Why Your Candles Sink In The Middle And How To Fix It

Regardless of the type of candle you are trying to make, sinkholes may occur even if you are very careful or work meticulously. But no fear cause Musti is here. Understanding the causes of sinkholes in candles improves your candle-making skills and enhances the quality of your final product. So, here is how you can fix them.

Homemade candles sink in the middle because the wax that has hardened (during the wax cooling process) cannot stick to the wick. Pouring it at a cooler temperature or a second pour may help prevent that.

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Especially if you are new at making candles, a sinkhole is something you will most likely encounter at some point. I know this might sound scary or discouraging, but I think it’s a good thing to experience it. Each “bad” experience will lead to a better result later. Even though a sinkhole occurs quite often, no fear here is how to keep homemade candles from sinking in the middle.

Why does my candle wax sink in the middle?

Before I explain why, we must ensure we are on the same page here. When I say sink in the middle, I am not talking about tunneling, which happens during the first burn of your candle.

I am referring to a sinkhole in the middle of the candle. Many may be confused about this, which is understandable since they both look alike, depending on how you understand it.

Recognizing the difference between sinkholes and tunneling is crucial in effectively diagnosing and fixing candle-making issues. So now we have clarified that, let’s talk about why it happens.

So once you melt the wax, pour it into the jar with (hopefully) a correctly positioned wick, and wait till it hardens. And after waiting long enough, you have your candle, right?

During this process, your wax (now hot and has expanded) starts to cool down and contract. Because it’s cooling on the sides first and it needs to stick to something, it will first stick to the sides. This causes your wax to dip or sink in the middle. Your wax may also stick to your wick because it can grasp it, but the middle will still sink as it cools down further.

I have linked a video below (in case you wish to watch the video instead of reading it), where it’s nicely explained.

How Different Types of Wax Influence Your Candle’s Structure

There are several types of wax used in candle making, each with its own properties that can affect the performance of your candles. Paraffin wax is the most common and is known for its excellent scent throw. Soy wax, a natural alternative, burns cleaner and longer but may not hold fragrance. Beeswax is another natural option that burns cleanly and has a natural honey scent.

Other types include palm wax, coconut wax, and blends of these waxes. The type of wax you choose can influence how your candle burns and potentially whether it sinks in the middle.

Explore our detailed article ‘The Best Wax Types for Different Candle Styles‘ to understand better how various waxes impact candle performance and aesthetics.

Choosing the Right Wick for Your Homemade Candle

The wick is another crucial component in candle making. It’s not just about the length; the thickness, material, and even how it’s braided can affect how your candle burns. A wick that’s too small for your candle diameter may cause tunneling, while a wick that’s too large can lead to sooting and a dangerously large flame. There are different types of wicks suitable for different wax and candle sizes, so choosing the right one for your project is important.

The right temperature is crucial.

Having the right condition is crucial when you make candles. You need to have the right place and the right room temperature. Don’t get me wrong; it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to make candles otherwise cause it is technically possible to make candles without a thermometer. It just means the chance for a better final product is much higher with the right conditions.

This means the place must be well-ventilated, and you must control the room temperature during the process. This is especially important when it’s very hot or very cold outside.

If you wish your candle to be set up naturally, control over your temperature is an absolute must. But the same thing applies to the container you want to use; they also must be at the right (room) temperature.

How To Prevent Candles From Sinking In The Middle.


Proper preparation will help you prevent a lot of problems later on. For example, you could leave your containers and molds in a room temperature setting for enough time before the melting and pouring process so they are at the right temperature when you start pouring. This is a great and cheap way to stop your candles from sinking in the middle.

Another option (only applicable if you forgot to put them at room temperature) is to put your jars or molds on a cookie sheet and into your oven at the lowest setting you have for about 15 to 20 minutes. This way, they would warm up quicker, and you wouldn’t need to wait. 

