How to Make an Insect Repellent Candle

Army of small insects flying in a yard
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-100
What You'll Need
Wax (feel free to use scraps from other candles)
Essential oils
Candle holder
Double boiler
What You'll Need
Wax (feel free to use scraps from other candles)
Essential oils
Candle holder
Double boiler

For any outdoor party, especially in the height of summer, an effective form of insect repellent is vital. An excellent addition to your garden party is a collection of insect repellent candles. There are a number of products on the market that fill this niche, but there is no reason you can’t make your own natural insect repellent candles.

Insect Repellent Essential Oils

A candle, as a heat source, will naturally distract some insects from biting people. Adding essential oils from herbs that have natural insect repellent properties will improve the insect repelling ability of your candle. Consider the following list of herbs for addition to your candle. Different combinations of herbs will affect different insects differently and be more or less appealing to humans, so be prepared to experiment.


Bay leaves








Lemon grass





Warning: Pennyroyal should not be used around pregnant women.

Step 1 - Choose a Candle Holder

candles on a wood outdoor table

A decorative, metal bucket makes an excellent candle holder. Something that will hold the wax as it melts is all that is necessary. A rinsed aluminum can would work just as well if look less elegant.

Step 2 - Prepare the Wick

Choose a wick thickness that is large for the size of the candle you are making. With insect repellent candles you want a large, smoky flame that melts a great deal of wax. This will disperse the scent of the essential oils better.

Soak the wick material in a small selection of melted wax. You will see bubbles of air leaving the wick as it absorbs the wax. This will improve the burning ability of your candle. Once the wick is saturated, remove it from the wax and let it dry flat and straight.

Step 3 - Place the Wick

Secure one end of the dried wick to the center on the bottom of your candle holder and brace the free end of the wick in the center of the top opening. An easy way to do this is to lay a pencil across the top and wrap the wick around it to be trimmed shorter later. Accurate placement of the wick will provide an even burn.

Step 4 - Prepare the Wax

pouring hot wax into a jar

Melt the wax in a double boiler. Most wax will reach an even melt at about 175 degrees F. Stir in the essential oils you have chosen once the wax is molten. Provide 1 to 1.5 oz. essential oils for each pound of wax melted.

Step 5 - Pour the Wax into the Candle Holder

Once the wax and essential oils are combined, let the wax cool to about 160 degrees F. Pour the hot wax into the candle holder. Monitor the top of the wick in the center of the candle holder. Work very carefully when pouring as any splash or spillage will burn.

Step 6 - Let the Candle Harden

Set your candle somewhere cool so the wax will harden. The larger your candle the longer it will take to harden throughout. Wait at least 24 hours before lighting your insect-repellent candle.