Burning a candle and how to fix candle tunnelling

Candle tunneling

We’ve all experienced it, candle tunnelling can be frustrating. Your favourite candle is not yet half used and it has started to tunnel. There are many tips and tricks which might help to help maximize the use of your beloved scented candle and here we share our professional tips and tricks that might help. 

Not burning it long enough on the first burn to not looking after your candle could all contribute to candle tunnelling. Candles can be pretty temperamental. Candle makers and chandlers like ourselves painfully test, test and retest candles to ensure that our work holds consistency with every batch.

For the end user, making sure that you look after your candle is just as important as the making process to ensure that your candle can burn optimally and last longer.

How to burn your candle

Candle burning is a art form in its own right and it is essential to avoid tunneling. Your new candle is a precious piece of art that was crafted to burn a certain way over a certain time frame so it is mandatory that you follow the instructions from the first time you light your candle to taking care of your candle throughout its life span.

Here are our 5 top tips on how burn your candles correctly to avoid tunnelling.

  • Always follow the burn instructions from the candle supplier. We recommend burning up to 3/4 hours the first time for our candles.
  • Allow burn time to ensure that theres enough heat to melt the top layer of wax for an even burn
  • Burn your candle away from draft so not to disturb the flame
  • Ensure that the candle wick is always centralised before you let the wax cool
  • Always trim the wick after each burn

Fix Candle Tunneling Fast

6 ways on how to fix candle tunneling

The hair dryer method

If you suspect that your candle is about to start tunneling early on during use then you might be able to use this trick to save it from tunnelling completely. Simply use a hair dryer and ensure to set your hair dryer on the lowest blow setting. Doing this will prevent the wax from splashing, making a mess or damaging your home furniture. Then slowly place your hair dryer around the unmelted wax. After a while you will see that the hardened wax will soften then melt, and the surface will begin to even it self out. 

Pro tip: if you have a hot air gun, that’ll work even better!

In the oven

Similar to the hair dryer method, this idea will work if the tunneling is spotted early. 

Simply turn on the grill to its lowest setting, place your candle underneath and watch it as it melts to the desired level. It's important to remember never to leave your candle unattended whilst doing so.

Pro tip: Best to use the grill, which will only melt and even out the top, and not the entire candle.

Trim the wax

You may have heard about ensuring that you are trimming your candle wick regularly, however you may not have heard that you can also trim your wax too. This allows your candle wax to reset its memory by taking out the unmelted wax and leveling it out yourself. To do this, all you need to do is take the end of an unused spoon, folk, knife ( or any unused utensil) and cut away into the unmelted wax. By doing this you are forcing the wax to reset its memory and basically act as if it’s the first burn. 

Pro tip: Don’t discard the wax, instead use it as wax melts in your oil burner

The aluminium fold technique

This technique is ideal if your candle continues to tunnel. This works by heating up the edges of your candle while it's in use and helping to warm up the wax around the edges allowing it to liquify. All you need for this technique is some normal household kitchen foil. To begin, wrap the foil around the top of your candle, folding it slightly over to create a hole in the centre of your candle to allow the heat to escape. Use over time and you’ll see that the wax will even itself out completely.

Turn them into Wax melts

If all fails, and you have an old candle which has tunneled pretty badly, you can still make the most out of the precious fragrance by saving the wax for wax melts. To do this all, place your candle glass into a saucepan of hot water over the stove on the lowest heat. Once warm enough, the wax will melt into liquid wax. When it’s ready to pour gentle pour directly into a silicone mould to the desired shape of your choice and leave to cool. Once cool they are ready to use.

Pro tip: Remember not to over heat, but just enough to be able to pour. 

Replacing the wick

This is our last option and is not really an option we would recommend. We’ve included this option for those who’d like to get into candle making themselves or would like to experiment for fun. This is the most difficult out of all the other options because unless you know what type of wick to use, this could quickly become a waste of effect as using the wrong type of wick would mean that your candle could either start tunneling again, not burn properly or even become a fire hazard. 

Nevertheless it might be interesting if you like a challenge. To start you need to source your own wick, for best result follow the recommended guideline from manufacturer to help make your choice. Once you have that ready, melt your candle in a saucepan of hot water over a low heat until liquified. Then simply remove the old wick, and replace with your new wick.