If your container is too cold or you want to accelerate the process by placing the container after you pour your wax in the refrigerator, the exterior will harden too quickly before the inside area. The trapped air inside will not be able to release naturally, and this is what causes your candle to sink in the middle.

Pouring your wax at a lower temperature:

Pouring at a lower temperature will also help prevent sinkholes from occurring. But be careful with this method. If it’s too cold, you will be below the suggested temperature, and your batch will not solidify correctly. I would not try this method unless I am sure or have tried it before and know what I am doing. 

How To Fix A Candle Sinkhole

Two ways are mainly used to fix sunken candles.

How to fix candle sinkholes with a heat gun

After reading this, you will probably say; I need a heat gun

A heat gun is ideal for fixing sinkholes. It works fast, and to be honest with you, you won’t go back anymore once you use it. You can use it to heat the candle’s surface to fill up any holes your candle has. Also, once you start doing that, use a stick (chopstick) to poke in the hole to open it up so the melted wax can fill it entirely.

Some do this even when they don’t see a hole. This is to make sure if the hole is not visible, it will be!
Also, a heat gun is ideal for making your surface even if you have an oblique surface.

How to fix candle sinkholes without a heat gun

If you are not in the position of a heat gun, some alternatives are equally as good.
You can basically use a hairdryer or a low temp over. With a hairdryer, it works exactly as it does with a heat gun. You heat the candle’s surface until you fill up the holes.

Low temp oven can also work, but you must ensure you only use the upper heat. I would also strongly advise you to do it very slowly till you are used to it because you might end up melting more than the surface. Regularly check and use a stick to poke in the holes to open them as you would do with the other fixes.

How to fix candle sinkholes with a Second pour:

This is not much different from the heat gun; a second pour does the same thing, which fills up the hole. This technique is ideal if you want to know how to fix sinkholes in soy candles. So, if you wish to use this method, save some for the next batch of candles you will pour for your second. What you need to be careful about here is not to pour too fast after your first.

This means your candle must have solidified entirely and cooled off before doing your second pour. In most cases, pouring 2 hrs after the first is advised. If you do it too fast, you may have significant flaws in the physical look of your candle, or even worse, create a second hole!
Again the same thing here with the stick, poke in the holes so you are sure all of them are filled and do it while you are pouring your second.

You may also try to heat up the glass before pouring it in, but you’d need to be careful not to heat them up too much, or else your candles will have a hard time solidifying as they cool down. You can quickly put them in the oven on warm mode for a few minutes, which should do the trick. This will help the wax cool down evenly and not cling or stick to the sides.

Poking in the candle while it cools down may be the best method to avoid dipping and sinking. You use a chopstick to poke around the middle to ensure no air pockets. By poking relief holes, the chances of having sinkholes are much slimmer. Just be careful; it may get messy if you start poking, and your wax has already solidified a little. You’ll end up with a lot of wax on your chopstick and less in your candle.

Not all candles are the same.

The probability of a sinkhole differs from one type of candle to another. It may occur with all candles, but it does less with some types. Single-pour pillar and container waxes will have fewer sinkholes if the right wax (for the candle style) is used. So logically, if you use the wrong wax, the chances for a sinkhole are higher.

Votiv waxes will almost always need a second pour; it’s simply like the wax. Remember, you always leave 1/16″ open from the top when making votive candles.
If you don’t, the votive will not be able to harden and shrink with the right amount of open surface. This means your second pour may not be able to cool uniformly, eventually leading to a sinkhole.


Proper preparation is half of the battle. If you can ensure your jars or molds are at the right temperature, the chances of a sinkhole are dramatically lower. Control over room temperature is also a must, but I understand that it’s not something most people would want to invest in.

I also would 100% suggest buying a heat gun because it is a lifesaver and straightforward to work with. Having one also has other advantages, so it’s an excellent investment.
Don’t forget, making candles is not a race. Take your time and use the right tools; it will be a walk in the park.

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