Pillar candles, sometimes known as church candles or altar candles are simply tall round candles made of solid wax that burn slowly and are mostly used for decorative purposes.
They come in all shapes and sizes from short and fat to tall and thin, scented and unscented and are made from all sorts of materials.
Here you can find out a little more about some of these, which ones to buy and why.
What are pillar candles used for?
Generally unscented pillar candles are often used in Churches (of all denominations) and have been for thousands of years as they were once the only form of light in what would have been fairly dark buildings and with masses and other ceremonies or services often held at night.
Today pillar candles are used for all kinds of purposes, from creating a cosy home atmosphere to restaurant mood lighting, outdoor dining, camping and so on.
Are pillar candles messy?
They can be! As they are (usually) made from a solid wax core formed in a mold, they burn from top down at an even rate and as they are uncontained unlike jar candles, they drip and run down the sides.
As the wax cools it hardens leaving streaks of wax down the side of the candle which generally pools at the bottom or on the candle holder / dish they are kept in. Which leads us to...
Do pillar candles need a holder?
Yes - and what's more, you need to be careful which one you use! You should not use glass pillar candle holders with certain wax types - for example soy pillar candles will burn hotter than other waxes as it is softer and will heat quicker, meaning that if the glass candle holder is too close to the wax then it could heat and crack.
The best type of candle holder for these types of candles is a simple metal, ceramic or clay plate or flat surface. Depending on the size of the candle you could use a coaster or slate too and generally speaking any smooth, flat surface will be fine.
Make sure the surface is flat though as you don't want your candle falling over when it is lit as this could be dangerous!
Should I buy cheap pillar candles?
Like everything, good quality doesn't have to be expensive but make sure the candle wax and ingredients are the right type as you may have some unexpected outcomes if not.
Soy or beeswax pillar candles will be better for you and the environment as they contain no petro-chemicals, parabens or nasty toxins and if they have natural cotton wicks then they will burn with a clean smokeless flame.
Take a look at some of our handmade pillar candles over here for a range of options including Soy, Rapeseed & Beeswax. All of our candles are 100% handmade in the UK in small batches for high quality, unique but affordable candles you can rely on.