How to Choose Candle Wicks for Candle Making
For whatever reason, candle wicks are often the last choice or even an afterthought when it comes to candle making. I don’t know about you, but I get caught up in choosing the candle wax type, containers, scents and determining my fragrance load. The type of candle wicks I’ll use somehow always gets decided at the last minute.
Unfortunately, this can prove to be a big mistake, when you watch your beautifully made and perfectly scented candle burns too fast, funnel, or not stay lit at all!
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Why is Choosing the Right Candle Wicks So Important?
Choosing the right candle wicks is crucial if you want to avoid candle wick problems and create high-quality candles. I’ll even go so far as to say, that the containers, type of wax, and scent you select won’t matter if you use the wrong candle wicks.
Like many things, I learned the importance of using the right candle wicks through trial and error. Every time I came across a candle making problem I retraced my steps and analyzed every decision in the process.
I discovered when it comes to deciding how to choose candle wicks there are a handful of important things to aim for:
- consistent flame – no self-extinguishing
- even melt pool across the diameter of the candle
- safe, moderate temperature
- smoke-free burn – no soot while burning
- long burn time – a.k.a. life of the candle
- small, safe flame
- non-toxic, clean burn
As you can see there is a lot weighing on the choice of your candle wicks. But, by keeping these factors in mind you will ensure a candle burns optimally, with a great scent throw and without unnecessary toxins. Use our guide below to help you choose the right candle wicks for all your homemade candles!
Candle Wicks: Where To Start
“How do I choose a candle wick?”, you ask, there are few things to determine before choosing your candle wick size from each candle wick size chart below. (And if you are just getting your feet wet in candle making, make sure to read our beginner candle making guide after this.)
Start here to begin choosing which type of candle wicks is right for the candles you are making:
1. The Diameter of the Candle
Let’s start with the most vital factor in choosing candle wicks – the diameter of the candle. Luckily, the first step is very easy to figure out. Either pull out a ruler and measure this or read the details for this information before ordering your candle containers.
2. Fragrance Load and Color
The second step is to consider the amount of fragrance or color you are planning to add to the candle. The more color or fragrance you include the thicker you’ll want your wick to be. Use our fragrance load calculator to helpwith this step!
3. Candle Wax Type
The next step involves your candle wax type. Each candle wax type has a different melting point and density. These variances influence the recommended candle wick type, as you’ll see below.
If you haven’t chosen your candle wax type yet, use our swipe file in the Simple Living Library to help you pick one. And if you are not sure how much candle wax you’ll need, check out our easy candle wax calculator.
4. Candle Burn Time
Last but not least, consider the burn time of the wax. Soy wax, for example, has a longer, slower burn time than paraffin wax so a thinner wick may be best. On the other hand, if you intend to burn the candle in short intervals like 1 to 1.5 hours versus the recommended 4 hours, a thicker wick would be advisable in order to form a melt pool quickly across the candle to avoid funneling.
If this has left you feeling overwhelmed, don’t fret – let me make it easier for you by clearly pointing out which candle wicks are best for which candle types.
Related To: DIY Crackling Wood Wick Candles
Related To: Soy Candle Making: Ultimate Guide
What are the different types of candle wicks?
There is more to candle wicks than size! And in fact, there are many types of candle wicks. Here I’ve created a list of commonly used candle wicks while pointing out which wicks are best for different types of candles. You’ll find the best wicks for beeswax candles, soy candles, and more!
ECO candle wicks are basically a coreless flat braid, interwoven with 100% organic cotton and paper fibers that provides great strength. These are self-trimming and clean-burning with minimized mushrooming and a clean burn. Excellent for waxes with a lower melting point. Each comes with wick tabs and is pre-coated in soy wax for ease of use.
- This pack of ECO wicks is best for soy pillars and tall container candles up to 7 inches in height such as mason jar candles
- Whereas this pack of ECO wicks is best for wax blends and soy containers candles with a 2 ¾” to 3 ¼” inch diameter, no longer than 5 inches tall
LX wicks have a very flat finish, although braided in natural cotton threads. They help candles have a consistent flame due to their curling ability that reduces mushrooming, afterglow, soot, and smoke. Each is coated in natural soy wax, fully biodegradable, and environmentally responsible.
- Best for wax blends and soy containers candles with a 2 to 3-inch diameter, no longer than 5 inches tall
As you can likely guess from the name, hemp candle wicks are made from 100% organic hemp, biodegradable, and non-toxic. Each is dipped in natural beeswax. You can buy them pre-tabbed or in a spool to make any desired candle height.The pre-tabbed are the best wicks for beeswax candles I’ve used.
