How to Choose Candle Wicks for Candle Making
How to choose candle wicks for candle making. Including a candle wick size chart for soy candles, wood wick candles, and the best wicks for beeswax candles.
I’ve been a candle maker for years and love discussing every step of creating candles. But, I’ve noticed, for whatever reason, that candle wicks are often the last choice or even an afterthought when it comes to candle making.
And I totally get it! I get caught up in finding the perfect candle container, choosing the candle wax type, combining 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 burn too fast, funnel, or not stay lit at all!
If you’ve been there – then you know my pain. And that’s why I spent months putting together this guide to choosing candle wicks!
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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!
Related To: DIY Crackling Wood Wick Candles
Candle Wicks: Where To Start
“How do I choose a candle wick?” you ask; there are a few things to determine before choosing your candle wick size from each candle wick size chart below. (If you are just getting your feet wet in candle making, 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 plan 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 help with 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.
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: 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 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 provide 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 container candles with a 2 ¾” to 3 ¼” inch diameter, no longer than 5 inches tall.
Although braided in natural cotton threads, LX wicks have a very flat finish. They help candles have a consistent flame due to their curling ability that reduce 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 tall.
- Or opt for a spool of hemp wicks for any size candle
Do candle wicks need to be waxed?
Now, you may wonder, 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! 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 at Makesy. (Use my link to get $10 off your first order at Makesy.)
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 you are using the correct 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 correct wick size can require some experimenting. For centering, use a centering device or wick holder for best results.
Wood Wick Size Chart
Layer two wood wicks together in a single wood wick clip for a great burn time and crackling sound.
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 with can affect the way the wick burns, so some experimenting may be needed 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:
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.
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.
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.
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 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 significantly 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.
Choosing the right candle wick 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 and my Creative Candles Made Simple book!
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