Thursday, July 19, 2012

All About Burning Taper Candles!

Burning Taper Candles

Question: Why did the box of taper candles that I bought say they were dripless and smokeless, yet they dripped, and smoked?

Ahhhh, yes!  The old dripless and smokeless question!   First, let's get some basics down right now.

1) A taper candle is designed to be burned in a taper candle holder.  If a taper candle is not almost perfectly  STRAIGHT in the holder, you can expect it to drip.  No matter what the box or packaging says!

2) A taper candle must be kept away from drafts.  A taper candle is designed to burn wax almost as fast as it melts it.  Thus, there is a very small reservoir of wax that you may notice at the tip of the candle as it burns.   This reservoir is contained by a thin wax wall directly around the base of the flame (or the tip of the candle).  If the flame is caused to jump around or flicker, this wax wall will heat, and melt, and the wax will exit out of the reservoir.  This will in turn cause the flame to melt more wax, and increase the size of the flame due to the larger amount of wicking now available to the flame (There was a portion of wicking that wasn't burning at the base of the flame, the portion that was soaked in the wax!)   The larger flame will only cause the candle to drip faster and faster, leaving behind a very short burn time, and a gigantic mess.

3) While I hesitate to say this, try to avoid overly inexpensive candles.  This isn't to say that candles bought for a remarkable price will drip or smoke; it simply isn't so.  What I am trying to say is if the candle seems damaged, or incredibly inexpensive, test burn one before stocking up.  See for yourself, and if you are able to find an inexpensive candle that provides you with long, lovely, serene, evenings, then by all means stock up!!

4) Candle produces black smoke when it burns?  On a taper, the only real attempt at correcting this is to trim the wick.  REMEMBER!   Only a little at a time, and light it between each trimming!

Question: Why doesn't my candle fit in the holder?   They say they are standard and the clerk at the store said it too!?

This question can go on and on, and in the end, people will still have this problem.  Simply stated, a taper candle to be considered "standard" needs to be 7/8" of an inch, at it's widest, on the portion consisting of it's bottom inch.  Meaning, if a taper candle is 12" tall, the bottom inch (the base inch) must not consist of an area greater than 7/8"  This base can have a slight taper.  But MUST achieve precisely 7/8" at some point along that bottom inch.

The problem arises in three steps.

First, the candle manufacturer, for lack of a better explanation, is unable to utilize a measuring ruler.

Second, the candle holder manufacturer missed school on the day the teacher went over the use of the measuring ruler as well!

Third, they don't talk to each other!
GREAT!  But how can I get my candles to stand straight in the holders anyway?  I went to school and I know how to use a ruler!  I love my holders and I want candles in them!
OK!  Click here and look for the "Sticky Wax"!

Question: How can I keep my candles standing straight?

I'll keep this one short.
NO!  Don't drip the wax from the tip of the candle. (They will drip!)

NO! Don't use materials that you wedge in the base; these can fall out, dry out, or catch fire!

If possible use candles that fit the receptacle well.  I realize this can be next to impossible. 

In any event, the best material available for maintaining your candles in a straight, elegant, drip-free environment is stick wax.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More about candles!

More about Candles!!
Don't see an answer to a question you have here? Visit!

Question: Why is the color only on the outside of the candle?  The candle is white or a different color on the inside.

This is called over-dipping.  The "core" (inside) of the candle is usually white and made up of compressed wax particles.  This "core" is then dipped in the color that you see.

Question: Why are some candles so much more expensive then others, yet they are the same size?

Good question!  Candles require more than just wax and wick.  Candles require different additives, skilled craftsmen or workers, and time.   The best way to answer this is with experience.  Take the time to try different candles.  See what characteristics you find important, and then look for those similar characteristics in the candles you choose in the future.
Remember, just because a candle costs more doesn't mean it is better!  Go with what you like, and most importantly, enjoy the beauty and brilliance of candle light in a safe and responsible manner.

Question: The candle has a label on the bottom or elsewhere that indicates that the candle is for decorative purposes only, I would like to burn it, what should I do?

Many candles today make remarkable conversation pieces.   The type of ice breaker that can ease even the tensest of gatherings.  Avoid burning candles that are marked in such a way.  Furthermore, exercise common sense.   If a candle appears as if it will make a mess or burn in an unsafe manner, avoid burning it.  And NEVER leave a burning a candle unattended!

Question: I have a candle that feels much lighter than it should.  What is this, and why does it feel like this?

