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Taper Candles: How To Use and Display Them

Taper candles are extremely versatile and will shine throughout the home, whether you’re setting the mood for a romantic candlelit dinner or decorating for a holiday gathering. As the oldest types of candles, they have actually existed for millennia. In fact, ancient Romans and Egyptians created some of the earliest forms of taper candles using beeswax and tallow. These days, dining by candlelight is not a necessity but is instead seen as a luxury—we find that taper candles will help set the mood and turn an ordinary weekday dinner into a special event.

What Are Taper Candles?

If you’re new to decorating with candles, tapers are an excellent place to begin given that they come in a variety of heights and styles, ranging from six inches to 18 inches tall. Thus, they look wonderful displayed anywhere in the home, from the dining table to the mantel top. And no matter whether your aesthetic leans traditional or modern, there’s a taper candle for you.

While classic off-white taper candles may initially come to mind, many retailers are now offering this style in twisted or geometric shapes. Taper candles also come in a variety of hues, making it easy to secure a color that coordinates with your tablescape or fits within the theme of a holiday celebration.

Taper candles are excellent because of their longevity, meaning they can be used at one dinner party after another. While the exact burn time depends on the material and length of the candle, generally a 12 inch candle will have a burn time of 12 hours. 

Taper candles are wonderful to use year-round given that they are typically unscented and therefore don’t have a fragrance that is associated with a particular season. The lack of fragrance is actually due to taper candles’ inefficiency at scent throw due to their long and thin shape. Still, due to their unique shape and exposed flame, taper candles bring visual depth and dimension to any tablescape.

Taper Candle Holders

Tapers are unable to stand on their own and therefore must be paired with a candle holder. A taper candle holder or candlestick will stabilize and support the candle, preventing it from falling over. Standard taper candles have a diameter of 7/8” at the base, which will fit into most candlestick holders. However, to minimize wax dripping and avoid any safety hazards, ensure that the candle is placed straight in its holder at a 90 degree angle and that the holder is on a level surface.

Adjusting Taper Candles

If you find that your taper candle is too large in its holder, fear not—everyday household items will come in handy to ensure a proper fit. You can carefully use a knife or scissors to shave small amounts of excess wax from the base until it fits snugly in the holder. For shallower candle holders, you can heat the bottom of the candle until some wax melts as another option to ensure the candles are secured in place and remain standing upright. Using the hot wax as an adhesive, place the candle in the holder and be sure that the candle is aligned properly, holding it in place for a few seconds while the wax dries. 

If you have the opposite problem and the candle is too large, there are a few solutions. One is to wrap the base of the taper candle with material to make it thicker, so that it fills the remaining space in the holder. Using masking tape or aluminum foil, wrap small amounts at the base until the taper candle fits snugly inside the holder. Another option is to invest in candle snugglers, pieces of circular foam that are specifically designed to secure the candle in place. 

With this insider knowledge, you’ll be able to easily introduce taper candles into your home in no time. Displaying this versatile style of candle and all it has to offer will help even weekday dinners at the kitchen table feel like an occasion to be celebrated. 



Updated November 29, 2021



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