A big question I get asked when people are shopping at Island Sham Farmhouse is, "why are my candles burning so quickly?" If you read through my previous blog, you now know the subpar candlemakers add paraffin to their soy wax (and other waxes) in order for candles to burn faster and for you as a consumer to purchase more. However, there are ways to prolong the life of your candle that many don't think of. This blog post is here to help you get the best out of your dollars spent and to enjoy your candle right down to the blissful end.
One of the most critical ways you can extend the life is your candle involves the wick. For many of you that follow our crazy candle journey on Instagram, you know I add almost weekly reminders in our stories to TRIM THOSE WICKS! Luckily, the candle gods were good to us with the invention of the wick trimmer. These handy tools take the guesswork (and crazy body contorting) out of cutting your wicks.
They are angled so that they can fit down into virtually any candle vessel, making them much more user friendly that just a plain ol' pair of scissors. It is critical that every single time (yes I mean it, EVERY SINGLE TIME), that you trim the wick on your candle. Not only does this decrease the danger that comes with candle burning (smaller wick = less heat = less chance you will burn your home down), but it also elongates the life of your candle. The hotter a candle gets, the faster it will melt away. Therefore, ensuring your wick is always trimmed can literally hours upon hours to the life of a candle.
I often get asked, "Julia, how do I know how much wick to trim off?" The mathematical answer is to trim it to 1/4 of an inch. However, if you are like me and measuring isn't your strong suit, wick trimmers again come to the rescue. In the picture on the right, you see the head of the trimmer. And wouldn't you know...? The thicker side is exactly 1/4 of an inch thick! As my Poppy used to always say, work smarter, not harder.
Now, wick trimming, although very critical, isn't the only way you can ensure that your candle lives a long and happy life. We have all been guilty of waking up in the morning, grabbing a cup of coffee, lighting our favorite scent and just letting it burn all day long. While I myself am often a member of the Long Lit Candle Club, we truly aren't doing ourselves any favors. Just like you, candles need their rest. You should never burn any candle for more than four hours at a time. When you do burn them over four hours, the candle gets extra hot, when means it evaporates quickly, shortening its life. Remember the little rhyme, "four hours around, blow it down!"
For those of you that have attended my candle making parties, you know that I impart the above wisdom on you at every class. There is one critical step left to prolonging the life of the candle (and if you take an in person class, there is a bit of humor that comes with this part of instruction, to which I will spare all of you reading this). Just like all of us, candles have memory. They will always remember the very first burn session. It is essential that you set time aside for the first burning session, ensuring that the entire top layer of the candle melts. Doing so will prevent that wall of wax you often see build up on the sides of the vessel. As long as you follow this last imperative step, your candle will have an even burn all the way down to the bottom, not wasting any wax or the great smell that surrounds your home.
I am about the most frugal person I know and to me, candles are an investment in my own personal sanity. In the current economy, we all don't have the luxury of going out and purchasing candles every week. But when you do, I want to ensure you are getting the most out of those hard-earned dollars (and your candles).
Sending love & light,
PS TRIM YOUR WICKS!!