Taper Candles 101

Do you avoid using taper candles? If so, is it because they wobble … or melt all over your candlesticks … or you’re afraid you’ll burn something — besides the wick?
Let’s talk about it …
Sometimes a candlestick’s opening is simply too large for the taper candle I want to use.  That was the case recently when I did this tablescape.
See the extra space?  This candle is guaranteed to wobble!
When that happens, I pull out my candle snuggers.  Do you know about those?  They’re flexible foam discs that wrap around the base of your taper candle and fill the extra space.  They usually come in packages of 8-10 discs — and they’re reuseable.
Like I said … reuseable!
I wonder how many times this one’s been used — so far …
Just place the foam disc on top of the candlestick then “snug” your candle into it.  (TIPS: if it’s still not tight enough, add a second candle snugger; if the disc shows when the candle is inserted, trim it down slightly with a pair of scissors.)
Now the taper stands nice and straight … safe and secure.

But wait … you’re not finished yet.  If you haven’t already trimmed the wick so that’s it’s only 1/4″ long, do it now!  Wicks that are longer than 1/4″ often flame too high, smoke a lot, and break off easily.
When it’s time to blow out extinguish the candles, it’s always best to use a candle snuffer.  Mine is an old hand-wrought brass one I picked up in an antique store in South Texas several years ago for $10.  You can find one for a “thrifty” price like I did — or you can buy one made of sterling silver … or any price point in between.


So what’s the harm in blowing out a candle?  One reason is that you risk wax making a mess on your candlesticks, table, or table linens.  Another is that sometimes a tiny piece of the burning wick breaks off and …

Trust me … use a candle snuffer!
If you don’t, you risk hearing your hostess say …


… or else she politely keeps her question and disappointment to herself — when you ruin her favorite heirloom tablecloth.


(Tip: if you don’t own a candle snuffer — yet — you can always use the back of a spoon to press down on the burning wick and extinguish it.)


Finally, unless you use dripless candles (and sometimes even then), wax drips on your candlesticks are inevitable.


Some people run their candlesticks under very hot water to melt the wax, but I find that it leaves a waxy residue on the candlesticks that then has to be cleaned.  Instead, I usually prefer to do this:  Go with COLD … Put the candlestick in the freezer for a few minutes.  When you take it out, the wax will look like this …


… and will pop right off with your fingernail.

A quick buffing with a soft cloth, and your candlestick is clean and ready when you need it again.


What if wax got on your tablecloth, too?  You’ll want to work quickly.  With the edge of a spoon, gently scrape the wax off of the fabric.  As soon as possible, I recommend you treat the stain with Carbona Stain Devils #1.  (Might want to have some on hand before the holiday candle burning officially begins … Go HERE to learn more.)

Thanks for stopping by! Your visits and comments are always welcome … 
I hope you have a wonderful weekend.


  1. I LOVE this post Susan! I’ve heard all of these great tips before but I guess we get careless…not a good idea with candles. Thank you for the timely reminder.


  2. Thanks for those step by step tips.

    Nostalgic Marveling

  3. Susan,

    As much as I celebrate blue, I do NOT want it on your pretty candlesticks!

  4. I love to use ALL kinds of candles, even the messy ones, but it’s good to know we can avoid the mess!
    I have candles (and clocks) in every room of the house. Is it a sign or something?….

  5. I forgot to leave a tip, if the wax falls on the carpet or table cloth:
    Place a paper towel on top and iron with warm iron. The heat melts the wax and the paper towel absorbs the wax. Repeat it until it’s all gone!

  6. Oh Emm Gee!!! I have been doing Interior Design for 20+ yrs and NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT! Yes…I avoid them for that very reason! Im a blogging newbie and JUST found your site! LUUUUUUUURVE it!!!
    I have an interior design business and Blog…im doing 14 days of xmas trees now and would LOVE and appreciate if you could visit. I also have a GIVEAWAY!! YAY!

    *ENTER PAMPERING Give-Away Here *


  7. Thanks for the tips. I’ll add them to my resource file. Cherry Kay

  8. Have been looking for the foam discs. Can you tell where I can purchase. Thank you, Janet