Candle making is a wonderful hobby. You can make candles for yourself, as gifts, or both. Making your own candles allows you to decide what scent your candle will have.
You can also decide how you want your candle to look, the color, and what type of container you want to put your candle in.
You can experiment with different scents, different types of wax, and different candle containers to create the perfect candle just for you.
Make Your Candles Last Longer. A candle will have a better scent throw if it is kept burn for its entire life. When you burn a candle, the scent is released. But, as the candle burns the scent will be reduced.
9 Techniques For Extending The Life Of Your Scented Candles
If the smell of mulled wine and turkey aren’t quite enough to get your home smelling like Christmas, a scented candle should do the tricks.
From your Yankee to your Diptyque, there’s something from everyone, but even the ‘budget’ buys can be pricey.
If it feels like you’re literally burning money and not getting the most from your candles, it might be something to do with how you burn them.
We spoke to Victoria Cator, Interior designer and Founder of Victoria Cator home fragrance to find out how to treat your candles right and make them last longer.
1. Pick The Right Candle
For smaller candles, you can get away with just one wick. However, Victoria advises that for larger ones you, ‘Choose a four wick candle where possible, as this gives an even burn and prevents any hollowing.
‘Wicks that are made of cotton allow them to burn with the candle which means that the wick doesn’t need to be trimmed.’ If you’ve already bought a candle that doesn’t have a cotton wick, though, you will need to trim.
2. Burn In The Right Location
Candles might look pretty perched on a serving tray on your carpet or on a side table that isn’t quite even, but this can be dangerous and reduce the life of your candle. Victoria says: ‘Always burn your candles on an even surface and away from drafts.’
3. Burn For The Right Amount Of Time
According to Victoria, a maximum of four hours burning each time is best. ‘If you keep the candle burning for longer than that, then hot wax can build up which can cause a scented candle to loose its fragrance more quickly,’ she says. That said, the first time you burn your candle you should do so for as long as it takes to create an even pool of wax across the top. According to Candles.org: ‘Candles should burn one hour for every one inch in diameter of the actual candle size. For example, a candle that is two inches across should burn for two hours.’ This creates something called a memory ring, which means it’ll burn evenly next time (rather than tunnelling).
4. Keep Your Space Well-Ventilated
Although you don’t want your candle near any drafty windows or fans, a ventilated room allows the scent to spread. ‘Fresh air from a partially open window allows for good circulation and an even throw of scent from the burning candle, helping the candle to circulate around the room and ensure your room is filled with the fragrance,’ says Victoria.
5. Fix tunnelling with tin foil
If you don’t manage to get your ‘memory ring’ first time around, you might notice it tunnelling. This is when the candle burns in the centre, but leaves hard wax around the edges. Prevention is better than cure, but some tin foil wrapped around and on top of the tunnelled area can help fix it so it’s not a lost cause.
6. Let The Candle Cool
Victoria says: ‘Let the candle cool down before lighting again. Most candles can take up to two hours to completely cool down. ‘This is for both safety reasons and to allow you to trim the wick if necessary.’
7. Trim Your Wick
On that note, you’ll need to trim your wick (if it gets too long) to prolong the life of your candle. ‘Trimming the wick will allow for a gorgeous bright flame, and ensure for even burning,’ says Victoria. You can do this with nail clippers or a special tool (can be bought online or from homeware stores) – ideally you want it at about a centimetre.
8. Use The Hot Water Trick
If your candle is no longer burning but there’s wax still in the jar, you can use very hot water to get the last of it out. Pour hot water in the jar and leave to cool. The wax should float to the top, so you can pull it out and either use it in a wax melt burner or poke a hole in the top and add it to the top of another candle (threading the wick through).
9. Reuse The Jar
Victoria says: ‘Reuse the jar. Candles are often housed in beautiful jars so why not use it to store pens, make-up brushes or cotton wool? A beautiful addition to your dressing table.’ Although its life might be over as a candle, that doesn’t mean it can’t make for a brand new piece of home decor.
The Dos and Don’ts of Burning Candle
Trails of black smoke, a mushroom shaped wick and soot stains on the jar… sound familiar?
If you’ve got a luxury candle habit it pays to know how best to burn them – you can make your candles last longer and smell stronger, after all.
We asked candle expert Julie Bonin at Diptyque the dos and don’ts of candle burning so you can put the insider knowledge into practice.
Do Burn It For Two Hours On First Use
“You should always burn your candle for a couple of hours when first lighting it.
This is to allow the top layer of wax to fully melt, ensuring even burning when next lighting it. Wax has a memory so it is important not to skip this step to make sure you get the most even burning out of your candle.”
Don’t Place Your Candle In A Draughty Area
“Another way to make your candle last longer is to avoid placing your candle in a draughty area, as this means your candle will be consumed more rapidly.”
Do Trim Your Wick Regularly
“Trimming the wick is very important. The longer the wick the quicker your candle will burn, so trimming it will make it last longer.
It also prevents black smoke from occurring and ensures the glass isn’t over-heating. Trim it every time you use your candle and make sure it isn’t longer than a couple millimeters – the same length as when new.”
Do Re-Centre Your Wick After Each Burn
“As well as trimming your wick, to prevent soot stains forming on the glass make sure you re-centre it after putting your candle out, when the wax is still liquid.
This will prevent the wick from shifting and blackening the glass.”
Don’t Leave The Lid Off When Not In Use
“We recommend using lids to prevent dust from settling on the candle if you aren’t using it regularly. If dust has settled, you can use a humid cotton pad to remove the dust from the top of the wax.”
Do Clean The Glass
“Should your glass turn black due to the candle having been left to burn for too long, then use a wet cotton pad with warm soapy water and gently rub it on the black stains.
Make sure you dry the area properly before lighting your candle again.”
Do Reuse Your Candle Jar
“To restore the holder when your candle has completely burnt down, simply pour hot water in the glass (make sure you use oven mitts as the glass can get very hot), swirl it gently, empty the water in a sink and wipe with a paper towel.
Repeat this process a couple of times until the glass is completely clean. It makes for great brushes or pencil holders as well as flower pots!”