Are Citronella Candles Effective?

citronella grass

What is Citronella?

Citronella is a clumping, lemongrass type plant which grows to a height of five to six feet; a plant which is native to southeast Asia and grown commercially in Sri Lanka, India, Burma, Indonesia and Java. The plant is also grown as an ornamental in south Florida and southern California. Citronella is a perennial grass that flourishes in direct sunlight and well drained soil. In northern climate zones, people often grow citronella in large pots that they bring indoors for the winter.

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3 Wick Candle Carved Not Cracked

3 wick candle burning

Why Does This Happen?

We have received a couple of emails from some customers regarding 3 wick candles they had purchased and are having some trouble with.  The main question has been, “Why did my candle crack down the side and why did it burn down so fast?”.  So today I am going to address this question (we have already answered our customers, of course).

Wax Is Supposed to Melt

First lets talk about how brown over run candlea 3 wick candle, or any pillar candle, should burn.  Unlike a candle that is made in a container such as a jar or votive cup, a pillar candle is ALL fuel.  This presents some challenges when manufacturing them, use too small of a wick and the pillar will tunnel, too large a wick and the liquid pool will spread too far and run over the edge.  Ideally, regardless of the size diameter of the pillar candle, the liquid wax pool should melt out to about 1/8″ from the edge and no further.  This would allow the maximum amount of wax to be used up as the flame works its way down the candle.

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What in the world is Smelly Gel?


In a nut shell, our Smelly Gel is a water based alternative to wax melts or tarts which are most commonly used in candles warmers as air fresheners.  However, it is not limited only to use in tart warmers.  While the gel has a stronger fragrance throw when it is warmed up, it can be used bowls, vases, trays, pots, or really any other leak proof container.  The wider the container, the more gel will be exposed to the air and the stronger the scent will be.


How To Use It

Using our Smelly Gel is quick and easy.  Pick the container you want to use.  We

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Trick to Fix a Candle Ring That Slides Down the Holder

pillar candle display

I got a call the other day from a customer who had purchased a 4 inch candle ring to use with her pillar holders.  The problem was that the candle rings were just a bit too big to sit on the lip of the holder and would slide down to the bottom.  She wanted to return the rings since they wouldn’t work with the holders and I told her that would be fine.  I decided I should come up with a quick, easy, DIY solution using stuff nearly everyone already has in their homes… so here we go.

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Ways to Make a Taper Candle Stand Straight in a Holder

candle before and after

One of the things that really ruins a display of tapers is when the candles are not standing straight in the holders.  In addition to looking bad, a leaning taper candle could eventually start to drip, even if it is the dripless kind.

leaning taper candles

There are 3 main reasons that taper candles lean.

  • the base of the candle doesn’t fit tightly into the holder
  • the actual taper  is crooked
  • the taper candle holder is not straight

Crooked Taper Candle Holder

We will start with how to deal with the the crooked candle holder first because there are not that many options, however there are few things you can try.  If the holder is a metal one, like in the image above, you might be able to bend the arms to make them straight.  For holders that are more sturdy or 1 solid piece you could try placing a folded piece of paper under the base of it to straight in out.   Other than that there is not much you can do.  In the end you might end up with a straight taper candle but an obviously crooked holder.

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What to do if the candle wick is too short.

candle wick too short

Two of the most common complaints about candles are that the fragrance isn’t strong enough and that they don’t burn right.

Candles, like most everything else, are made of multiple components.  The main 2 parts are the wax and the wick.  Then there can also be fragrance oil, additives, dyes, and a container (ie. jars, ceramic pots, buckets, etc).  All of these different parts of the candle can have an effect on how it burns.

But before we look at tips on how to fix a candle wick that is too short…

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Decorative 3 Candle Display

decorative candle holder

I was looking around in our shop for some items to put together an inexpensive candle display with.  I came across these heavy duty ceramic trays.  They are 10″ wide by 14″ long.  Each one has a rough, almost stone like finish to it which will add an “earthy” element to your home decor.  Right now these trays are on sale for $7.50 and if you get 2 of them they are $6.50 each.  So this is what I decided to start out with to build my display.

empty ceramic tray

Next I wanted a base or filler to put on the tray to add an extra dimension and help bring the candles and tray together.  I found some black colored fine gravel bits that we had left over form years ago.  Unfortunately we don’t have any left to sell.  Black sand or fish tank gravel could be used too.  I found some for a good price at party city.  It is their Black Wedding Sand, you get 1 pound of it for $2.99 you could probably find is in any local craft store too.

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Get the Most Scent From Your Candle

steaming pot

Fragrance from a candle comes from the fragrance molecules in the candle wax being bounced off into the air. To better understand this process, let’s look at some of the principles of evaporation.

burning 3 wick candle

Molecular action

Everything we see and touch is made up of atoms and molecules. They are in constant motion, bumping and bouncing off of each other. Atoms and molecules that are at the surface of a liquid can get bumped off into the air. This process is commonly known as evaporation.

bouncing molecules

Evaporation depends on the weight of the molecules, their density, and the bond or attraction of the molecules to each other. When a liquid evaporates, its molecules must separate themselves from their attachment with others in the liquid and then move off into the air space above.

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New Candle Scents Are Here

jar candles

We have just added 3 new candle scents to our lines for fall and Christmas 2013.  Our new fragrances are

  • Pumpkin Pecan Waffles-These pumpkin waffles are rich in spices, with a blend of cinnamon, clove, ginger, and fresh nutmeg, topped with candied pecans and pure maple syrup.
  • Candy Corn-A sweet and buttery aroma of honey and caramel. This fragrance will be admired by vanilla and sweet scent lovers everywhere.
  • Blue Christmas-a clean, masculine fragrance, with woody notes of patchouli and cedar.

We have added these new scents to our jar candles, scented pillar candles, votive candles and wax melts.  My personal favorite is the Pumpkin Pecan Waffles, it is super strong and when someone is making it in our factory you can smell it over all the other fragrances.

Of course we still have our best selling Spiced Pumpkin, Balsam Fir, and Bayberry candles which are really strong scents too.

Head over to to pick out your favorite candle scents.

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Effective But Cheap Fire Starters

Today at Keystone Candle we introduced our new Fire Starters.  This new product is easy to use, affordable, and effective.  Starting with a paper cupcake baking cup, we add a pile of our wick clippings from regular candle production, then pour wax into the cup to keep it all together and create a hot, long lasting flame.  These fire starters are primed and ready to go right out of the box.  They will light up very easily and stay burning for around 10 to 15 minutes on their own, giving you plenty of time to add kindling, wood, charcoal, or anything else.  You can use these on your next camping trip, in the fire pit at home, when your burn trash in a burn barrel, to start your charcoal grill, or even in your fire place.  Here is a video we shot outside of our candle factory.  The video was originally 10 min long but we used time lapse to speed it up to 1 minute.

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