- These hemp wicks are best for beeswax pillars and container candles up to 7 inches in height
- Or opt for a spool of hemp wicks for any size candle
Do candle wicks need to be waxed?
Now, you may be wondering do you have to buy pre-waxed candle wicks? The short answer is no. However, a pre-waxed wick will improve the performance of the wick and is considered superior in the candle-making world, especially when it comes to a great scent throw!
And if you don’t buy cotton, paper, or hemp wick pre-waxed wicks – you’ll need to wax them yourself. I can tell you from experience, working with pre-waxed candle wicks is so much easier!!
There is nevertheless, one exception…
Wood wicks don’t need to be pre-waxed for a great burn. My favorite wood wicks are made in the U.S. from native, sappy fruit trees and sourced sustainably from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). They create a cozy campfire atmosphere, crackling, and all! Come see for yourself – watch our video of homemade wood wick candles.
- Wood wicks are best for all types of candles: soy, palm, coconut, beeswax, and blends. You can choose from 4 different sizes of wood wicks to meet all your candle making needs here.
Choosing the Right Candle Wicks:
Now that you’ve covered all the basics and determined your candle wick type the last step is to confirm your using the right candle wick size. Outside of the length of the candle wick, it’s the thickness that counts. Simply put the wider the diameter of your candle the thicker the wick you’ll need.
Candle Wick Size Chart for Soy Candles
Keep in mind that these are only our best estimates for choosing candle wicks. Finding the right wick size can require some experimenting. For centering use a centering device for best results.
Wood Wick Size Chart
For a great burn time and crackling sound layer two wood wicks together in a single wood wick clip.
Beeswax Wick Chart
It turns out candle wicks are one of the most important considerations while making beeswax candles. The particular beeswax you’re working on can affect the way the wick burns, so some experimenting may be in order to find the best wicks for beeswax candles.
How do you know if you are using the wrong candle wicks?
Using the wrong candlewick can cause a host of candle problems. Here are a few signs that you’re experiencing one and tips on how to fix it:
Self-extinguishing: If a candle wick self-extinguishes and therefore fails to burn you have one of two problems happening:
- The candle wick is too thin or short – use the wick size charts above to correct this.
- The candle has too much fragrance – use a fragrance load calculator to avoid adding too much next time.
Mushrooming: When a wick is mushrooming, it splits as it burns. You can avoid this by doing two things:
- Trim wicks after use, removing excess buildup.
- Choose a thinner wick.
Excessive Flickering: A flickering wick, other than a wood wick, can cause smoke or soot. This candle wick problem is often caused by one thing:
- If the candle wick is too thick for the candle size it will cause the flame to flicker.
Tunneling: If the candle does not melt across from edge to edge a tunnel will likely occur and your scent throw will be weak. Tunnels form in candles for two reasons:
- If the candle is only lit for a short time before the melting pool can reach across the diameter of the candle a tunnel will form. Burn candles in 4-hour intervals for best results.
- The wick was too thin and did not have enough strength to create a full melting pool.
Deep Melt Pool: A melt pool that is too deep can greatly reduce the amount of burn time, meaning the life of the candle. Look out for this:
- Using a wick that is too thick for the diameter of the candle can cause a melt pool deeper than half an inch.
You May Also Like:
How to Make Scented Candles
Candle Making Supply Index
Blue Spruce Candles
DIY Essential Oil Candles
Choosing the right candle wicks size can make or break your candle! It takes some experimenting and patience. If you’re new to candle making don’t miss our beginners’ guide.
Pin these tips on how to choose candle wicks and don’t forget to share your candle making with us – tag #lifenreflection on Instagram.
