crooked taper in holder compared to a corrected straight candle

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.

There are 3 main reasons that taper candles lean.

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


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 a 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 sturdier or 1 solid piece, you could try placing a folded piece of paper under the base of it to straighten it 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.

Bent Taper Candle

Don’t try to straighten a cool taper candle by force, it doesn’t take much to snap one in half.  If you have a taper candle that is bent from sitting in storage too long or it was shipped to you during the summer, don’t worry, they are pretty easy to fix.

There are a few ways to do this.  One way takes a lot longer than the other and has some limitations, but I’ll tell you how to do it anyway, I like options!

The Long Way

I can’t take credit for this method, I actually saw it on this wikihow post, there are pictures there too.  What you would need in order to straighten the taper candle is a needle, string, a tall glass or vase, and a pencil, ruler, or other long object that can lay across the opening of your container of choice.   You will see the main limitation of this method is the maximum length of the taper candle you can use it on.  The depth of your container will determine how tall of a candle you can fix.  The general idea is to hang the taper in a warm area so that gravity will cause it to straighten itself out.  Here is the list of steps to do it.

1. Push the needle through the base of the taper, perpendicular to the candle (creating a shape like a “T”).  This will be easier to do and reduce the chances of the wax chipping if you warm up the base of the candle first.  I like to use warm water to do that.

2. Tie a string around the needle on each side of the candle and attach it to the pencil or your long object of choice. So now if you hold your pencil the taper will be hanging from it.

3. Put the taper candle into the glass and rest the pencil across the opening.  Your taper should be hanging down into the glass upside down.

4. Set the glass in a warm area like near a heater, fireplace, or in the sun.  Don’t put it too close to a hot source because the taper might melt.  Warming up the taper will allow it to straighten out while it is hanging.  The length of time this will take will depend on how warm the candle gets so keep an eye on it.

5. Once the taper looks straight, leave it in the glass and move it to a cooler spot so the wax can harden up again, room temperature is fine.  Once the wax has hardened, you can put it into the holder.

The Faster Way

I like to use this method when I straighten tapers at my house.  It is quick, easy, and can be used on tapers of any length.  All you need to do this is warm tap water.  Here are the steps.

1. Get the water coming out of the tap over your kitchen sink to a warm temperature, not fully hot but more like a lukewarm.

2. Place the bent part of the candle under the water, moving it back and forth to warm up the wax.  The idea is not to get the wax so soft that it starts to lose its shape but warm enough that it won’t crack when you bend it back straight.

3. Once the wax has warmed up you can safely bend the candle back to its proper shape.

4. Change the water to cold and run it back over the candle to harden the wax back up.

5. That’s it, you can use the newly straightened taper in your holder.

Base of the Candle Doesn’t Fit Into the Holder

A taper can be either too loose in a holder or too big to not fit in at all.  I’ll show you a few ways to deal with both of these problems.

If The Taper Is Too Loose

If you are dealing with a taper and candle holder that are just not a good fit for each other there are some very easy ways to fix them with items you most likely have in your kitchen already.  There are also some very cheap products that are specifically made for correcting leaning candles.  Here is a list of things you can use to make your taper candles fit the holder better…

fixing taper supplies


The Aluminum Foil Trick

The steps for making your taper fit tightly in the holder are the same for both the tin foil and the masking tape.  I prefer foil because there is less chance of it catching on fire if the candle burns the whole way down.  Cut a strip of tin foil about 1/2 inch wide and about 4 inches long.  The length you need may be longer if there is a lot of extra space in your holder.  Fold the tin foil in half long ways so now you have a strip 1/4 inches wide and 4 inches long.  Wrap the foil around the base of the taper.

wrap taper with foil

This will give it a nice tight fit when you put it back into the holder and allow your taper to stand straight. See the difference in this before and after picture.

straight taper candle vs crooked

Using Candle Snuggers

A Candle Snugger is a piece of foam that is cut into a circular shape that work very well to tighten up the fit of a taper.

candle snugger and holder

All you have to do in order to use one of these is lay 1 piece across the top of your holder and press the candle down into the hole.

candle snugger on taper holder

The foam disk fills the extra space around the taper to give it a snug fit.  If there is too much of the foam sticking out of the hole, take it back out and trim some off the edges and reinsert it.  Check out this before and after picture.

snugger in holder

If you are going to add a decorative accent such as a candle ring, it most likely will hide the foam from view.

taper with candle ring

Using Stick-um

This product is great because it is inexpensive, and you only need a little bit because it goes a long way.  If you are a wedding decorator or an event planner that likes to use a lot of taper candles, Stick-um would be the way to go.  Stick-um is a very soft, tacky wax that works like a glue but does not get hard.  All you have to do to make a taper stay where you want is put a small pea size ball on the bottom of each taper and press it down into the holder.

stick-um with taper holder

If the taper candle is way too small for the holder, more of the Stick-um can be smeared on the sides to hold the taper in place.  This stuff works so well, I could make a taper stand up on the table without using a holder, just a small ball of this great product.

taper standing straight on table

All of these methods work great when the holder is too big for the candle so choose one and put it to use.

But what if the holder is too SMALL for the candle to fit into it?  I’m glad you asked.

If The Taper Is Too Big

There are two very easy ways to make the base of your taper candle smaller to fit into holder that is too tight.

The first way is to warm up the base of your candle by soaking it in some warm water for a minute.  This will soften the wax enough that you can push the taper into the holder without chipping or breaking the bottom.

taper base in warm water

You can also take a sharp knife or razor blade and carefully shave some of the wax off the base of the taper candle until it fits nicely into the holder.

shaving base of taper candle

So as you can see, there are plenty of ways to get your tapers to stand up straight and tall in their holders giving your arrangements the gorgeous look, just the way you intended.