The candle is thought to be invented in 3,000 BC and has been illuminating dark spaces, lighting celebrations and even telling time ever since. Today candles are more commonly used as decoration, to reduce stress, or release scent, though they still are helpful in emergencies when electricity fails to light homes.
How long a candle lasts or its burn time, depends on a fair list of variables including:
-The size and shape of the candle and wax percentage
-Number of wicks and type of wick
-Duration and frequency of use
-Type of wax
-Wax additives if any
-Environment around the candle
-The very way the candle is burned
Even though candles may be lesser used and less vital than they were in the past, making them last can still save you money. This simple guide on how to make candles last longer will share some tips, tricks, and steps to keeping your candles from the wax pile longer as well as how to re-use that wax.
Extending a candles burn time starts before you even light it. There are ways to prepare a candle for use that will make it last longer.
One old method is to store the candles in a cold or cool place, such as in a freezer. Keeping candles cool prevents warping or premature melting. Cold wax also burns more evenly and melts slower which lengthens the candles burn time. Be careful not to allow the candles to get too cold however, as they may crack or break.
Another tip is to keep the wick of the candle properly trimmed. You should cut the wick ¼ of an inch from the candles wax. Be careful not to cut too close or you’ll drown the wick and won’t be able to light the candle. Trimming the candles wick prevents sentiment build up, stops smoking candles, will provide equal oxygen flow to the flame and create an overall better burn. Multiple wick candles also last longer than single wick candles.
Finally remember to position your candle away from drafts or airflow such as windows, doors or fans. These can cause the flame to flicker or bend and melt the wax unevenly which shortens a candles life.
Once the candle is prepared in ways to make it last longer, you can even burn it in a manner that makes it last even longer.
First, try to limit burn time but burn sufficiently each use. The ideal time to keep a candle lit is 2-4 hours. This is enough time for the wax of the entire diameter of the top of the candle to melt. This will prevent “tunneling”. Tunneling is when the only a small area of the wax is melted each burn, as result some of the candle will remain tall and a tunnel of used candle will form.
You can also keep the candle even in height but bending the sides in a bit at the top when burning. This will cause the high edges to melt and drip back inwards into the candle. Some people will also intentionally allow a tunnel to form in the middle of a large candle, then cut the wick flat, and insert a small teacup candle. It will then appear the large candle is lit but only use the far cheaper teacup candle.
Lastly don’t blow candles out. Candles should always be smothered in one way or another. Blowing on the flame can splash wax or blow soot and create an uneven burn the next time you light the candle.
When your candle finally does burn out you can re-use the left over wax to make new candles. You can also use any wax drippings from living candles for this use. It is a good idea to keep a wax pile somewhere until you have an ample amount to make some new candles. This process can be tons of fun as you can mix old scents, create colored candles using crayons, or make wax candle statues. Candle making is both a great way to recycle and can be a fun activity to do with kids.
Left over wax can also be used to make fire starters, in art projects, to stop wooden windows from sticking, by skateboarders, and even to seal letters or jars the old fashion way.