In anticipation of our next Wanderschool adventure, the kids and I spent the morning making Citronella Beeswax Candles. If you have any camping or outdoor picnics planned where mosquitos or insects prevail and you want to create a bug free zone, citronella candlemaking is a fun activity to get your kids psyched for the coming adventure.
Plus, when you make your own candles, just like making your own food, you know what goes into the mix. In the case of candles, you’ll know what you’re breathing–and hopefully, have peace of mind knowing that you’re burning/inhaling non-toxic fumes. Unlike some wax used for candle making, it is said that beeswax candles actually draw or remove toxins out of the air. Now, that’s a nice bonus, don’t you think?
*Mason jars or empty cans;
*A double boiler (some people use an old, big can and put it into a larger pot) or a wax melter pot/pourer (I used a Presto Pot);
*Wax (I used beeswax, but this can be pricey. Soy is an eco-friendly, usually lower cost alternative. You can also melt down/reuse old candles);
*Coconut oil to add to the beeswax, if you are not making pure beeswax candles;
*Wick (coated wicks with tabs which can be secured to the bottom of your jar with a hot glue gun are an option);
*Citronella essential oil and any others you wish to use, such as eucalyptus or lemongrass;
*Sticks or pencils to hold wick centered, as needed;
*A bit of patience and humor (which comes in handy when your kids can’t resist putting their fingers into the cooling wax and destroy your pretty, poured creations)!
We found Vermont beeswax chunks at a co-op store in the bulk section. The beeswax wasn’t in its purest form, a.k.a. not make-up grade, (the result being the candles are not as light as other beeswax candles when cooled), but I scored a lot of it at a decent price making it perfect for lovely, eco-friendly beeswax candles.
How to Make the Candles:
Candlemaking can be super messy, with or without kids involved. We covered our workspace with newspaper first. We then melted the beeswax chunks in our Presto Wax Melter. If you’re using beeswax, note that it melts from solid to liquid quickly.
Our wick was not pre-dipped, so we sized and cut pieces of wick and dipped them in wax before affixing in our mason jars. After attaching the wick to the bottom of the jar (some opt for a glue gun and metal wick tab holders) and the other end to a wooden stick, we added several drops of citronella, eucalyptus and lemongrass to the liquid wax. The kids each added drops (quite enthusiastically, of course), and I can’t even guess how many drops landed in the wax. My fingers are crossed that at least enough drops of the essential oils landed in the liquid wax to keep our camping adventures bug free.
Next, I poured the liquid beeswax into the designated mason jars.
And, just like that….Voila!…we created several Citronella Beeswax candles for our next Wanderschool adventure!
*For safety reasons, obviously remove any decorations (like ribbon) affixed to the outside of your candle container that pose or increase any fire danger.
Happy Camping and outdoor picnicking!