Initial burn time Let the wax melt close to the edge the first time you burn your candle. This may take up to 3-4 hours of burning, so make sure you let your pillar candle burn for at least 3 hours the first time you light it.
This is because the size of the wax pool during the first burn determines the life of the candle. Subsequent burns won't melt the wax beyond the initial wax pool, so if it didn't melt close enough to the edge of the candle, it could leave a thick, unused mantle ('tunnelling'). Setting the memory To avoid this tunnelling effect we need to maximise the size of the initial wax pool. This is called setting the memory of the candle, and it is done by burning the candle for 1 hour per 2.5cm (1 inch) in diameter the first time you light it. For a 7.5cm (3 inch) diameter candle, the initial burn time should be at least 3 hours.
Trim the wick It may seem counter-intuitive, but a short wick gives a cleaner, brighter flame and an even burn, while a long wick can cause smoking and can cause mushrooming of the wick, where a mushroom-like shape forms at the top of the wick which obscures and disturbs the flame.
Before lighting, trim the wick to 6mm (1/4 inch) and remove any wick debris. Any debris left in the wax pool can disturb the burning of the candle.
A trimmed wick creates a calm, steady flame, which means the candle's burning process is in balance. The wick is efficiently pulling up the right amount of wax, and the flame creates complete combustion. A wick that is too long won't be able to draw wax all the way to the top, and the wick itself will start to burn, causing it to smoke. A wick that is too long can also cause a candle flame to grow too long and flare, again producing soot.
Keep distance Place lit candles at least 10cm (4 inches) apart to avoid melting and warping due to heat from neighbouring candles.
Draughts Candles burn best in still air - if too much (or too little) air reaches the candle flame, it will disturb the ideal teardrop shape of the flame and may cause the candle to start flickering and smoking. To avoid this, always burn your candles in a well-ventilated room, away from drafts, vents or strong air currents. If a draught can't be avoided, try shielding the flame from the draught, for instance by placing it in a candle holder, and turn the candle periodically to avoid uneven burning and possible candle collapse.
Wax pool The wax pool should always be kept clean. Any debris (e.g. pieces of wick, burnt matches) should be removed so as not to disturb the burning of the candle.
Burn time For best results, don't burn your candle for longer than 4 hours at a time. Extinguish, let the candle cool down, trim the wick, and relight. Storage Candles are sensitive to temperature and light. Prevent candles from fading, cracking and melting by storing your candles in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, dust and fluorescent light. Store your candles in an upright position and don’t leave them in a car on a warm day, or they might warp from the heat.
HOW TO EXTINGUISH A CANDLE
When the time comes to extinguish your candle, you could do better than blowing it out. Instead of filling your room with smoke and potentially splashing wax everywhere, dip the wick: extinguish your candle by pushing the wick into the pool of hot wax and pulling it back out. Use a specially designed wick dipper or any suitable non-flammable tool. Dipping the wick eliminates wick smouldering and smoking. Added bonus: the wick gets coated in wax and primed for the next lighting.