How to Pick
For many, lighting a candle is a special event for a lot
of reasons--creating an ambiance, freshening up a room with
a fragrance or even a celebration. You don’t have to
look too far to find a candle in some shape or form. They’re
used in advertisements, movies and decorative enhancements.
However, as anyone making candles knows getting to that
finished candle is no easy task. Selecting the fragrances
is fun, what color the candle should be is easy, choosing
a wax can be managed but selecting the proper wick is always
the challenge. No matter what size candle company or candle
maker you are there will always be challenges in choosing
the right wick.
While the function of the wick is always the same, achieving
this goal is not always the same. 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.
The number one question we get from many candle makers is, “What
is the right wick for me?” The operative word here
is “me”. To achieve the most efficient burn,
you must match the wick to YOUR wax, scent color and candle
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
Since there would never be enough space to outline all that
is involved in selecting the right wick we will start with
guidance on selecting the proper wick for containers since
this is the largest segment of our market. We always like
to preface our comments that if you are using other wicks
than what we identify here it does not mean it is not the
One popular series of wicks is cored wicks. These wicks
are constructed by using natural fibers on the cover with
the core having a material such as zinc, paper or cotton.
These wicks, especially zinc, are used due to the rigidity
they offer during the manufacturing process.
Another option is the HTP wicks. These are designed to provide
the benefits of a self-trimming wick posture with rigidity
found in cored wick. This rigidity is due to a specialty
yarn fiber that is incorporated into the construction of
the braid. This specialty yarn, which is 100% natural fibers,
increases the burn temperature and results in less carbon
buildup (mushrooming). This is a good all-around wick for
paraffin, gel and vegetable waxes that require hotter burning
A third series, which is growing in popularity due its diversity
of use in paraffin, natural waxes and gel, is the RRD series.
RRD wicks are directional round wicks with a cotton core
and tension threads. It is designed to improve the burning
of solid scented, solid colored votive and container candles.
These wicks are impregnated with an NST treatment (sodium
based) that will enable the wick to burn properly in the
vegetable based waxes.
While the task of selecting the right wick may seem daunting
we at Candlewic are committed to helping you get to the right
wick in your specific candle. The key is always to choose
the wax, fragrance, color, and size of your candles and then
begin to determine which wick will work best in your application.
As I have stated in my column a couple of times, wick
is definitely a confusing topic and the numbering system
manufacturers offer does not help in most instances. One
question that is commonly asked is, “What
do the numbers identify.”
The answer varies depending on which series of wicks are
in question. For example the cored wicks with numbers such
as 44-24-18 zinc do not mean much to the average candle
manufacturer. These where developed many years ago by the
wick manufacturer and tells them what type of cotton to
use, how many strands and other specifications which unfortunately
do not transfer over to actual candle making. In most instances,
the larger first number to the next does signify a larger
wick. This does not always hold true for the smaller sizes.
However, if the same question is asked of what the number
means with the Ply wick there is some logic in that it
signifies the number of strands used. If you need a larger
burn when using a 21 Ply, the next logical test wick would
be the 24 Ply.
couple of years ago we ran a series on unique words
found in the Candle making vocabulary. Below please
find some of the ones we do continue to get questions
These phrases generally apply when making gel candles and clear
candle technology products. In order to be safe when using
the referenced products a fragrance must be non-polar. In general,
non-polar fragrance means it will be compatible to the gel
that it is going into. A polar fragrance can bleed out of the
gel causing a safety concern when the candle is burned. If
making paraffin candles this terminology is not necessary.
This is a fracturing of the wax which will create a look on the
exterior of the candle that is “whited out,” snowflake
looking or “washed out.” This look has been made
famous by several “big name” candle companies.
Not all waxes are designed to mottle so be sure to chose a
wax designed for that application. If you are making mottled
candles be sure to check out our brand new product being offered