several stacks of candles on a desk

A Beginner’s Guide to Candles

I know what you’re thinking “doesn’t everyone know how to burn a candle?” but the simple answer is NO. On social media I’ve seen a lot of people posting ~*aesthetically pleasing*~ videos of them lighting candles that are tunneled to the point of no return with ridiculously long wicks. So, here are some basic tips on how to properly burn your candles and get the most out of them.

1. Trim your wicks

Trimming your wicks is super important and provides many benefits as well! Your wicks should always be about a quarter of an inch before burning. This helps create a cleaner and a more even burn, makes a more controlled flame and less smoke- keeping your candle jar from turning black at the top from smoke and your flame will be brighter. You can cut your wicks with scissors or nail clippers but once you get closer to the bottom, it can become more difficult to trim them. I highly recommend investing in a wick trimmer if you’re someone who burns candles often. You can find them online for about ten dollars and in a variety of colors! This is the pair I bought if you’re looking for rose gold!

2. Keep your candle lit until it is burned evenly across the top

Once you’ve lit your candle, make sure to allow the wax to melt all the way across the top. Depending on the candle, this will usually take a couple of hours. Don’t light a candle unless you’re going to be around it for a while. If you don’t allow the wax to melt evenly, your candle will start to tunnel. Tunneling decreases the burn time on your candle significantly and eventually the wick might be drowned by the melting wax. Getting an even burn on your first light is incredibly important in determining how your candle will continue to burn for the rest of its life. 

3. Here’s what to do if your candle starts to tunnel

If your candle has started tunneling- don’t panic! There are lots of ways to try and get your candle back to normal. I have personally had a lot of luck with the foil method when my candles are tunneling: Light your candle and then wrap a piece of aluminum foil around the candle, making a dome shape with a hole left at the top. This helps hold the heat in, helping to remove and wax that may be stuck on the edges of the container. After letting your candle burn like this for about half an hour, check on the candle and you should have an even burn! With this method, just be sure not to leave the foil on too long and be careful when removing the foil as it will be hot. 

4. Find a safe spot to burn your candle

I hope this one goes without saying but just in case… Make sure to find a safe spot to burn your candles and always have an eye on them while they’re burning! I always burn mine on my nightstand, away from my tissues, tapestry and anything else that might be flammable. I also keep one on my desk but I only light that one when I am actually sitting down to go to class or do work since my cats like to jump up to look out of the windows. Just be safe!

5. Once you’ve burned through your candle, remove the remaining wax and repurpose the jar

I’ve found SO many uses for my empty candle jars! I have a few in my bathroom for things like hair ties and clips, one on my desk for rubber bands and paper clips and my dad has even taken a few to use in his office! There are a few ways to remove the wax but I’ve found that freezing the jars works quite well! Put your empty jar in the freezer for about a day, once it comes out it should have a few cracks in it, from there it should come out pretty easily! After that, just wash it out to get rid of any leftover residue. 

Stay safe and happy candle burning!