Divide your diameter by the number of wicks you intend to use. For example, if you want to wick a 3″ candle with 2 wicks, the answer would be 1.5″ (3″ ÷ 2). Use this number (1.5″ in the example above) as your effective diameter.How do wick sizes work? ›
The size of the wick is determined by how many spools of yarn were used to make the wick. The higher the number, the larger the wick. As a general rule, the larger wick sizes will have a bigger melt pool and usually have higher wax consumption.Does wick size matter? ›
Yes, the size of your wick definitely matters. Different wick sizes allow different levels of heat. Thicker wicks allow more fuel to be drawn into the flame and will create more heat. These wicks are better for wider candles or candles made with harder waxes like beeswax or other pillar waxes.How do I know if my wick is too big? ›
After 4 hours check the melt pool and wick again. At this point the melt pool of a proper wicked candle will have reached the outside edge and should be approximately 1/4 - 1/2 inch deep. If the wick is mushrooming or the melt pool is deeper than 1/2 inch the wick is most likely too large.What is the best size wick? ›
27mm – Suitable for tealight candles only. 33mm - Suitable for larger tealight cups. 150mm - Suitable for tins and glassware and have a tab on the bottom. 300mm - Suitable mostly for pillar-type candles.What happens if your wick is too small? ›
If your candle wick is drowning, that means the size of the wick might be too small for the candle container or the quality of the wick is low. This causes the wick to burn too quickly and “drown” in its own wax pool.Do thicker wicks burn faster? ›
Wider or thicker wicks will burn much faster than thin ones, and the material the wick is made with can also make an impact. Different types of candle wax burn at different temperatures. Generally speaking, the harder the wax, the longer the burn time.What happens if wick is too long? ›
Wicks that are left long or crooked can cause uneven burning, dripping, flaring and sooting. Trimming wicks will help prolong the life of your candle. Your candles will burn up to 25% longer if you trim the wick every couple of hours.Which wick should I use? ›
Choosing the Correct Type of Wick
Ultra Core Wicks work well in essentially any wax. Eco Wicks work best in soy, but can also be used successfully in paraffin waxes that have a lower melt point. CD Wicks are ideal for high-viscosity waxes such as paraffin or soy blends.
Wick size is the primary factor determining candle-burning rate. "A larger wick is like stepping on the gas pedal," says Phillips. The big wick delivers more fuel to the burning flame. By the way, a candle is a cylinder of solid fuel - paraffin wax - that surrounds a wick.
But it can also be helpful to keep the candle wick trimmed to about a quarter inch in length, because longer wicks tend to hasten burning.What happens if wick is too thick for candle? ›
For example, when the candle wick is too thick, it draws in too much wax and causes the flame to burn hotter and higher than it's supposed to. Other potential factors also includes the type of wax, fragrance oils, and other additives used to make the candle.How long should a wick be when making candles? ›
Keep the wick trimmed to 1/4 inch at all times. It is suggested to trim the wick every 4 hours of burn time. When wick trimming, you should always extinguish the flame, let the candle come to room temperature, and trim the wick before relighting.Should I trim a wick before burning? ›
In general, you should trim candle wicks to about 1/4 inch before lighting them. Doing this before each use helps ensure that your candles burn safely and brightly.What candle wicks burn the longest? ›
Paraffin wax tends to be cheaper, and burns at a much faster rate than soy wax. In comparing two candles of the same size, a paraffin candle will usually have a lifespan of 35 to 40 hours whereas a soy candle can burn for 50 to nearly 80 hours.What type of wick is best for soy candles? ›
Using a blend of cotton and braided paper fibres, HTP wicks provide a rigid and robust wick for candle making. HTP wicks are self trim and have a softer burn, making them ideal for soy wax candles.
In general, twisted wicks are of lower quality than braided or knitted wicks. They burn much faster because their loose construction allows more fuel to quickly reach the flame.Are wooden wicks better? ›
simply add a bit of life to your candle by simply choosing a wood wick. wider fragrance throw: In a burn test between a wooden wick vs cotton wick candle, results showed that the wooden wicks diffuse heat more rapidly into the wax, and can push up to 35% more fragrance throw into a room, compared to cotton wicks.What is the difference between eco and CD wicks? ›
ECO wicks typically work best in soy waxes, but may be used in paraffin waxes with a lower melt point. They are self trimming and clean burning with minimized mushrooming, soot, and smoke. CD wicks are a coreless, non-directional, cotton flat braid wick with paper filament throughout, providing increased rigidity.Does a wick need to be soaked? ›
Fact 1 - They don't need to be soaked…
Wooden wicks do not need to be soaked with oil or wax before being used with candles. They naturally burn wonderfully.
To prevent tunneling, all you need to do is burn your candle long enough each time so that the entire top surface of wax is melted. This is especially important the first time you burn your candle!Why does my wick explode? ›
A wick that is too long may produce too large of a flame which can cause unnecessary smoke and soot, and more importantly can cause your jar to become too hot which can lead to the jar breaking or even exploding. Keep your candle wick trimmed with a wick trimmer or even nail trimmers.Are you supposed to burn all 3 wicks at once? ›
For 3-wick candles, you should burn all three wicks the first time, even if you only plan on using one at a time in the future. You want the wax to create an even surface the first time for later burns to follow.How thick should candle wicks be? ›
The first of the basic rules for selecting a wick is: the bigger is the diameter of the candle, the thicker should be the wick. For candles, made of beeswax, the best will be the wick, twisted from thicker fibers or yarn (mainly from yarn Nm 10/1).Why should you not burn candles for more than 4 hours? ›
If you burn your candle for more than 4 hours at a time, carbon will collect on the wick, and your wick will begin to "mushroom." This can cause the wick to become unstable, the flame to get too large, your candle to smoke, and soot to be released into the air and around your candle container.What happens if you dont trim candle wick? ›
Trim Before You Light
If you don't trim your wick, you run the risk of tunneling, "which happens when your wick is too long and the flame gets too hot, causing excess wax to burn," she adds.
