I have candle wick problems...

… and other assorted fun.

Since I don’t have a fire place in my apartment, I have to opt for the next best thing- candles, and lots of them.

It may sound it bit odd, a solo guy having a bunch of candles around and about his abode, but I like 'em.

But I’m having problems-

To begin with, I keep having candle ‘meander’. That is, the candle wax will burst through the side of the candle and sends molten candle wax all over the place… kinda like a volcano.

That sucks.

Secondly, I also get candlewick ‘apathy’. That is, the wick starts to curl up on itself and burn poorly. In some instances, the wick almost seems to be coming out of the base of the candle at an angle.

The pilot light on my stove puts off more light in that case.
So, what do I do? Is there such a thing as candle maintenance?

I really enjoy candles, but it ticks me off having to throw away candles because they do one or both of the above.

And ideas?

Hmmmm. Single, apartment dweller, likes candles. You don’t have a cat do you? Ha Ha…just kidding!


Hmmm…candle volcanos…what kind of candles do you have and how long do you burn them for? Some candles should only be lit for a few hours at a time or the overflow happens…I also suggest larger candle holders to contain the melted flow.

As for your wick problem. Most candle companies suggest always trimming your wick to a 1/2 inch before burning so that the wick blob doesn’t happen…this also seems to cut down on the amount of black smoke released.

Hope I helped.

And don’t throw away a candle, ever. Just yank the wick out, melt it down and make a new one. There are a million craft sites online with insturctions for doing that.

I enjoy candles also…but, I guess I’m sort of a candle snob! I don’t usually buy “just any” candle. I like candles that burn all the way down. My preference is Yankee Candles and take a look at their site for their burning tips. For whatever reason, the link won’t work to send you directly to the “tips”, so you need to scroll to the bottom of the page and and click on the Safety and Burning Tips.

Let us know what type of candles you prefer…they are all different as far as care goes…some candles are just like me…they like hugs!

Okay, are these those big fat decorative candles, like 4 to 5 inches across? I believe they are mainly intended as decorative. All the ones I’ve ever had have burned just the way you describe. It’s hopeless to try to use them up, or to get them to burn in any kind of rational manner.

I’d switch to those little votive lights in the smaller candleholders. The wax melts and stays there in the little cup, so eventually the entire candle gets used up.

You know Vogue, the day I start re-melting old candles to make new candles is the day I have my head checked.

I like 'em… but not that much. “Hey guys, I’d love to meet up and have a few beers, but I gotta finish working on my candles.”

I dunno… that just doesn’t sound right.

The candles I’m having problems with are in a variety of sizes and prices. For the most part, I get the ‘pillar’ kind and the big fatties that DDG talked about. Some have come from Target, and some from some more expensive places (I think the rents gave me some from Williams Sonoma a while back but those were almost worse than the Target ones).

I’ve tried snipping the wick when it gets too long, but then the candle seems to ‘take off’ and burn like a madman for a while until the side gives out and I have candle lava all over the place. And it seems whenever I snip the wick or otherwise mess around with the wick, it does that sideways thing I mentioned above. In that case, you’d hardly notice the candle is burning.

I honestly don’t know what it is that I’m doing wrong… but it must be something.

I go over to my families house, or over to friends’ houses, and their candles look great. They come over to my place, and it almost looks sad (I think that’s why they bought me the Williams Sonoma candles in the first place-- guilt and fear of what others would think of their parenting skills).

My apartment isn’t windy, the candles themselves seem sound when I buy them, and I’m not playing around with them while they burn.

But dammit!! Halfway through a new candle and the thing is either hardly burning, or it’s burning so rapidly it self destructs. And I tell ya, it sucks trying to clean up candle lava once it’s solidified.

So, again, I don’t know what the hell it is.

Cheap candles are made cheaply. That’s all there is to it.

Target and WalMart candles invariably suck. I second the votive plan, especially if you burn a lot of them - I have dozens of votive holders, myself.

You might want to try specialty candle stores - Wicks 'n Sticks, e.g. Or if the women at work pass around those silly CandleLite catalogs - those are good, as well. Do they cost a fortune? Yes. But they burn well and true and forever.

If you can find beeswax pillars, spring for those - they’re usually well-made and they seem to burn twice as long as paraffin.

I have a friend who sells for CandleLite. Their candles are pricey, but they do burn very cleanly. At the parties, they actually teach you how to burn candles. The major points I remember are to trim your wick(s) before burning and to burn long enough. Apparently, the biggest problem with burning the 3-wicks is that they have to be burned for a certain amount of time each time you light them so that the wax will become fully liquid. If you burn them only a short time, they will harden unevenly and then you get the slumped sides and spill over. Also, drafts are a real problem. If they are near windows or heating grates, that can cause them to burn unevenly.

Yankee Candle has the best candles. They burn for a very long time and are reasonably priced. (cost relative to burn time, that is) They always burn evenly for me and I’ve never had trouble with them at all.

With candles you definately get what you pay for. I haven’t had very good luck with the Target candles myself.

Worst case, stick the candle in a (fire proof) bucket/bowl/plate that’s large enough to catch any wax that tries to escape. (Plain ol’ white ceramic plate is what I use, and as a bonus, if wax does escape it’s easy to clean up.) Or, don’t clean up the escaped wax, and let it build up like a collage of sorts.

And I’ve had the same problem with one side of the BAMF candle collapsing, and the wax spilling out: as far as I could tell, the wick was just too close to the side and the heat did the side of the candle in. Never did figure out on that particular candle what the ‘magic burn time’ was. (Burning it long enough to melt enough wax, but not so long so as to cause the volcano problem.)

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For the bad wick, I believe like some others above, it is just a bad wick, cheap made candle. If you feel up to it, they sell wicks in some store, you can replace it, might be worth it if it is the beginning of a big candle, and you don’t want to waste it.
For the volcano effect you don’t want, put a little bit of big salt at the base of the flamme and the candle won’t run out :wink: (Yep, I like candles too…!)