How to Measure Candles for your Candle Holders

How to Measure Candles and get the right size for your candle holder…

Reading a Ruler or Tape Measurer:
how to measure candles for a good fit

The Diameter:

To measure the diameter, take a ruler, center it on the opening of the candle holder or the candle cup. Start at the number 1 or at zero then read across to determine diameter.


How to measure for correct candle size
a diameter of 9/16 inch

Measure diameter of candle holder
a diameter of 3/4 inch

It is that simple. If you have trouble reading the numbers or lines, get a magnifying glass.

Write down the candle size for each of your candle holders and keep it for future reference and re-ordering.

The Circumference:

To measure the circumference (the length around the candle), use a flexible tape measure and wrap it around the candle (or the inside of the candle opening on a candle holder) until the ends meet. You can now determine the diameter by dividing the circumference by the value of pi, which is 3.141592. Pi is the ratio between the circumference and the diameter and when it is divided into the circumference the result is the diameter.


A circumference of 9″ divided by 3.141592 = 2.86″ in diameter, which would fit in a 3″ diameter candle holder.

A circumference of 12-1/2″ divided by 3.141592 = 3.98″ in diameter, which would fit in a 4″ diameter candle holder.

how to measure candles
a circumference of 12-1/2 inches

measuring candle for candle holder
a diameter of 2 inches


If you can’t find a candle to fit your candle holder’s diameter:

A. You may need to purchase a slightly smaller candle and add one of the following to make the candle’s base larger:

candle snuggers
candle snuggers

1. Candle Snuggers – a thin, round piece of foam that helps the candle’s base fit snug. Simply place the flexible foam candle snugger over the opening of your taper candle holder and push the base of a taper candle into the opening.

candle adapterscandle fitters
Candle Adapters, Candle Fitters and Sticky Wax – a sticky, thick yet pliable wax you place on the candle’s base to make it larger in diameter and for a snug fit.

3. Wrap adhesive tape around the candle’s base to make it larger in diameter.

B. You may need to purchase a slightly larger candle and trim the candle’s base to fit your candle holder using:

candle sharpener1. A Candle Sharpening Tool or Candle Shaper –
sizing your tapers is as easy as sharpening a pencil.

2. A small household paring knife or potato peeler – to trim the base of the candle.

Height or Length:

This is easy, just use a ruler or tape measure to determine the length or height of a candle.

More details:

It’s sometimes impossible to find a candle that fits perfectly in a candle holder. The reason is a combination of the metric system and a lack of regulation by the International Trade Administration.

Most candlesticks are made to hold tapers candles with the standard diameter of 7/8 inch, which have adorned palaces and more humble abodes since 1840. This British “imperial measurement” has been the standard for decades, however the market is being flooded with candles from Europe and China which are mass-produced on machines made to metric measurements – meaning they will always be slightly too big or slightly too small for imperial candlesticks.

United States customary units are a system of measurements commonly used in the United States. The US customary system developed from English units which were in use in the British Empire before American independence. Consequently most US units are virtually identical to the British imperial units. However, the British system was overhauled in 1824, changing the definitions of some units used there, so several differences exist between the two systems.

The US government passed Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, which made the metric system “the preferred system of weights and measures for US trade and commerce”. The legislation states that the federal government has a responsibility to assist industry as it voluntarily converts to the metric system, i.e., metrification. According to the CIA Factbook, the US is one of three nations (the others being Liberia and Burma) that has not adopted the metric system as their official system of weights and measures.