So I like it outside and all but it is HOT, HOT, HOT down here after it’s rained a bit. It’s that awful, makes you want to melt, hanging around in a cloud of your own sticky sweat humid kind of a heat and it is nasty. It’s like when you open that dishwasher when it’s got the heated dry going and that puff of hot, sticky and wet hits you. Ugh. It’s so gross.
It’s kind of a bummer because normally this time of year I’d be outside constantly. Normally I’d be curled up on the porch with a book and when it got a little dark and chilly I’d find myself heading inside to wrap up on the sofa with a throw. But here I’m getting up in the middle of the night turning the air down because I’m too flippin’ WARM. I know that I’ll eventually get used to the weather here but for now I’m mostly limiting my hanging out to the evenings. But as a local warned me the mosquitoes are so bad here because there is tons of standing water in the form of man made resacas that are basically just standing water.
Now last year I was here for a bit of summer a few times and the mosquitoes drove me crazy. They love me. I’ve heard it has something to do with blood and other factors but the skeeters are more attracted to some than others. I fall in the “they love me” category and I get eaten up. And the mosquitoes down here are HUGE and leave these huge marks on me. I got so upset one of my first nights here because I was in bed and I could hear a mosquito ACROSS THE ROOM. It was so big that it’s high pitched buzz sound traveled over the sound of the fans we use for white noise to sleep. It was dang nuts.
So to combat those heinous little blood suckers when I do manage to get outside, namely in the much cooler evenings when the sun has gone down, I’ve made some mason jar citronella torches to try and keep those things at bay. And honestly, it’s super cheap and super easy.
For this project you will need:
In the center of your lid mark where you’ll be drilling your hold to insert your wick.
Tape your jar onto a piece of scrap wood and drill your hole in the center. Now my biggest bit for metal was just a hair shy of being the right size. To make it work I sort of rolled the drill bit around to catch more of the lid and make the hole a bit larger.
Now when drilling your hole keep in mind the size of your wick. I made 3 jars and on one I made my hole slightly too large. When it rained a few nights ago and I left my citronella candles on top of the table outside the rain water pushed into the one candle where there was some extra space around the wick. The others, where the wick is literally jammed through the hole did just fine and no water seeped inside which is what we want.
Now if you’re wondering why we drill into a perfectly good piece of scrap wood rather than just through the lid as it sits in the mason jar, here’s why – the one on the left was drilled straight into the jar. The hole is jagged and ragged and awful and takes a ton of cleaning up to make it from being able to cut you. Also, this just so happens to be the lid that let water seep into the oil.
Cut your wicks to allow 0.5 – 1 inch peeping through the top of your mason jar lid. I believe that you want your wick to hover over the bottom of the jar rather than actually resting on it so I’d suggest that, also.
Now after a bit of research I found that you really want to go with fiberglass wicks rather than cotton wicks as they withstand stronger heat and last longer.
Because I’m clumsy and I thought I might want to move all 3 around at once I purchased a package of mason jar handles so I can easily grasp all 3 in one hand when my hands are mostly full. This is not necessary and you cannot hang your candles from these while they burn because the flame gets too tall for that.
Fill your jars with citronella oil. I purchased mine at Walmart for less than $5.
Screw your lids with wicks on and this project is a wrap!
Now the mosquitoes haven’t been crazy yet but these do add a nice glow outside and I’m totally digging mason jar citronella torches in my green jars. I also like the idea of using something most of us have a ton of in a new way. I mean, I literally have a crate FULL of jars right now. Besides making good use, these are also just plain dang cute and I find a huge amount of value in that!
So go out and give your unused mason jar new purpose and keep the mosquitoes at bay. And if you get to spend tons of time outside while I’m sweating my big ol red face off, enjoy a cool beverage and think kindly of me :)