Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Candles rule. Candle rules.

Just a bit of trivia before we begin

Bougie is the French word for candle.  Did you know that the term bourgeoisie  was derived from the word Bougeoir which means small candlestick with out a foot, with a ring or a handle? The bourgeoisie were the only people who could afford so many candles so the term stuck to those who could and would use candles all the time.

Please excuse the second post about candles immediately after yesterday but they have been part of my daily routine especially as the days are getting shorter.  I am lighting candles all over the house and I just want to create that "hygge" feeling, that notion of coziness the Danes do so well.

This is about how to make your candle go further and use it properly.  We do forget the obvious -  that the candle is controlled fire and we should never leave it unattended.  It just takes one gust of wind to blow that paper on top of the pile and catch the flame and start burning.  This actually happened to me once - I walked back in my living room and there was a mini fire on the coffee table.  Luckily I got there in time but I could have been on the news, and not in the good way.

So these are the following tips that most candle makers neglect to stress or if they do tell you to do it - they don't explain the reasons why.

Here is the science bit - but hey, you're worth it. ; )
1 ) Never have your wick longer than one cm because it makes the flame too big and leaves the wax burning unevenly.

2)  Do not let the candle burn for more than three hours at a time because the heat will eventually evaporate all the essential oils and perfume in the candle and will essentially just be very mildly scented wax.
3) Before lighting it - make sure that you get rid of that little crown or flower at the edge of the wick from the previous use. Otherwise, it will only create a blackened smoke and you will have to repaint your ceiling a lot sooner than you expected.  This act is called Moucher in French -they have a word for everything!
4) Always leave a little bit of wax at the bottom of the candle - never burn it to the right bottom .   I did that a few times as I kept thinking I want my value for money and will use all this wax up, gosh darn it! And then, of course, the glass cracks violently or blows up and then there is wax on the table, carpet, and bedding.  So that is the reason why they tell you not to burn right to the bottom.  I learned the hard way.

5) Do not blow out the candle - this only creates lots of dirty smoke and taints the lovely scent in the room.  Just dip the wick into the molten wax and reposition it to the center and upright so it can create a central flame next time it is lit.

6) Always try and burn the flame until the whole surface is liquid until the edge of the glass.  If you only burn half way then the candle will not burn evenly and that is why you will end up with the clumps of wax on the sides of the candle.  As the picture below,  you end up with a tunneled candle.
I had loads of candles with the sides high up to the brim with wax.  I used to do things that any fire warden would have severely chastised me for. I looked like a pyromaniac as I used a nail file and tried to scrape the softened wax into the center then the flame would go out.  Pahlava.  I no longer do that as I let the candle wax melt to the edges before "mouching"  the candle.
7 ) Never leave the candle burning near a draft because the gusts of air will create a fire hazard and create tunneling of the candle.

Anyone got a match?

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