One crucial aspect of creating your own candles that beginners often overlook is the wick. Choosing the right size and type of wick is essential in achieving a good burn, scent throw, and preventing tunneling.
There are two important things to know before choosing the best wick for a candle:
- What wax are you using?
- What will be the candle diameter?
What Do Candle Wicks Do?
Candle wicks act as a vehicle for the fuel (wax) to be sent up into the flame and thus create the light and heat we see coming from a burning candle.
Once lit, the wick draws liquid wax from within the meltpool up into the flame. As the wax enters the wick, it is consumed and evaporates. At the same time, the wick becomes shorter as it burns down. Most wicks will maintain a proper length while burning and do not require trimming while the candle is lit. However, it is recommended that you always trim a wick to approximately ¼” before lighting a candle each time to ensure that the wick does not start off too long.
Does Wick Size Matter?
Put simply–when it comes to making candles, wick size definitely matters. The size of the wick directly affects how much wax gets drawn up into the flame. Too small a wick won't draw enough liquid wax, resulting in incomplete combustion and a weak flame. Too large a wick will draw too much liquid wax, making the flame burn too hot and sooty.
How to Choose the Perfect Candle Wick
The type of wax used will determine the size of the wick needed and is usually done so through trial and error. Generally, softer waxes (such as soy or coconut wax blends) require smaller wicks than harder waxes (such as paraffin or beeswax.)
The diameter of the candle also needs to be taken into account.
To find the diameter of your candle, use a ruler to gauge its widest section. This measurement is required when selecting an appropriate wick for your candle. If it is 3.5 inches or less in diameter, you can usually find one wick that provides adequate heat to melt the wax at the proper rate; however, if the diameter exceeds 4 inches, then multiple wicks are often necessary for an ideal burn.
Although a wick that can burn over 4 inches in diameter will provide more light and heat, it is also likely to produce more smoke and soot. For this reason, it's suggested to use multiple smaller-sized wicks instead for the best results.
Choosing a Wick by Wax Type
Different waxes melt at different temperatures. The amount of heat required to melt them varies, as does the hardness of each wax after cooling. Therefore, it is important to select the right type of wick for each wax.
Testing the Wick
To make sure you've chosen the correct-sized wick, it's important to do a burn test. Observe how high and fast the flame burns and note whether the candle is burning evenly on all sides. If it's sooting, then the wick size needs to be adjusted either up or down depending on if the flame appears too small or too large. You can also do an overall candle test.
With the right wick, you can ensure that your candle is burning cleanly and efficiently for an enjoyable experience each time! Learn how to check if your candle is properly wicked here.
Try Our Free Wick Chart
We understand how difficult choosing the right wick can be in candle making, which is why we've included a helpful chart on our website to guide you. Our Wick Chart will help you select the correct type and size of wicks for your wax and candle diameter. If you want to try out a few different wick types, you're in luck! Northwood offers a variety of sample packs just for this reason.
So, if you're looking for the perfect wick for your candle-making needs, Northwood is here to help. With our wide selection of sizes and types, we guarantee you'll find exactly what you need!