Zinc burns the coolest of all the cored wicks and offers the most rigidity. These wicks are constructed by using 100% natural fibers in the cover with the zinc core. Zinc cored wicks are most effective in paraffin based waxes and VersaGel, they are not recommended for use in natural/renewable waxes.Do candles with more wicks burn faster? ›
You can see that the 3-wick candle has more wax that was melted, so there would be a greater hot throw. In Part 2 of this series, we learned that candles with more wicks burn faster. Look at the difference between where the wax level is now compared to where it was before the candles were lit.Do wider candles burn slower? ›
According to Heyen, candles burn roughly five to seven hours per ounce. So the bigger the candle, the longer the burn time. But what you probably didn't know—and honestly, it seems counterintuitive—is that a three wick candle in the same exact vessel as a one wick candle will burn slower—not faster.Why is my candle wick burning faster than the wax? ›
This often happens if your candle has tunneled and the wick has burned below the surface of most the wax. The wax is melting down into the wick faster than the wick can burn it and the flame gets extinguished.
Ensuring your wick is trimmed to at least half an inch before each burn time is vital for the candle to produce a strong enough scent. If the wick is too long, then the flame will be too large and burn the melted wax at a faster rate – giving the scent less time to evaporate and fill a room.How can I make my candles shine brighter? ›
Once your candle is lit up, don't blow it out until the top layer of wax has melted all the way across, pooling out to the edges. Trim the wick before you light up your candle. Tapered candle wicks should be kept slightly longer. This keeps the flame in control and will give you a brighter and cleaner burn.Does freezing a candle make it last longer? ›
Basically, placing a candle in the freezer helps freeze the wax which causes it to melt much more slowly. While freezers are primarily used for food items, you can use them for a handful of non-food things, too! The thinner the candle, the less time it needs to spend in the freezer.What happens if wick is too small? ›
THE Problem: Why Your Candle Wick Got Too Short
If your candle wick is drowning, that means the size of the wick might be too small for the candle container or the quality of the wick is low. This causes the wick to burn too quickly and “drown” in its own wax pool.
Too small of a wick will create a small burn pool, which will lead to poor scent throw. Too large of a wick may burn too hot and actually burn off the fragrance, which also can lead to poor scent throw.What do the wicks mean on a candle chart? ›
A shadow, or a wick, is a line found on a candle in a candlestick chart that is used to indicate where the price of a stock has fluctuated relative to the opening and closing prices. Essentially, these shadows illustrate the highest and lowest prices at which a security has traded over a specific time period.Are wood or cotton wicks better? ›
simply add a bit of life to your candle by simply choosing a wood wick. wider fragrance throw: In a burn test between a wooden wick vs cotton wick candle, results showed that the wooden wicks diffuse heat more rapidly into the wax, and can push up to 35% more fragrance throw into a room, compared to cotton wicks.What happens if a wick is too thick? ›
For example, when the candle wick is too thick, it draws in too much wax and causes the flame to burn hotter and higher than it's supposed to. Other potential factors also includes the type of wax, fragrance oils, and other additives used to make the candle.How short should your wick be? ›
Keep the wick trimmed to 1/4 inch at all times. It is suggested to trim the wick every 4 hours of burn time. When wick trimming, you should always extinguish the flame, let the candle come to room temperature, and trim the wick before relighting.How do I make my candles smell stronger? ›
Ensuring your wick is trimmed to at least half an inch before each burn time is vital for the candle to produce a strong enough scent. If the wick is too long, then the flame will be too large and burn the melted wax at a faster rate – giving the scent less time to evaporate and fill a room.
For the strongest scented candles, Jo Malone are incredible. You'll be able to sniff them all the way from the front door and the scent choices are beautiful and unique. Similarly, The White Company's candles easily fill a room with fragrance.Which wax holds the most scent? ›
If you decide that you want a clean-burning candle that will give you the strongest scent throw you can get, you might choose paraffin. If you want a wax that is clean-burning, comes from a renewable source, has a great scent throw, and burns longer, soy might be the way to go.