Candle Troubleshooting: Something Went Wrong and There is Fire.

For those of you who don’t know, I have my own little bookish candle business, where I make candles inspired by your favourite books! When it comes to candles, there are kind of a few things that maybe might possibly go wrong, so The Potions Master is here to save the day! (That’s me, by the way).

The wax won’t melt to the edge! It’s only burning a little hole in the centre around the wick!


This is called tunnelling, and it’s the most common problem with candles. It results from one of two things – not burning your candle long enough, or a wick that is too small for the candle. The first one (the most common of the two) is easy to fix! Just make sure you always burn your candles until the wax pool reaches all sides of your container. If your candle has already tunnelled, then don’t worry! We can fix this with a tin foil hat! There are heaps of How To videos on Youtube, just type in ‘fix candle tunnelling’ and you’ll be on your way!

My candle looks funny. Why?

Don’t be mean about your candle! I’m only kidding (but please insult them quietly, they do have feelings, you know!) there are heaps of reasons why your candle might look funny. If there are bumps and dents in the surface, then this usually means that the candle maker has heated the wax too high or not high enough during the candle making process. However, if your candle only begins to look bumpy and whatnot after you’ve burned it, this is just soy wax being soy wax. All natural soy wax is a temperamental lover, and it doesn’t always look as beautiful as it does when it first arrives. Not all soy waxes behave this way, and it’s not an indicator of ‘all natural-ness,’ a candle can be all natural soy and set perfectly every time, it can also be all-natural and set strange every time. All soy waxes are different and behave differently.

My candle wax looks wet through the glass! Why?

Soy doesn’t always love glass, some times it gets what we call ‘wet spots.’ They’re not dangerous, just not exactly pretty. Ah, the downfalls of clear glass, but don’t worry, it’s still safe!

My candle’s gone red! Is it rust? Is it safe?


Nah, that’s just vanilla! Some vanilla fragrance oils, as well as maple, and spices like to discolour waxes brown. You’ll often find this with other products like handmade soaps and what not. Candle makers can add particular additives to reduce this discolouration, and can also add dyes in hopes of reducing the noticeability, however vanilla will do what vanilla does. Break our hearts in the form of copper rims around candle edges.

There is oil sitting on top of my candle. Why?

If it’s not excessively hot and your candle is just sweating, then the likely culprit is an overload of fragrance oils. Candle waxes can only hold a certain amount of fragrance oil, if a candle maker has added more fragrance than what the wax can hold, the oil will then sit on the surface of the wax in little droplets. Just make sure you wipe it off before you burn.

My candle is letting off black smoke. Help!

Did you say ‘I forgot to trim my wick’?  Trimming your wick is a very important step in burning your candle, and generally the very first thing any candle maker will tell you. Trimming your wick means you get a cleaner burn, which lasts for longer. It also reduced the possibility of charred wick dropping into your wax pool and catching on fire and then explosion! If you have trimmed your wick and it’s still a little smoky, then the wick is likely too thick for the container it’s in, and the candle maker has made a mistake in their calculations for burn diameter. Whoops. Might be best to flick them a message. It’s still safe though! Don’t worry!

My wick is bending over and it looks like a mushroom. Why is it bowing to me?

It’s begging you to trim the wick. Take some advice from Nike, and just do it.

Potions Candle Co

Any Questions? Leave a comment below and the Potions Master will do her best to help you out!



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