Tips for Burning Pillars and Other Large Candles

This is from our "Beeswax Candle Card" that is included in every order shipped.

Tips for burning large pillars

Why Beeswax for large pillars?

Beeswax was one of the first ingredients used for making large pillar candles; recognized since ancient Roman times---and subsequently by many other civilizations--for its effective aromatic burning properties. (Beeswax burns very slowly and smells deliciously sweet.)

Other waxes were tried as an alternative to beeswax. Tallow, the fat rendered from cattle or sheep was messy, didn't burn long and had an offensive odor. Waxes from sperm whales & vegetables were tried and were somewhat better. In the mid 1800's paraffin, a by-product of crude oil was discovered. Most paraffin waxes burn at a lower temperature than beeswax and are used for most mass produced candles that are sold today.

Beeswax is made from the nectar of flowers! The honeybees produce beeswax from wax glands on the sides of their body and use it to create "cells" to store their honey in. Its color may vary from white to yellow or brown. It possesses a subtle aroma, the fragrance of honey ingrained with the other scents present in a bee hive. The demand for beeswax exceeds the supply in most years. For this reason, it is expensive. On the average, eight pounds of honey are consumed by the bees for each pound of wax made by the colony. A large amount of the available beeswax is used in cosmetics and in many waxes and polishes.

What is the dusty substance on the surface of many beeswax candles?
The dusty looking substance on the surface of the candles is called “bloom”. It is a naturally occuring substance on all beeswax candles after they have been aged for a period of time. It is desired by many people as it gives the candle a very “antique” look and only beeswax will develop it. If desired, it may be rubbed off with a soft cloth or removed with the gentle use of a hair dryer.

Tips for Burning Pillars and Other Large Candles

Particularly for their first burn, candles are supposed to burn for at least one hour per inch of container diameter. So, if you bought a new candle that is 3 inches in diameter, you should burn your candle for at least 3 hours (though not more than 4 at a time) or until the well created by the flame extends to within 1/4" of the sides of the candle.. Wax has a memory, so you want to burn your candle so the melted wax spreads all the way out to the edge of your container. That way, when you burn your candle the next time, it will remember to melt all the way out to the sides.

Short burns of one to two hours at a time will cause your candle to repeatedly heat in just the center of the candle with each burn, causing it to only burn straight down the middle. Since the flame burns in the center, it starts to develop that pool with each ignition.

Keep the wicks trimmed to 1/4". The longer the wick, the higher the flame which will cause the flame to smoke. Any time smoking occurs, exinguish the candle, and trim the wick to 1/4". It is safe to re-light the candle also; the excess heat or the weight of the wick tipping to one side may deform the candle. Keep all debris out of the well of the candle. Match sticks or parts of the burned wick that fall into the candle well can "clog" the wick and cause it to burn inefficiently, or catch on fire.

We try different wicks in all of our candles to get the best results, but some candles may not be burned as long as others at one time. Cylindrical pillars or very large pillars such as our Large Ball, Cut Glass, 4 inch wide pillars, or Large 2 Wick pillars may be burned for longer periods. We have burned these for 3-5 hours or more at a time.

Somewhat irregular in shape pillars such as our Hexagonal pillar (4 1/2 inch or 9 inch) or Heart Pillars should only be burned for 2-3 hours at a time.

Very irregular shaped pillars such as our Rose, Bethlehem, Angels should only be burned for 1-2 hour at a time. Some people do not burn the very decorative pillars at all (Baby Bear, Pilgrims, etc)

The thing to keep in mind for any pillar is to not let the pool of wax overflow the sides!

Pillars should be "hugged" as they are burned. Any pillar will tend to burn down and create a deep cavity in the center of the pillar. When the pillar has burned for a while and the wax is softer, try gently folding in the sides toward the flame. This "hugging" will cause the wax on the sides of the pillar to be consumed. Do not do too much at once or the flame will be drowned out.

Keep the wick straight up. Sometimes we have found (recently when burning a Heart Pillar) that if the wick is sticking out at angle the pool of wax will be off-centered causing the candle to possibly leak. I just pushed the wick upright with a pencil.

Relighting Pillars - Sometimes a pillar can be difficult to relight and it is helpfull to scrape out a small area around the wick (1/2 inch or so) before lighting.

Enjoy Your Candles!

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Great Information about Candles at the National Candle Association