July 27, 2021


So, you got a new candle? Congrats! Burning a candle for the first time is the best part of the journey. Watching the flame consume the wick, the wax starting to melt, and finally the scent reaching your nose.

The first thing to do with your new candle is look for a place to put it. This depends on what you plan to do with your candle. Whether you want it for decor or for burning.

Short on time? Jump to the Cheat Sheet

Where to place your candle

If you bought your candle for decor and not to burn, you have many options. A coffee table, dresser, ledge, or on a shelf are all great options. Place it where you like it.

If you are going to burn your candle, then there are some things to think about. First, you want to consider safety. A burning candle is an active flame that can spread to many things in the home.

Read this candle safety guide from the London Fire Brigade

The three things to consider are pets, children, and flammable objects. If the first two apply to you, place your candle in a high, out of reach spot. Shelves and units are great options here.

Avoid drafty spots like window ledges as wind can cause the flame to jump around. You also want to avoid anything hanging near the candle. If a random gust of wind moves things, you could have an accident.

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Prep the Space

Once you have picked your spot you need to get it ready. Clear a space around the candle, at least 10cms on all sides. The candle will get very hot, between 50OC and 1400OC at the core of the flame (according to explainthatstuff). It is hotter than a bonfire and hot enough to melt gold!

burning a candle for the first time with the penseth company 3

A 10cm gap will keep things around the candle at a safe distance. You should also avoid placing your candle near a wall.  The carbon in the wax and wick can cause soot that leaves black marks on walls.

You should place a coaster or heat-resistant mat under your candle. This is important when the candle is almost finished. As the candle burns away wax, the higher heat gets closer to the surface under the candle. An extra layer of protection can stop your surface from burning.

Time to light

Just before you light your candle for the first time (or second, third, or fourth) trim the wick. I use some nail clippers to knock away any wick mushrooms and trim the wick to about 0.5 - 1cm. This helps stop the crackling of the wick and keeps the flame small.

burning a candle for the first time with the penseth company 1

Check with your candle maker on the length they recommend for their wicks. Also look into how long they recommend to burn your candle each time. For Penseth Candles, a 2.5 - 3 hour burn time is what I recommend.

Next up, light the candle wick using the flame from a candle lighter or a match. Hold the flame against the wick until it catches and the wick has its flame. Put out the source flame safely, run under some water if you used a match.

Check the time and add 2.5 hours, this is when you should blow out the candle. Then you just need to sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful scent and calming flicker of flame.

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Putting out a candle safely

When the time comes to put out the candle, it is a simple process. Take a deep breath, purse your lips, and blow a small stream of air towards the flame. Increase the power of your blow until the flame goes out.

burning a candle for the first time with the penseth company 2

You should never try to blow air at full strength into a burning candle the first time! If the air hits the liquid wax at full speed it could blow out onto the surrounding area. Getting wax out of a carpet or any fabric can be an absolute nightmare.

When the flame is out, take a big step back. You will notice a thin string of dark smoke floating into the air. This is carbon in the wick burning off after the intense heat. Wait a few moments and the smoke should disappear just as the last orange embers on the wick vanish.

Your candle is now fully out and you can leave it unwatched again. If you have a Penseth Company candle, come back in an hour to replace the lid and lock in the fragrance

Candle Safety Info

You are now ready to burn a candle for the first time. If you are still worried about burning a candle you can check with your local fire service. Most Fire services in the UK have a page for candle safety, including the London Fire Brigades Candle Safety Guide. You can also visit FireService.co.uk, the forum for Fire Service workers, for safety info.

Cheat Sheet

  1. Find an out of reach place for pets and children.
  2. Clear a 10cm space around the candle.
  3. Place a coaster under the candle.
  4. Trim the wick to the right length
  5. Light the Candle
  6. Allow to burn for at least 2.5 hours.
  7. Blow out the flame and wait for the embers to stop burning
About the Author

I'm the Chief Candle Maker here at Penseth Company. I also write guides and updates for the blog.

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