Ahh, yes.  This is referred to as aerated wax.   Simply stated, it is wax that is mixed with air.  Candles produced in this matter often weigh as little as half the normal amount.  Thus reducing the cost, and freight in shipping.  These candles should never be burned as they can produce flames that may reach an unsafe size, and are prone to dripping.  These candles are clearly best for novelty.

Question: How can I tell a good candle from a bad candle?

Hmmmm.  There are some basic things to consider in a candle.
1) Scent (if scented).  Is the scent strong?  Does it permeate the air when burned for a minimum of forty minutes?  Is it true?   Does it really smell like a fresh basket of strawberries?
2) Color (If dyed).  Is the color "true"?   If it says royal blue, is it really royal blue?  Solid color candles tend to fade faster than over-dipped candles. Solid color candles are sometimes more desirable for decorating.
3) Size to wick ratio.  Does the wick seem overly large in thickness for the width of the candle?  Or is it just right?
4) Burn time.  Did the fifteen hour votive IN A VOTIVE GLASS only burn six hours, consuming all the wax?  Or did it burn between thirteen and sixteen hours as it should?  How about that three inch wide pillar candle?   Did you get approximately twenty hours per INCH in height??
5) Were you able to control the flame from smoking by trimming the wick as needed?
These are just some hints.  Basically there is no definite way to tell a good candle from a bad candle.  Whatever you do, don't be deceived by high prices or candle party gimmicks.  Trial and error is often the best way to learn.

Question: I buy a lot of my candles from places that call themselves factories.  Am I really getting the best deal this way?

The truth?
It depends.  More often than not, the answer to this is: not really!  The best way to know if you are getting a good deal is by trying and burning the candle and then comparing them to others!  Don't stock up on candles you aren't familiar with simply because you think you are getting them for a steal!   Remember, the best lesson learned is by experience!

Question: How long should different types of candles burn?

1)  Taper candles can burn as long as they can be safely monitored.
2)  Container candles, such as jars, or candles in a tin, can be burned as long as possible as well; this will help ensure that the candle will burn clean out of the container.  Same goes for votive candles!
3)  **Pillar candles, such as 3"x6", or 4"x9", etc. can be burned for as long as the integrity of the top edge can be maintained!  Basically, burn them as long as you can without causing them to drip! (**See #4)
4)  Candles with imbedded materials must be carefully watched.  For example, candles with pressed flowers or other possibly flammable materials affixed to them, must be burned in short intervals (one to two hours) and care must be taken to avoid contact of these materials with the flame!

Please remember some things that are especially important to the entire staff:

2) Candles can create among the best atmospheres!  Be creative in your decor, and your scent combinations!  You'll surprise yourself!!
3) Use our Candle Burning Guide.  Don't be shy!   Ask questions!  We love to help!  It is why we are here!  We are here to make YOU happy!  Simple. :-)
4) Know how appreciative we are that you are reading this right now!  Know that you are our most important asset, and that without YOU there would not be a  Thank You... for being HERE!
5) Have a wonderful day, no matter what you do with it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Candle burning problems.

Let's talk about some problems when burning candles!
(Be sure and check this entire blog for lots of other ideas and tips for candle burning problems too!)

Question: Why does my candle smoke when it burns?

Answer: A candle smokes when it burns for one of several reasons.

First, and most usually, the wick is too long.  Try trimming the wick a little at a time with an old finger nail trimmer or small scissors.   Light the candle between each trimming until the candle no longer smokes.

Second, the candle may have a property that prevents an even flow of wax into the wick.  This can be caused by problems with the scented oils added to the candle during manufacturing, or an abundance of non-emulsifiable dye (coloring that can not blend with the wax efficiently).  If this is the problem, it may be impossible for the candle to ever burn properly.  If you arrive at this as your conclusion, it should be your last.  You may attempt by pouring off some of the wax into a piece of aluminum foil. (Discard the foil properly, and responsibly.)   Remember, never pour wax into any of your drains, this will cause costly repair!   Attempt to light the candle.  The problem may have been isolated to a particular portion of the candle.  Good luck!

Question: My candle makes a crackling sound as it burns! Why?

If you keep your candles in the freezer, click here.

If not, this can be caused by several factors.

First, usually this is caused by water, or other moisture being present while the candle is burning.  This could have occurred while the candle was being made or between a burning session.  Try to keep candles in a cool and dry place to avoid this.

Second, crackling can also be caused by other improprieties in the wax.  It is recommended that a crackling candle be extinguished immediately and discarded or returned to the place of purchase.  It simply isn't worth the risk.