How to Upcycle Vintage Planters into Mosquito Candles / Citronella Candles

How to Upcycle Vintage Planters into Mosquito Candles / Citronella Candles

Let’s face it – summer is NOT my favorite season in the South. Between a constant case of “humidity hair” to a melted make-up sweaty glow, it just leaves much to be desired. But, I still love sitting out back and listening to the summer yard sounds as the sun goes down. So, I desperately needed to make some citronella candles or mosquito candles that would keep the bugs away.

Because a local honey bee company has beeswax for sale, I decided to use that for candle making. And for the candle holders? Vintage vases and ceramic planters from the thrift store!

Vintage vases and ceramic planters from the thrifting to become mosquito candles or aroma candles by Sadie Seasongoods

And the local beeswax, which I purchased in its raw, natural (i.e., unfiltered) state.

Beeswax for sale from Carolina Honey Bee Company to be filtered and used to make handmade candles by Sadie Seasongoods

This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience.

Using Beeswax to Make Citronella Candles or Mosquito Candles

Because it was raw wax, I needed to filter it before making my candles. Raw beeswax is filled with…well, any number of things…including bee parts. Not pretty in a candle!

So, to filter the wax, I melted it down (keep reading to find out my melting method), and poured it through clean rags/t-shirts. I didn’t need fancy molds, so I simply used a recyclable aluminum pan from the grocery store.

Cleaning and filtering the beeswax for sale from Carolina Honey Bee Company for making the mosquito candles by Sadie Seasongoods

If you don’t have a local supplier that has beeswax for sale, you could use this cosmetic-grade beeswax instead.

To prep for candle making, I also gathered my roll of wick and some wick clips.

Candle making supplies including wick to go inside the ceramic planters for homemade candles by Sadie Seasongoods

I threaded wick into each clip, pinched the end with pliers, and used a bead of glue to hold the clip in place at the bottom of the vintage vases / ceramic planters.

Attaching candle wick inside the vintage vases and ceramic planters before pouring in the beeswax by Sadie Seasongoods

To keep the wicks in place (straight and up), I sandwiched them between coffee stirrers and taped the stirrer ends together. And because the ceramic planters aren’t perfectly smooth/even, I then taped the stirrers to the ceramics to keep them from sliding off.

Holding the candle wick in place before pouring in the melted beeswax for mosquito candles by Sadie Seasongoods

Next, it was time to melt the local beeswax. To do so, I used a very simple double boiler using a clean aluminum can. I filled a sauce pan with an inch of water and turned the burner to high. Then, I placed my beeswax in the can and placed that in the water.

Melting the beeswax for making the citronella candles in vintage vases and ceramic planters by Sadie Seasongoods

**Note/hint: Keep a measuring cup of water nearby to add periodically to the pan. The shallow amount of boiling water (which is all you can have at a time to keep the can from floating/tipping over) will try and boil away on you! So add water periodically to keep a constant depth.**

Mosquito Candles in Ceramic Planters / Vintage Vases

Once the wax melted, I gathered up the oils I would use: citronella essential oil and tea tree essential oil.

Now, I’m going to admit that I added an arbitrary, uncounted number of drops as I melted the wax. After each “tab” of beeswax was melted, I removed the can from the double-boiler (wearing an oven mitt!); added many, many drops of tea tree and citronella oils; and once I could really catch the aroma of the oils in the wax, I stopped and carefully poured the wax into each waiting holder.

The reason I used tea tree oil is because it can have a similar deterring effect on insects and I prefer the scent over citronella! Mixing them produces an effective, but less pungent odor (in my opinion).

Once the oils were swirled into the melted beeswax, I placed the ceramic planters on a cooling rack and carefully poured in the aromatic wax.

Allowing the citronella candles or mosquito candles to cool and harden with citronella essential oil by Sadie Seasongoods

After a few hours of cooling/hardening, I snipped off the wick just beneath the coffee stirrers and the mosquito candles / citronella candles were ready to use!

Ceramic planters and vintage vases from the thrift store that have been upcycled into citronella candles by Sadie Seasongoods

Aren’t they the cutest outdoor candles that will keep bugs away? And a fun new way to upcycle those vintage planters from the thrift store.

Mosquito candles or citronella candles that used natural beeswax inside ceramic planters or vintage vases by Sadie Seasongoods

And you could totally make aroma candles that weren’t citronella based using this same method and idea!

How to use beeswax and ceramic planters to make citronella candles or mosquito candles that keep bugs away by Sadie Seasongoods

But for now, I’ll keep mine as mosquito candles that I can use and re-fill (if needed) all summer long. Functional AND decorative outdoor candles – how great is that?

Mosquito candles or outdoor candles using beeswax, citronella essential oil, and ceramic planters by Sadie Seasongoods

If you enjoyed this upcycling idea for aroma candles that keep bugs away for summer, then you may also be interested in my coastal farmhouse sea glass candles, too!

Beach theme decor or coastal home decor with glass candle holders, chicken wire, and seaglass spray paint by Sadie Seasongoods

Craft on!


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  1. chris aka monkey says

    i pinned the cuteness i am in love with this xx

  2. Well those are just adorable! What a great idea!


  3. I love this idea. What a great way to repurpose all those adorable vintage planters. Thanks so much for sharing at Vintage Inspiration Party.

  4. Adorable and oh so fun. What a great way to use such fun and pretty planters.

  5. Love this crafty idea! And they are super cute! Thanks so much for sharing on Dream. Create. Inspire. Link. Pinning:)

  6. These are great!!!

  7. These are so cute! You have officially sold me on needing to get some essential oils! (And given me an excuse to go thrifting! lol)

  8. You’re right, these are super quirky, but adorable! I love tea tree oil, and was wondering where to get inexpensive essential oils so thanks for sharing!

  9. These are so sweet! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  10. Jann Olson says

    Great idea and it’s so fun to use the vintage planters! thanks for sharing with SYC.

  11. Both my partner and my Grandmothers had these donkey’s. What a good revamp for them!!

  12. Sarah,

    I love that little donkey citronella candle. It’s just too darn cute.

    catching you!

  13. Thanks SO MUCH for dropping by and sharing this at my Grandma Ideas Sharing Time link party. I really appreciate your participation. (I needed to have made one of these for sitting on our patio tonight!)


  14. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says

    Those are the cutest candles! And I love using planters in unexpected ways!

  15. I am willing to admit that I have purchased those same adorable vintage flower holders from thrift stores just waiting for a fun way to use them! Now I found it! I’m featuring this post at the new Merry Monday party beginning tonight! Thanks for sharing your creativity!

  16. Love these homemade candles! And the addition of citronella makes it even better! Thanks for sharing at Inspiration Thursday!

  17. I seriously cannot get over HOW CUTE these are — and how practical they are!

  18. This is definitely a neat idea!

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  19. I love the idea of using the vintage planters! So kitsch! Those pesky mosquitoes keep me in during the summer up here in the northeast, as well.

  20. Sarah, these a both adorable and very useful here in the south. Thank you for sharing at Vintage Charm. Tweeted, pinned, and shared on FB. sb

  21. How adorable! I absolutely love the vintage thrift store finds! And this is such an awesome and creative way to re-purpose them! I’m definitely adding this to my list of ideas! I’m so glad I came across your post at #welcomehomewednesdays!

  22. Such a fun and cute way to repurpose those knicky knacks of questionable taste, lol! They’re darling!
    Thanks for sharing with us at Throwback Thursday!


  23. This takes me back to my aromatherapy days thanks for the memories!

  24. What a great idea!


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