When you’ve spent far too much money on a fancy candle, you’ll want to make the most of it.
But whether it’s tunneling, black marks along the rim, or burning out before its time, there’s a lot that can go wrong.
With some care, though, there are ways to keep your candles lit and making your home feel like a cosy retreat.
We chatted to Richard Fewings from Cosy Owl to get his top tricks.
How to make candles burn slower
First off, if you’ve heard that freezing your candle will make it last for ages and are hastily shoving your collection in the freezer, stop.
Richard says there’s no evidence this process works and there are quite a few risks: you could crack your candle, leaving you with messy shards of wax, the wax could pull away from the container, or you could alter the fragrance of your candle. Think about it soaking up the scents of frozen peas and fish currently in your freezer drawer. Not so appealing.
Instead, it’s worth sprinkling a pinch of salt into the melted wax just after you blow out your candle. Richard says the salt will slow down the burn time the next time you light it.
How to properly put out a candle
Okay, so apparently if you’ve been just blowing out your candles as though they were on a birthday cake, you’ve been doing it all wrong.
‘Never extinguish your candle by blowing on it,’ says Richard. ‘Instead, place a glass lid (or just a glass if you don’t have a lid) over the flame until it goes out
‘Wait until the wax has melted all the way to the edge before putting it out.’
How to avoid tunnelling
Tunnelling is that annoying process where the middle of your candle burns down while the outside stays on the glass.
You can avoid it by always allowing your candle to burn for longer the first time you light it, letting it burn until the entire top is melted into a pool (rather than just the centre).
As a rule of thumb, you should allow your candle to burn for an hour per inch of diametere wax on the first burn.
If you missed this step, never fear – we previously recapped an easy fix for tunnelled candles.
How to lengthen or shorten a wick
Ever found it impossible to light a wick that’s just a tiny nub?
‘As a guide, your wick should be between 1/4” and 1/8”,’ Richard explains. ‘Firstly, try to relight the wick and see if the problem resolves itself or not after a short 20-minute burn (this should have created a small indent around the wick, so more of it should be exposed. If you can clearly see the wick and it isn’t covered by wax, then you can relight it and it should work as usual).
‘If you still cannot see the wick, you’ll need to expose it by scraping out the room-temperature wax using a butter knife.’
How to clean candle wax off a surface
This one’s easy. Slowly heat your wax with a hairdryer, then when the wax is fully liquified you can just wipe it away with a sponge or towel.
How to make new candles with leftover wax
First you’ll need to get a new container and a fresh wick – you can order these online.
If you have a pre-waxed wick, simply use a glue tab or molten wax to stick it to the base of your container, then make sure you use a peg or hair clip to hold the wick up and straight while you pour in your wax.
To use leftover wax from old candles, you’ll want to heat it up so it’s easy to pour, then go ahead and put it in your container while the wick is held straight.
‘Before you melt your remaining wax, just make sure that there are no pieces of burnt wick in the mix,’ says Richard. ‘You should also try not to mix different types of wax together, as these may have different characteristics and melting point.’
How to use the bottom bit of wax of a candle
So you’ve used your candle to the max, but there’s a chunk of wax at the bottom you just can’t burn.
Don’t just chuck it away – instead, use it for a wax burner.
Fill your candle’s container with water and place in the microwave for two minutes. When you take the candle out of the microwave and the mixture cools, the wax will come free from the base and float the top.
At this point you can easily lift the wax out, break it up, and use the pieces for melts for a wax burner.
How to recycle and reuse your empty candle containers
Again, don’t just chuck out a nice candle container. Reuse it as a plant pot, a makeup brush holder, whatever you fancy.
All you need to do is add warm water to the container to make the wax soft and easy to scrape out. Then give the container a proper clean and it’s ready to use.
Do you have a DIY hack we need to know about? Get in touch to tell us all about it by emailing [email protected]
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