April 01, 2005

Which Wick Fits?

On behalf of the Candlewic Company, we wish to thank everyone who has taken the time to send us their positive, kind words recently regarding our monthly newsletter. It is our goal to make these articles as informative as possible for our entire customer base.

Bill and Dave

Which Wick Fits?
We are very in tune with the concept that there are very few industries that require the level of a balance between art and science than candle making. As we all know by now candle making is a much more complex process than just melting wax, adding crayons and some scent with the final result being the perfect candle. If candle making were this easy we would have run out of topics after the first year of writing this newsletter.

In many past articles we have written about the importance of fragrance selection, color and even shape. But in reality these issues are all secondary to ensuring the proper wick is used in the candle. The proper wick is paramount to ensure safety, scent throw and general good performance of your candle. I’ll tell you upfront that this article is not going instill in you a magical formula for selecting the proper wick for your candle. But it will give you the guidelines and assistance on how to select the proper wick.

Almost every aspect of your candle is a variable in selecting the proper wick including but not limited to the wax formulation, the diameter of your candle, scent load, color and even the size of the opening of a container you may be using.

In fundamental terms the wick draws liquid wax from the candle by capillary action and up into the flame where it vaporizes. The challenge is to select the right wick to create this phenomenon without having the negative aspects such as sooting, mushrooming and wick drowning. To achieve the most efficient burn you must match the wick to YOUR wax, scent color and candle type.

The question is always, with 144 different wicks to choose from where do you begin? The starting point will depend on the type of candle you are making. Let’s start with containers since they represent the largest segment of the candles being made. Some of the most popular wicks for containers are the cored wick series which can encompass zinc, paper or cotton. These particular wicks offer rigidity for a hot pour candle process and in the case of paper and cotton are 100% natural.

The RRD series, which is a round wick, has woven in “tension threads” which helps the wick curl in order to achieve maximum combustion. When sized properly, it is a self-trimming wick. The RRD series is very versatile in that it has the necessary treatment to use in natural waxes, paraffin wax and gel candles.

Another good wick series for containers is the HTP, which is a flat braided wick with paper fibers woven into the wick. These wicks are also versatile because of the treatment and can be used with natural waxes, paraffin and gel candles.

We are not discounting the other good performing series wicks such as the CD and the LX series. The challenge is simply to find the right wick for your particular candle. The CD wick is a flat braided wick containing special paper filaments, which have been worked into the weaving process.

At Candlewic you can customize the wick to exactly what you need. Starting with the length the wick the base and even the coating. You can get exactly what you need when it comes to Pre-Wick assemblies. See our Custom Wick Builder.

When making votives many of the above series work very well with just a smaller wick size. Other considerations for Votives may include the TL series, which also is very effective for use in tea lights.

For the pillars, the square braided and flat braided are some of the most common wicks used. Both of these wicks are designed to curl in order to reduce the carbon build up during the burning cycle of the candle. The Ply wick is most often found in Tapers and the square braided is the preferred wick when making beeswax candles.

Selecting the wick may sound like a daunting task but after you start the process it does become slightly easier as you will quickly learn the importance and impact the wick can have on your candle.

As you can imagine, it is very difficult for us to cover all that you need to know about choosing the proper wick but our website, staff and even our catalog can provide you with the resources you need to help you select the proper wick. Our excellent staff is here to assist you in getting on the road to better candle making but always keep in mind you will have to test what will work best for your particular application.

CHANDLER'S CORNER

Hi! I'm Chandler!
I can help you
learn how to make candles.
Since we are on the topic of wicks I think it is important to note that selecting the right wick base is also critical when making votives and containers. There are a number of wick bases from which to choose...and a number of numbers as well. Let me explain.

The first number is the diameter of the clip, generally the 20 mm is the size of a nickel and the 15 mm is the size of a dime.

The second number is the diameter of the neck or support.

20 x 3 mm is the best selling and is very well suited for votives and containers
20 x 6 mm is the best selling for gels and some paraffin candles especially when using 2 wicks
20 x 9 mm or
15 x 9 mm
should always be used when making gel candles
33 x 3 mm is the perfect answer for the self-centering clip on votives

 

General Tips on Burning Candles
Reprinted from the NCA
Never leave a burning candle unattended.
Never burn a candle on or near anything that can catch fire.
Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.
Trim wicks to 1/4 inch prior to each use.
Keep candles away from drafts and vents.
Always use an appropriate candleholder placed on a stable, heat-resistant surface.
Never touch or move a votive or container candle when the wax is liquid.

April 2005

PROJECT:
"Earthy" Chunk Candle

On April 22 the Country will celebrate Earth Day. Earth Day started in 1970 and marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. In honor of this unique day we have selected an “Earthly” spin on the chunk candle using wax from nature’s hardest workers – the honeybee.

Supplies Needed

Yellow or White Beeswax
Aluminum Mold
(Ideal 3 x 6 ½, 4 x 4 ½)
Color Block
Wick

To start, pour a pre-colored mix of either white or yellow beeswax into a baker’s tray or cookie sheet. Prior to letting the wax completely harden, take a knife and cut the sheet into square or other unique shapes. These chunks can be scented or unscented. (For a uniquely scented candle try using different types of scents in these candles.) Using different scents will allow these candles to “emit” different smells during the burning cycle.

When the chunks are completely hard remove them from the sheets and place in any type of pillar mold. Common mold sizes would include 3 x 6-1/2, 3 x 9-1/2 and 4 x 4-1/2. Once the chunks have been placed in the mold, take a pillar wax (scented or unscented) and pour over the chunks. When the candle is completely set up, remove the pillar from the mold.

For variations in the basic chunk candle, try some of the following variations:
1. Once the chunks are placed in the mold, pour your pillar wax at a higher temperature, which will cause the chunks to streak and create a unique look.
2. Try using different types of molds such as octagons, squares and other unusual shapes.
3. Try making chunk candles in a jar. For best results make the chunks out of wax with a lower melt point wax.

What makes the chunk candle so unique is the endless possibilities that can be made with the same basic concept. Some candle makers are starting to use this same concept with palm waxes for truly unique candles.

For other projects in theme with Earth Day check out these past issues:
January 2004 - Layering Container Candle
April 2004 - Rolling Beeswax – Not a better time to start rolling than now with the great sale on select sheets. Can’t find the right project? We will send you 11 free project sheets just send us your mailing address.

What's Hot?
Top Selling Color Blocks
B-4 Brown
B-16 Royal Blue
B-5 Burgundy
B-28 White
B-23 Violet
B-24 Wedgewood Blue
B-27 Ivory
B-21 Sunshine Yellow
B-19 Scarlet
B-7 Gold
B-9 Kelly Green
view all color blocks

 

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