Jo’s own ‘Wick’opedia™  Glossary of Candle Making

Glossary of scents

Guaiaic Wood – An ingredient used in soap, candle and fragrance making from the tree. Created through distilled wood and sawdust.

Labdanum – Mediterranean Shrub which gives off a resin, used in perfumes. Can be called ‘Amber’

Neroli – Some say this is the secret ingredient in Coca Cola!Essential oil from the Orange tree.

Patchouli – Essential oil from the leaves of the plant. It uplifts mood and works great for people suffering from depression.

Vetiver – A grass, which the essential oil from its root is used in perfumery and incense.  In ancient times it was known as the ‘Oil of tranquility ‘ Cultivated in Japan, West Africa and Polynesia.

Ylang ylang (eelang eelang) – Created from distilling the flowers of the Ylang Ylang tree, used in Aromatherapy it is good for lowering high blood pressure, Antidepressant, Antiseptic, Antiseborrheic and an Aphrodisiac. The word means ‘Wilderness’ in the Tagalog language around the Philippines.

Petrichor (Pe-tray-kawr) –distinctive scent, usually described as earthy, pleasant, or sweet, produced by rainfall on dry 



Why does my candle tunnel?

I get a lot of people commenting on this, i think this might be one of the single most common problems. I’d love to know otherwise so please do get in touch.

The wick might be too small for the vessel,  when the candle is lit the heat generated by the burning flame creates a ‘footprint’ of liquid wax, if the wick is too small it will create a tiny pool and create what i call a ‘ten pence tunnel’

Another very much overlooked cause if this is the care you take the very first time a candle is lit. When you get a stunning luxury candle (or made your very own at your candle school i run) the temptation is to rush home and light it. Think about how much time you have and if you think you are going to be dashing out the door 20 minutes later WAIT! see below how to rectify it.


How do I know how much wax to use when making my own candles? 

Now i always work in weights and i know that isn’t the case with everyone, some like to work out by filling their vessel with water first but the wax comes as a solid so i find it easier to use grams. And all you have to do is fill your vessel twice and there you have the amount you need. If you want to know more why not come along to my candle making workshops and you can get an in depth knowledge. Have a look at workshop dates.

What happens when I light my candle for the first time and discover I have to go out after 20 minutes?

Don’t just light a candle the first time without thinking about how long it is going to be lit for, this can be the single most common problem, and i will tell you here what you can do once to rectify it.

So you have extinguished your candle, i will share with you later the best way to do this, you can get a heat gun or hairdryer and very carefully create a melt pool that goes to the edge of the glass. I cant tell you enough to be so so careful doing this as the hot wax can splatter.

Ideally you will let the candle remain lit for the recommended time the first time instead of having to use alternative methods to save your candle.


My candle was a beautiful scent when i first got it, now i cant smell it, why? 

Some citrus scents, if they are essential oils fade over time. Some candle companies only scent the top of the candle so i personally think this wouldn’t last the duration of the life of a candle.


How long should i light a candle for the first time?

You need to create a good ‘burn pool’ that is getting the top of the candle to turn to liquid, right out to the edge. At least 2 hours for a 220g candle.

What size of wick should i use?

Most candle companies will detail on their site what size of wick the recommend for a particular vessel. Always test.

My candle seems to soot a lot, whats wrong with it?

Some waxes like Soy that we use at Candle Towers are virtually soot free. Make sure you trim the wick before each light, if its too long it will flicker a lot and soot. I was using a candle that i had bought in a high street shop for photography purposes, i had to take the quickest photo then *dip the wick as it was smoking so much.

*see other blog on candle dipping

There seems to be wet spots round the glass on the inside of the candle jar, what is that?

This is very common and does not affect the performance of the candle at all. When the warm wax cools is sucks away from the glass, sometimes leaving patchy areas. Additives can be included to make the candle either ‘completely adhere’ or suck away.

What are the benefits of using a wick trimmer?

Scissors sometimes ‘chew’ the wick and the wick trimmer let you get down to the bottom of the glass because of the angle. Always trim your wick before each light.

My candle has a poor light and looks like its going to go out. 

There could be too much scent, at Candle Towers we use industry standard 8% that is the maximum amount the wax that we use holds. Some fragrances are ‘concentrated’ so we use 6% it all comes down to testing.

What is the difference between a cheap candle and an expensive one? 

High quality ingredients that you know where they have come from.