How to burn a pillar candle

Pillar candles – or candles that are not encased in any glass or container – can be very beautiful and make great candlescapes. They can also give off a pretty good scent throw and last a really, really long time if burned properly. Pillars seem especially popular during the Fall season – both for scent and for decor. Here we’ll share with you some candle tips on how to properly burn a pillar candle and get the most out of your wax goods.

Photo Credit: Nevaeh Soap

Photo Credit: Nevaeh Soap

Get prepared

Even though a pillar candle is designed to stand on its own, it is a good idea to have something underneath it to catch wax drippings or just in case it gets bumped while burning. Find a level place to place your candle(s), away from drafts, and place it on a decorative candle plate or tray.

Trim the wick

You’ll want to trim your wick for your pillar candle just as you would for a container jar. Trim that wick from 1/8-1/4″ long. The best tool for this is a wick trimmer, but I think we’ve all used a pair of scissors or such to trim a wick.

Burn, Baby, Burn

Once you’ve lit your candle, let it burn long enough to form a full wax melt pool across the top. A general rule of thumb is you want it to burn 1 hour for every inch in diameter. So if you have a 3″ diameter pillar, you’d want to let it burn for approximately 3 hours during that first burn to get a full wax melt pool. This will help your candle burn evenly for future burns and help deter the dreaded drowning wick.

Hug your pillar today

Pillar candles are designed to burn down from within leaving an outer shell. Part of the beauty of a pillar candle is how it glows as this process takes place. As the candle burns down within, you’ll notice the hard outer shell is not melting but it is softening. Gently fold over this wax wall toward the center of the candle toward your flame. You’ll want to push in and down with your thumbs while the wax is warm and soft. This is called “hugging” your candle, and it allows more of the wax to be used.


Sometimes you might notice that your pillar candle is burning unevenly. One easy trick to try is to rotate your candle 1/4 to 1/2 turn. The

candle spoon

Photo Credit: Fleaing France

candle could be burning unevenly because of a particular draft or unevenness of the surface you have it on. By rotating the candle, you just might help it right itself.

Know when to stop

I recommend you stop burning a pillar candle once only about 1″ of wax remains at the bottom. Since there is no container, there is just a greater chance of a huge mess.


Do you burn pillar candles? If so, what tips would you like to share?

Happy candle burning ~


Author: Andrea

Andrea is the voice behind Candle Scoop. She is a long-standing member of Candlefind and loves all things scented. While she enjoys scents across the spectrum, she is a die-hard bakery and fresh-scent fan. She enjoys rooting out bargains and candle discounts, but she won't hesitate to pamper herself with a luxury brand. When not writing or talking about candles, she enjoys spectator sports and playing with her pups. Andrea would love to hear from you, so don't hesitate to contact!

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  1. I don’t bun pillar candles frequently at all. I admit, I only use them when our electricity go’s out. They are an excellent source of light and last a really long time! I just never really looked at them as an elegant way to show case a candle. They are pretty and do come in different scents. So they are decorative and functional too.

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    • I’ve just started burning them more often, Carolyn. I really enjoy all the different shapes.

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  2. Hello,I am from gar-life.Candles manufacturer and trader from China.
    We can supply various of candles.If you have a interest,pls do not hesitate to contact me.

    Post a Reply

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