DIY Mason Jar Luminaries for Summer with Natural Bug Repellent

DIY, How-Tos

I’m excited to share these DIY mason jar luminaries for summer with you today. They are not only beautiful, but they help to keep pesky mosquitos and bugs at bay too. This means you can spend more time outside enjoying the warm weather and having lots of summer fun. Just wait until you see how easy they are to make too!

A DIY mason jar luminary on the porch coffee table with a book, a mug, and a vase of hydrangeas.

Mason jar luminaries are the perfect home decor accent for an outdoor patio, porch, or dining area. This summer, enjoy a beautiful bug-free ambiance with candlelight and a fresh citrus scent. 

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 Gifts From Nature

Anytime I can use natural ingredients and homeopathic remedies on the farm I do. I love (love, love) essential oils. They are a fabulous (natural) alternative for cleaning and disinfecting. Essential oils are also great when used for health remedies, beauty and skincare, and don’t forget aromatherapy.

A basket of lemon and limes in front of a rosemary bush in the garden.

It’s no secret that the bugs come with the summer heat and humidity in the south. In the summertime, pesky mosquitoes and noseeums can make enjoying time outside downright difficult. Evenings are always extra challenging. Therefore, this summer I came up with a wonderful and beautiful way to enjoy evenings on the farm virtually bug-free. After consulting one of my favorite books, The Big Book of Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health and Home, by Jan Berry I was inspired to come up with a mosquito repellant formula that would allow us to stay outside on the farm longer with friends and family- without the annoyance of the bugs. 

Items Needed to Make DIY Mason Jar Luminaries For Summer

Supplies needed to make DIY mason jar luminaries for summer including water, lemons, limes, vanilla extract, rosemary, and floating tea candles.

How to Assemble DIY Mason Jar Luminaries

  1. Slice the lemons and the limes and set them aside.Slices of lemon and lime on a cutting board.
  2. Fill each mason jar 3/4 full with water.Filling a mason jar with water from the kitchen faucet.
  3. Add the essential oils of choice (10 drops each per jar) and the homemade vanilla extract (1/8 teaspoon per jar). I typically use 3-5 different oils in my luminaries. Gently swirl the water, essential oils, and homemade vanilla extract in the jar to combine.Adding essential oil drops to the water and rosemary inside the mason jar.
  4. Add a couple of fresh rosemary sprigs and some lemon and lime slices into each jar. (I used about 2 each.) Add more water to the jar if necessary to raise the level to almost full.
  5. Place a floating tea light candle on top of the water in each jar. 

DIY mason jar luminaries made with a mason jar, water, rosemary, essential oils, vanilla extract, lemon and lime.

Now, with your DIY mason jar luminaries assembled, it’s time to enjoy them. Set them outside on a dining table, side table, coffee table, or bar. Light the candles, sit back, relax, and bask in a virtually bug-free and beautiful atmosphere outside.*

Replace tea lights as needed and discard the fruit and the liquid in the jars after 2 – 3 days depending on your climate. Rinse out the jars and start fresh as needed.

*Never leave candles unattended or in reach of small children. Never ingest the ingredients in the jars.

Ingredient Insights

Wondering why I chose these specific ingredients for the bug-repellent DIY mason jar luminaries this summer? I’d love to share my thoughts with you.

  • Pest-repellent essential oils: The BEST essential oils to repel mosquitoes are probably citronella and lemongrass. However, I will admit that they aren’t the best smelling. When it comes to repelling bugs though, I’m willing to sacrifice scent over scratching. That being said, other (more pleasing scented) essential oils that are also considered good for repelling bugs are cedarwood, basil, catnip, geranium, lavender, and tea tree. 
  • Pest-repellent herbs: Due to the abundance of rosemary in our garden this summer, I chose to use it as the pest-repelling herb in my luminaries. Other herbs that can be used include catnip, yarrow, lemon balm, basil, lemongrass, mint, and sage
  • Homemade Vanilla Extract: Close up of homemade vanilla extract in a glass bottle.The use of the vanilla extract in these luminaries serves two purposes. If you have ever made homemade vanilla extract, then you know that it’s typically made with two ingredients: vodka (or sometimes bourbon) and vanilla beans. Unlike me, mosquitos, black flies, gnats, and even ticks hate the scent of vanilla, making it an automatic repellent. Vodka is the preservative in homemade vanilla extract and is known to help slow the evaporation rate of other liquids. Therefore, using homemade vanilla extract in the luminaries helps slow the evaporation of the water inside the jar and repels pesky bugs that don’t like the scent of vanilla. 

Bug Free and Care-Free

Thanks to these DIY mason jar luminaries, we have been able to enjoy so much more care-free time outside on the farm this summer without being bothered by bugs. I have a few of them on the front porch and out back on the patio. When we entertain and eat outside I always have some on the dining table. The candlelight and the fresh fragrance from these luminaries creates such a pretty summer ambiance.  These DIY mason jar luminaries are the perfect beautiful and functional outdoor table decor. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

View of the front porch coffee table with a DIY mason jar luminary on it, a vase of hydrangeas, a book, and a mug.

For more easy, beautiful, and inexpensive DIYs, home decor sources and styling ideas, delicious recipes, and more I hope you will join me on Instagram and Pinterest. I look forward to see you there!

Pin this idea for later:

Pinterest Pin for DIY Mason Jar Luminaries

Pinterest Pin for DIY Mason Jar Luminaries

  1. […] DIY Mason Jar Luminaries for Summer with Natural Bug Repellent […]

  2. Lynn L. says:

    I can hardly wait to try out the bug-repelling luminaries and most especially the homemade vanilla extract!

    • Meeghan says:

      I’m so happy you love the idea, Lynn! It’s my pleasure to share the idea with you. Enjoy making some luminaries and homemade vanilla extract of your own. Thank you for visiting the blog!

  3. Jill says:

    Can you make these ahead of time and store them in the fridge and if so, how long will they last? Thanks so much!

    • Meeghan says:

      I’ve never tried making them ahead of time or storing them in the fridge, Jill. One of my concerns would be the essential oils congealing and being less potent once they warm up outside of the refrigerator. It might be worth a try though. Let me know how it works if you try it!

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