Making Candles Fit

I doubt I am am the only knucklehead who is a sucker for antique, brass candle sticks. I can’t resist them. I do better at resisting candelabras, but I saw this faux brass number at Target and couldn’t pass it up. I imagined it full of black tapers for Halloween and into the cart it went. That’s exactly how I used it, but I kept it up and away from the kids because, as you can see, the standard size tapers were too big.

It happens. Unless your candlestick/candelabra designer also manufacturers candles, finding candles to fit can be a challenge–even when the candlestick claims to be a standard size. I stopped buying hand-dipped beeswax candles (my favorite), because the sizing was so unpredictable.

I can finally go back to buying hand-dipped candles! I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me sooner to use my Museum Wax–also called Quake Hold! here in California–to anchor the skinny candles in wide holes, but better late than never. Did I miss the obvious? Maybe. Forgive me if I’m posting on the obvious, but this has been a game changer for me. I’m too excited not to share what you’ve probably been doing for years.

You need this product. It’s dirt cheap and available at Home Depot, though I’m sure it’s available at other stores, too. Maybe it’s readily available to me because I live in the Land O’ Quakes, but I don’t think so. I’m sure it’s available at Walmart, too.

This is how little of my $8 tub I have used in 7 years. It’s nontoxic, non-acidic, and safe to use on wood furniture. It’s reusable and you only need a little, which is why this tub will last me the rest of my life. It comes with a little tongue depressor-looking spoon, but I lost mine just yesterday as I was fixing my candles.

Speaking of which, let’s get to it.

Scrape a small amount of Museum Wax and knead it into a pliable ball the size of a large pea. This will take seconds. Mold it to the bottom of you candle or drop the ball into the candlestick. I prefer to mold it to the bottom of the candle so I get even coverage. Insert your candle as usual. You’re done.

The candles will pop out easily. You will leave wax behind in your candlestick, but that doesn’t bother me. In fact, it makes my job easier the next time I buy candles. If it bothers you, you can easily scrape it out with a spoon. I did that, and it worked fine.

These pictures are to show that the candle is sort of floating in the candelabra, but they’re not very impressive. It’s hard to believe such a slim sliver of space can make your candles to lean like the Tower of Pisa, but there you go.

You know, if you don’t have a candelabra or candlestick and still want to use tapers, you can always use Museum Wax to anchor them to saucers, tea cups, or small vintage plates. No dried beans, sand, or beads needed.

Trust me, it will hold.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. Gabbie says

    I’ve only seen that stuff on design blog I could probably get it on amazon or whatever. Here in the MidAtlantic we don’t get a lot of quakes, I can recall 2, one I am onlybawarevof because I saw it on the news and the other I thought was my oldest jumping off of the bunk beds and I was poised to yell and then I realized he only weighs like 60lbs and could not actually shake the kitchen LOL.
    I do need to get some for my Hubs whose office is in an industrial area and his stuff keeps falling off of the shelf cause trucks are going by. Apparently It’s a pain to have to reshelve the million non-work-related hot wheels cars that every grown man must own.

    • says

      Hahahaha! Too funny on the Hot Wheels. :)

      I don’t think it’s originally for earthquakes, so hopefully you can find it. I know one blogger from North Carolina found it in Home Depot or Walmart.

  2. says

    This is very cool – never heard of it. I thought you were going to say what I did just yesterday, when I came home with two new Christmas tapers and discovered their bases were too big for my holders. I burned the bottom of the candle just a bit, to make it soft. Each candle bottom narrowed just a bit, then snuggled right in place. Can’t take credit for this – it was my husband’s idea. Works every time! (But only when the candles are too big. Your trick is perfect for when they are too small.)

  3. Fairfax Avenue says

    “A little dab ‘ll do ya.”

    It keeps the candles in, it keeps the pictures straight, it keeps the display neat in the china cabinet.

    And that’s the tag line from the Bryl-creem jingle.

  4. Amy says

    I love this! I hope they have it here in Michigan. Thank you, Jules, I never heard of this before. It sounds wonderful.:)

  5. Gay B. says

    I have never heard of this either! I am so getting some this weekend. I never use taper candles for just that reason. Now I can. I hope they have it here in NC. No quakes around here.

  6. Susan G says

    Looks great – I really like the candelabra! I’ve also used aluminum foil in a candle emergency – you can squish it around the base and make it fit, but the museum wax is a much more elegant solution.

  7. REnea B. says

    Great idea. Also for the picture frames. I laughed when I saw the picture of it upside down. Then I had an urge to go get a blizzard at Dairy Queen. Our place still turns them upside down when they hand them to you.

  8. says

    Very nice! I have two candelabras that I never use, because the standard size tapers are too small. I’ll be picking up some Museum Wax this weekend, because my Christmas decorations cannot be considered complete without my polished candelabras in place! Thanks for sharing!

  9. says

    GASP! Who knew? Not I . . . I’ve always just burned the bottom of the candle into the base, then held the candle in place until it cools. This seems easier . . .

  10. says

    I read this on Wednesday morning and thought to myself how rare it was that tips I learned from you blog didn’t apply somewhere in my life. Neither I, nor anyone I know, uses candleholders so I filed this away in the “good to know for other stuff” catalog of my brain.
    Then Wednesday night I was at the Advent service for church and saw their leaning tapers. Oh so sad! And now I know what to suggest to fix it! I must go check out our big box hardware stores to see if they carry it.

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