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Candle FAQs

1. What is Soy Wax?

Many candles are made from paraffin wax, which is derived from petroleum.  Paraffin wax can leave soot on the sides of your candle jar.  Paraffin wax candles produce black smoke when burned that can stain walls if candles are placed near them.  A study by researchers at the University of Michigan found that Paraffin wax candles can give off emissions that exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's standards for outdoor air quality. Soy wax is a natural, biodegradable, and renewable product derived from soybeans.  My candles are made using 100% soy wax with soy additives and fragrances.  Soy  candles produce no petro-carbon soot and last longer than paraffin candles.

2. Where are your candles made?

My candles are handpoured in Maryland using ingredients sourced from providers in the United States.

3. How do I burn my candle?

It is important to adhere to the following instructions to ensure maximum burn time, performance, and safety from your candle.  You should keep the wick trimmed to 1/4 inch, trimming any excess before lighting the candle each time. Remember that the wick does not fuel the candle, the wax does.  The wax must be drawn up through the wick, so a long wick will keep the wax from reaching the flame.  Keep the wax free of any foreign debris.  When lighting a wood wick candle, the best technique is to tilt it on an angle and let the flame draw across the length of the wick (kind of like how you tilt a match after lighting). The first time you light your candle, you should allow it to burn long enough to ensure that the wax melts completely across the jar.  This can take up to two hours or longer depending upon the size of the candle and room conditions.  This will help avoid tunneling, which can make it difficult to light the candle in the future.  Never burn more than 4 hours at a time. Keep the candle away from drafts, and discontinue use when only 1/2 inch of wax remains.  Lit candles should never be left unattended.

4. I am having trouble relighting my wooden wick candle. What is wrong?

If you are having trouble relighting your candle, begin by making sure that the wick has been trimmed to the appropriate length and is mostly free of charred wood.  If a wooden wick is charred to the surface of the candle, you may take a knife and scrape some of the wax from around the wick to provide access to the wick.  To light a wooden wick, tilt the candle at an angle and hold the flame beneath the wick allowing the flame to run across the width of the wick. If your candle has begun to tunnel and the wick will light, let it burn until the wax has burned down and formed a full burn pool across the entire candle.  If the wick will not stay lit, you may use a knife to remove excess wax from around the tunnel, allowing the flame to breath.  After you have widened the tunnel, attempt to light the wick.  If it will remain lit, allow the candle to burn until a full burn pool has formed. If you have trimmed the wick too short so that the top of the wick is barely above the surface of the wax, this may also keep the wick from staying lit.  In this case, blow out the candle and use a paper towel to absorb excess wax from the candle before relighting.

5. What is your return and refund policy for candles?

In general, unused and undamaged candles may be returned in their original packaging within 10 days of receipt.  Please send an email to to request a return authorization.   Shipping charges are nonrefundable, and you  are responsible for the cost of return shipping.  Review my full return policy for more information.

6. What if my candle arrives damaged?

I take care in packaging to protect candles from damage, but accidents do happen.  If your product arrives damaged, please take photos of the box and damaged product and email them to  We will file a claim with the shipper and work to replace the damaged item.  Because my products are made in small batches, an exact replacement may not be available.

7. Do you ship internationally?

Currently, I only ship candles within the United States.

8. How quickly do you ship?

In general, I ship in-stock products within 2 business days of your order.  However, I am a small business and shipping may sometimes be delayed.  If you need your order shipped by a certain date, please make a note in the Order Notes section at checkout.   Although I will make every effort to honor your request, delivery dates cannot be guaranteed and carrier delays may  occur.  Backordered products are processed in the order received and are usually shipped within 2 business days of becoming available.

9. Will you ship in-stock candles if my order has backordered items?

Generally, no.  If your order contains backordered items, your entire order will be held until that item is available.  This reduces your shipping cost.  If you want in-stock items to ship immediately, please submit separate orders for in-stock and backordered items.

10. Will you ship gifts directly to the recipient?

Yes! Just check the box for a different shipping address and provide the recipient's name and address.   Consider adding a kraft paper gift box to your order, and I will include a handwritten gift message.   Orders shipped to a different address do not contain a packing slip identifying the buyer or price paid for items, so your  recipient will not know who the candles are from if you do not include a gift box.

11.  Can I track my shipment?

Yes.  All orders are shipped via USPS Priority Mail or USPS Priority Mail Express with tracking information.  You will receive an email with tracking information as soon as a shipping label is created for your order.  Please note, it may take 24 hours for USPS to show that it has received your order in its tracking system.

12.  Can I sign-up to receive emails with special offers and product news?

Yes.  Join my mailing list for special offers and product news.  As an added bonus, you will receive a coupon code for 10% off your first order.

13. Do you offer any discounts on large orders?

Yes. For more information on bulk pricing, contact us.  Some examples of large orders I'm happy to accommodate are:
  • Candles as wedding favors
  • Candles as a gift to your clients or vendors
  • Candles to burn in your salon/spa/hotel
Bulk orders require sufficient lead time, so please contact me as early as possible to discuss your needs.

14. Can I sell your products in my store?

Yes.  For information on wholesale prices, contact us.

15. Do you charge sales tax?

Currently,  I am only required to charge sales tax on orders shipped to Maryland.

About A Mandatory Activity

A Mandatory Activity sells artisan candles and bath products handcrafted, by me, in Maryland, USA. My candles are hand-poured using 100% soy wax.
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About Amanda

I’m Amanda, and I put the AMANDA in A MANDAtory Activity (and I like a good bad pun). I run a blog, A Mandatory Activity, focused on baking and crafting for gatherings and gifts.

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