a lemon into 5mm thick slices and put 1-2 inside the jar.

4. Fill up the jar to its neck with water.

5. Add 10 drops of your preferred essential oil.

6. Put a floating candle inside and light it.

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Nadia This article first appeared in Nadia: A Seasonal Journal Magazine.
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