How To: Best Burn Pillar Candles

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How To: Best Burn Pillar Candles

The golden glow. The 100% naturally occuring honey-rich scent. The gift of the flicker. Lighting a beeswax pillar candle is, to our eyes, the pinnacle of simple magic.

Like all good things, maximizing a pillar candle's beauty—and burn time—just takes a little know-how: a few thoughtful steps at the beginning of your candle's life will keep it burning evenly and gorgeously for literal weeks on end. 

Trim your wick. Yes, every time—even/especially the first time you light it. Using a pair of small, sharp scissors (or a dedicated trimmer if that's in your arsenal of fancy tools), cut down the wick shorter than you might think: 1/8"-1/4". This shorter length allows for the wick and the candle to burn at the same rate, in concert, resulting in the cleanest, brightest, most even burns.

The first time you trim it, before it's lit, will be the hardest, but after that you can even pinch off burned wicks with your fingers once they've cooled, though full disclosure: this will get black on your fingers.

Burn pillars all the way across/as close to the edge as possible the first time you light them. To give the candle the time it needs to really get going in the right direction, it's ideal to wait until you have a few hours to let the candle burn attended before lighting it the first time. Stopping the burn before the wax well almost reaches the edge can lead to dripping (rarer in pillars, but definitely possible), tunneling (when the wick burns inefficiently in a deep hole), or canoeing (when one side gets all wonky). If, after a few burns you notice your candle canoeing you can blow it out and gently mold it back to pillar shape with your hands while the wax is still warm. 

Avoid drafts and breezes, which can lead to uneven burning. Anna noticed that one of the pillars on her table was always burning faster than the other and more unevenly. Same candle, same room, same setup...but one caught a draft wafting unseen and unfelt from the window to the screen door. Moving them a few inches towards the center of the table took them out of the breezeway and back on the right track.

And of course: never leave burning candles unattended and burn candles on non-flammable surfaces.

Go forth and glow.


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