Natural Insect Repelling String Ties

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Natural Insect-Repelling String Ties 

Insect Repelling String Ties

These insect-repelling string ties are really easy to make, and are great for keeping insects away from camping areas, picnic tables, and other outdoor events! The compact case/dispenser this string is stored in is small enough that it can easily be taken backpacking, hiking, biking, or on any other outdoor excursion.

Ingredients Needed:

  1. Cotton yarn or thick string: This can be found at most any fabric or craft store. Yarn or string made from other absorbent materials may work as well, but cotton seems to work really well for this project. 
  2. 1 oz. plastic salve container: This is used as a container/dispenser for the yarn or string. 
  3. 15 ml amber glass spray bottle: This is used to mix the essential oil blend and jojoba together in. Other small glass bottles or containers can be used as well, but the 15 ml spray bottle has the added benefit that when you are done using it, you can add some distilled water to the bottle to create your own insect-repelling spray! 
  4. Jojoba oil: This can be found in many health or soap-making supply stores. Other unscented vegetable oils can also be used as carrier oils for this project, but they may go rancid if unused for a long time. Jojoba oil, which is technically a liquid wax rather than a true oil, tends to be more stable than regular vegetable oils. 
  5. Essential oils: This recipe calls for lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, and thyme essential oils. If desired, however, you can substitute other insect-repelling essential oils (like citronella) or other oil blends.


  1. Wind cotton yarn into a ball or coil until it is approximately 1.5" in diameter (if you coil the yarn, it may be easiest to wind it around a small 1" long wood dowel).
  2. Place the ball/coil into the 1 oz. plastic salve container.
  3. In the 15 ml glass bottle, blend 50 drops lavender, 50 drops lemongrass, 30 drops peppermint, and 10 drops thyme essential oils (or you can substitute 100-150 drops of your own desired essential oil or blend).
  4. Add jojoba oil to the essential oils until the 15 ml glass bottle is nearly full. Cap or cover the bottle opening and shake the bottle for a few seconds to help mix the oils. Allow the oil mixture to sit for a few minutes to allow it to meld together.
  5. Slowly pour about 1/2 of the oil mixture onto the yarn ball/coil inside the plastic container, allowing the oil to soak into the yarn before pouring more. Turn the ball/coil over, and pour the remaining 1/2 of the oil mixture onto the other side of the ball/coil. (If you want to make an insect-repelling spray in the 15 ml bottle, leave a small amount of the oil mixture remaining in the glass bottle, then add distilled water to the oil mixture until the bottle is nearly full. Screw the spray top on the bottle. To use the spray, shake the bottle vigorously for a few seconds to mix the oil and water, then spray in the desired location as needed).
  6. Screw the lid onto the 1 oz. plastic salve container, and let the container sit for 2-3 hours to allow the oil mixture to soak thoroughly into the yarn.
  7. To use the insect-repelling string ties, remove the desired length of string from the container and tie it onto tree branches, fences, tents, poles, or other objects around the desired area (if you tie them onto tree branches, be sure to remove them when finished, or the string may end up causing damage as the branch tries to grow wider).

Extra Ideas:

  1. Convert the 1 oz. salve container into a great dispenser for your string with a few easy steps. Drill a small hole (approximately the same diameter as the yarn or string you used) through the lid of the container. Thread a small amount of the yarn/string through the bottom of the hole in the lid. Screw the lid back onto the container, being certain to hold onto the yarn/string that has been threaded through the hole so it doesn't slip back down through the hole. Apply a small label or sticker over the top of the hole and yarn to help seal the container until needed. To dispense from this container, simply pull the desired length of yarn/string through the hole, then carefully cut the yarn/string approximately 1" above the hole.
  2. For a more formal event, create insect-repelling strings from two or more complimentary colors. Hang the different colors in attractive patterns, braid the colors together, or twist the colors together to create a decorative element with the strings.

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