This week ~ shockers ~ I actually learned something useful on social media: how to fix candle tunneling. Trust me, this is gold. I’ve been hanging around Twitter since 2008 for tips like this. What a waste of time that was.
Burning a scented candle is one of my favourite procastination busting techniques. I like to have a nice scent on the go when I’m writing, but if I’m struggling to settle down to work then I will light the candle anyway. Then I’ll think Joanne, you complete tulip, why are you wasting that lovely Diptyque scent that was supposed to help you write? and it gets me started every time.
I’ve even got a scented candle called Book that I burn when I’m writing a book. Gotta have a system.
What is candle tunneling?
You know when a candle burns down the middle leaving lots of wax around the sides that never burns? That’s called tunneling. And it’s very frustrating because it means that a chunk of the wax just gets wasted and never burns.
Hence this is the state of the aforementioned Book candle.
(Yes I know my desk is a mess but I reckon I’ve got at least another week of lockdown to go before I resort to Marie Kondoing the shit out of it)
How to stop candles from tunneling in the first place?
The first part of the candle tunneling fix is reasonably well known. To stop your candle from tunneling, the first time you light it make sure you burn it for long enough so that the whole of the top of the surface of the wax turns liquid. This will probably be 2 to 3 hours depending on the size of the candle. Some experts advise burning for an hour for every inch in diameter. Do this and tunneling shouldn’t be a problem on future burns.
What to do when your candle has tunneled?
This is part of the candle tunneling fix which I think is much less well known. And all you need is a little bit of tin foil.
Light your candle then wrap a small piece of foil around the top of the candle, folding it over so it forms a shelf over the top. This shelf may need to be deeper depending on how far down your candle has tunnelled. This isn’t enough foil, as I found out later.
Keep the foil on with the candle lit for up to an hour so that the built up wax can melt. The foil will conduct the heat into the sides of the candle, so that the tunnelled wax can melt more efficiently.
You can see below that most of the wax has melted, though not all, so I need to go back in. But I think you get the gist.