- contain the melted wax, making the candle more efficient and producing an even burn down the full length of the candle.
- with raised edges tend to help guard against wax spillage.
- can be designed to shield the flame from wind, in which case said followers are typically referred to as lanterns or shades.
- can be decorative. Glass followers can be designed to disperse or colour the light. Brass followers can be quite ornate. A good reason to keep a follower clean is that it will better reflect (or disperse) the light.
Quick Fix—If a follower is too large for a candle, use tinfoil to line the inside of the follower. If you tear a strip of tinfoil and fold it in half or more (or roll it up into a tube), then press the tinfoil strip into the inside of the follower toward the end closest to the flame, the follower will rest on the tinfoil and not slip down the candle. You may want to trim the length of the tinfoil strip so that it doesn't add too much thickness to the inside of the follower nor protrude above the top of the follower.
- Fill up an old mug with hot water. Use an old mug. Once you immerse the follower, the wax will transfer to the mug. The advantage of using a mug is that it has a handle, which makes draining the water easy. If your follower is very large, use an old wide-topped pitcher for the same reason. Use just enough hot water in the pitcher or mug to immerse the follower.
- Use non-scratching plastic tongs to remove the follower from the hot water. (I use chopsticks to lift the follower out of the water.) When removing the follower from the hot water, BE CAREFUL!—the follower will be very hot. Use a thick soft cloth or double thickness paper towel to handle, dry and polish the follower inside and out. If you have sensitive hands, use cloth work-gloves to handle the hot brass.
- Do not pour waxy water down the sink. Wax will build up and clog the pipes. Pour the waxy water into a container, e.g., small bucket or Tupperware container. The wax will float and solidify and can be collected and, if desired, repurposed. Return excess water to the ground.
- NEVER put a container covered in waxy residue in a microwave oven! Residual wax will "pop" and splatter in the microwave creating considerable mess and a safety hazard. Clean the mug used to hold the hot water and follower by filling it with hot water, draining it to the ground or into a bucket. Repeat a couple times, wiping the mug of wax after each rinse. Drain the waxy water to the ground.
A few last thoughts:
- Brass followers are more durable than glass followers for obvious reasons.
- Choose followers that compliment the candlestick holder.
- Check out auction sites for old followers that usually can be purchased for considerably less than new ones. The money you save can be put towards restoration, i.e., polishing and, if so desired, the addition of a protective clear lacquer coat.
- Try to find followers that have "weight". Most followers are weighted, which helps the follower shift down the candle more evenly.