Understanding candle tunnelling

Is your candle burning unevenly, leaving a ‘tunnel’ around the wick instead of burning from edge-to-edge? This occurrence, commonly referred to as ‘candle tunnelling’, is something all candle enthusiasts might have stumbled upon.

Even though candle tunnelling can be unsightly and may result in wasted wax, it’s completely normal and can be avoided with the right candle care.

What are the leading causes of candle tunnelling?

Several factors can lead to candle tunnelling, and understanding these will help in its prevention.

  • Irregular burn times: For a full, even burn, ensure your candle burns long enough to form a molten wax pool that reaches the edges of the candle container. Blowing out your candle prematurely might result in tunnelling.
  • Improper wick size: Tunnelling is often caused by using a wick that’s too small for the amount of wax or the size of your candle vessel. A small wick may not be able to sufficiently melt the wax from edge-to-edge, leading to tunnelling.
  • Unsuitable wax blend: The type of wax used can also contribute to tunnelling. For instance, our A27 Performance Soy Blend is ‘harder’ with a higher melting point, ideal for warmer climates, pillar candles, or wax melts. Meanwhile, our A05 CocoSoy is ‘softer’, perfect for container candles and cooler environments. Ensure you choose a wax blend that matches the candle’s purpose to help avoid tunnelling.

Fixing a tunnelling candle

Foil method
Foil method

Fixing a tunnelled candle You can correct a tunnelled candle in various ways, including using a heatgun to melt the unburnt wax. However, we at Antwerp Luxury Candle Supplies prefer the tin foil method.

The process involves using aluminium foil to create a dome around your container candle’s top. This dome reflects heat onto the unburnt wax, melting it to join the already liquifying wax pool. Instead of a lengthy explanation, we’ve put together a brief video guide to help you understand the process better.

Preventing candle tunnelling

As the adage goes, ‘prevention is better than cure.’ Here are some measures to prevent candle tunnelling:

  • Ensure to use the right wick for your candle jar size – always conduct tests!
  • Choose a wax blend that suits the candle type you’re making.
  • Avoid overloading your candle with thick, dense fragrance oil, which can make it challenging for the wax to burn through.

When selling your candles, remind your customers to ensure a complete edge-to-edge burn. You could include a label or a note with burning instructions.

Lastly, download and use our free testing sheet. It’s a great tool to optimize your candle making process and understand how to achieve the best results.

If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us!

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