Citronella Lemon Bowl Outdoor Candle Recipe

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Words: Kristy Doubet Haare

This article was originally featured in Willow & Sage Spring 2018

This recipe came about with plans to share a seasonal farm-to-table meal alfresco. Is there anything more satisfying than sharing a meal with friends and family outdoors under the stars? As if fresh skin isn’t enough to draw the mosquitoes in, the aromas of such a meal call to more biting insects. With the questionable ingredients in most bug sprays, I turned to a natural bug repellent. Citronella essential oil is most commonly used as an insect repellent and is particularly effective at keeping away mosquitoes. It is obtained from the leaves and stems of a particular species of lemongrass, cymbopogon, and has a rich, crisp lemony aroma.

These Citronella Lemon Bowl Outdoor Candles combine insect-repelling essential oils and herbs into hollowed out lemons, creating a beautiful centerpiece or small arrangements on outdoor tables. Make an extra dozen to send home with guests for an evening they won’t soon forget.

You Will Need:

-3 lemons

-Pairing knife


-6 Wooden Sticks

-Pot: large

-14 oz. soy wax flakes

-Metal candle-pouring pitcher


-Double boiler

-4 drops lemongrass essential oil

-8 drops citronella essential oil

-3/4 tsp. dried lemon balm

To Make:

1. Slice each lemon in half and carefully hollow out with a paring knife and spoon to create lemon bowls.

2. Cut wooden wicks to size for each lemon bowl and set aside.

3. Fill a large pot with about 2 inches of water and place it on the stove to heat.

4. Place soy wax flakes in a metal candle-pouring pitcher and set inside the large pot.

5. Whisk often and heat until melted.

6. Remove from heat immediately to keep the wax from getting too hot.

7. While cooling, spoon a small amount of melted wax into the center of a prepared lemon bowl.

8. Place a wooden wick into the hot wax and hold until stable (about 10 seconds).

9. Repeat for each lemon bowl.

10. Let the wax cool to 120–125 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, add the essential oils to the melted wax in the candle-pouring pitcher. Slowly swirl or quickly whisk to blend the essential oils with the candle wax.

11. Next, carefully pour the wax into each lemon bowl, being careful to avoid the top of the wooden wicks.

12. Top each candle with ⅛ teaspoon of lemon balm before the wax cools.

13. Let stand 30 minutes to an hour or until the wax is hard and white.

Discover more recipes inside Willow and Sage Summer 2021 now available on news stands and at:

Kristy Doubet Haare is a best-selling author and writer. She teaches readers to create organic skincare alternatives, household cleaners, and more with herbs and essential oils. Her website,, caters to those who wish to live a naturally inspired life. 

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