If you have been making candles for some time now, you have likely encountered situations where the wick was simply unable to burn good wax, resulting in a small pool of wax in the middle of the candle.
This phenomenon is known as tunneling, and it happens when the wax in the candle jar doesn’t burn evenly from edge to edge. The circular tunnel often results in a poor burn and lower light from the candle, and if there is too much melted wax and not enough wick, the flame will be snuffed out.
How to Make Candle Burn Evenly?
Evenly-burning candles look much better and provide a consistent and brighter burn regardless of the type of wax used and the wick inserted into the wax. Below are some techniques that will help you get the most of your candles every time you light them.
Method 1 – Trim the Wick
Candles often come with super long wicks that are at least one inch long. While we appreciate the gesture from the candle manufacturers, these long wick tips are inimical even to burn.
Instead of lighting the long wick, we recommend that you trim it to about ¼ its size. Don’t worry about the small tip – it will provide a nicely shaped flame.
Long wicks tend to collapse, leaving a mushroom tip that distorts the flame. The flame becomes stouter and shorter, too, and the light isn’t the same.
Mushroomed wicks also tend to be sootier and smokier. Either way, you’re not going to enjoy that at home.
Method 2 – Allow all the Surface Wax to Burn
Lighting a candle creates a layer of melted wax that has to be burned off by the wick. If you blow off the flame too quickly, you will observe the tunneling effect.
Burning off the surface wax will take hours, so if you can’t blow off the flame after a few hours, don’t light the candle at all if you don’t like to see an uneven burn.
Method 3 – Try Multi-wick Candles
If you cannot get it right with single-wick candles, there is always the option of using multi-wick ones at home. Multi wick candles can have as many as four separate wicks. Multiple wicks are often added when the diameter of the candle exceeds 3.5”.
You will observe these multi-wick setups in 6inch candles and even bigger candles in the market. For a better burn, we recommend simply lighting all of the wicks simultaneously.
The net effect of lighting all the wicks is you will have more light, and if the candle is a scent diffuser, it’s going to diffuse more of the essential oil mixed in with the wax.
Read more: How to Make 3 Wicks Candle?
Method 4 – Keep Your Candles Away from Moving Air
Unfortunately, drafts of air that repeatedly disturb candle flames will cause an uneven burn. The most common culprits at home include high-traffic areas like hallways, windows (when they are open), air-conditioners, and electric fans. When candle flame is blown sideways, it’s going to cause the on one side of the candle to burn faster than the other end.
How to Fix Candle Tunneling?
The bigger your candles at home, the higher the possibility of encountering tunneling repeatedly. While many people don’t like to see tunneling occur, it’s completely normal, and a lot of times, it’s unavoidable because people don’t have time to burn off melted surface wax completely. Edge-to-edge burning requires many hours, and people usually use candles during power outages or for a few hours when they want to relax outside in the evening.
A lot of factors can cause higher incidences of tunneling. Sometimes it’s the type of wax used in the candle. Other times, oddly-shaped candles make it harder for wicks to burn off the wax evenly. There are drawbacks to novelty shapes, and if you are using cheap candles at home (or cheap candle wax), these might be worth investigating, too.
Generally speaking, tunneling occurs more frequently in wider jars because there’s not enough of the wick to go around. That’s why we explained above why it’s a good idea to use multi-wick candles. Multi-wick candles not only improve the evenness of the burn but also happen to prevent any serious (and ugly) tunneling from happening.
If you are stressed beyond belief because it’s happening to your expensive candle, don’t. It doesn’t matter if you are using a $1 candle or a $900 one – it’s going to happen sometimes. Here are some ways to fix the tunneling phenomenon:
- Add an aluminum dome – This is a clever trick that takes seconds to complete but can reduce the time needed to burn off melted surface wax. Essentially, you are going to make a donut-shaped dome that fits tightly around the glass jar. There will be a circular space in the center to allow light to stream out. The aluminum will help reflect the heat, so the wax burns faster. Essentially, we will be increasing the temperature around the wax so it doesn’t tunnel or it doesn’t burrow as quickly.
- Use the right wick type and size – If you are creating DIY candles at home, know that wicks are not universal. Some wicks are best paired for soy wax and small containers, while others are made for massive pillar candles suitable for hours of burning in cathedrals. Whatever the case may be, matching the wick to the wax and the amount of wax that must be burned is a must. Find our candle wicks for your candle-making.
- Use the correct type of wax – Some waxes are fast-burning and are more suitable for broader glass jars. If you wish, you may have to spend a bit more on higher-quality waxes if you want better results. Sometimes, the performance of the candle wax is offset by the wick and vice versa. Research your wax well before melting and pouring!
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