August 01, 2007

Center of Focus

Center of Focus

Consumers purchase candles for many different reasons, they may like the particular fragrance, color, shape/design, but, I am not sure anyone has ever identified that they purchased a candle because of the wick. However, without the proper wick in the candle, the customer probably will not come back a second time.

Picking out a fragrance can be fun and exciting, the same can be true about color, but selecting the proper wick can be time consuming and tedious. There is not a perfect science to selecting the proper wick, and in fact, there is not a right or wrong wick if the end result is a safe burning candle that achieves the scent throw you desire. This article will introduce the various choices available for the different types of candles to be made.

It seems that all informative articles have to begin with some type of definition, so we figured we better follow that protocol. In that spirit, Webster’s defines “wick” in the following manner:

"A bundle of fibers or a loosely twisted, braided, or woven cord, tape, or tube usually of soft spun cotton threads that by capillary attraction draws up to be burned a steady supply of the oil in lamps or the melted tallow or wax in candles."

When you apply this definition to the candle world, it actually becomes much more than that. There are many different types of wicks including braided (both square and flat), cored (paper, cotton , zinc), round and other specialty types. It is not surprising that selecting the proper wick for a beginner can be overwhelming.

Wicks for Containers
Many people like to make containers, so we will focus on common series of wicks that candle makers use in their containers.

Cored Wicks (Zinc, Cotton , Paper) – Cored wicks may be the most common wicks used in containers because the core offers rigidity to the wick during the manufacturing process and burning cycle. These wicks have an all-natural exterior with a core of either paper, cotton or zinc. This wick size is generally available for some of the smallest containers up to a larger diameter probably up to 4”.

RRD Series – A round directional wick with a cotton core and tension threads. It has been designed to help improve the burn of scented candles. This series works very well in all paraffin waxes and natural waxes.

HTP Series – Designed to provide the benefits of a self-trimming posture with the rigidity found in cored wicks. These wicks have a specialty yarn fiber that is incorporated into the construction of the braid. The HTP series also work very well in all natural wax candles.

ECO Series – A specialty flat wick braided with interwoven paper threads. This braiding technique gives the wick an increased stability level. The ECO are good to use with paraffin wax and natural wax candles.

Wicks for Votives
In a votive, any of the above series will work well in addition to some of the additional wick series.

LX – A flat braided wick that also has stabilizing threads. This wick offers solid wick construction from pure ring-spun cotton yarn to advanced treatment that is designed to reduce afterglow.

TL – A specialty wick that has the proper treatment to be used with natural waxes. In addition to being an excellent choice for votives, they work very well with tea lights.

Wicks for Pillars
The most common wicks used in pillars are the flat and square braided wicks. When sized properly, the flat and/or square braided wicks should be able to produce a flame that can consume the wax, without allowing it to drip.

Other Wick Information
Once you find a series of wicks that you like, it is also important to test with your different color and scent combinations. The scent load and color will definitely have an impact on the wick size. A wick that might work in a white/hyacinth candle may not work the same in your burgundy/cinnamon candle.

Another important aspect in terms of the performance of the wick is that the wick must be centered at all times. Wicks that are not centered may cause the wick to lean to one side with the potential to come in contact with the glassware. For best results in containers secure the bottom the wick with glue dots (GD-1) and secure the wicks on top of the container using with the Bow Tie Wick Bar (M-503) or Jar Cap (M-504).

With pillars the pins are definitely the best way to ensure that the wick is centered the entire length of the candle. In votives, the M-63-P is definitely worth using.

Conclusion
One final aspect of how the wick will perform is the responsibility of the candle user. It is important that the candle user trims the wick properly during the entire burning cycle. Your instructions should make this clear.

The staff at Candlewic can help you narrow down the selections of wicks that may work, but they will have to be tested in your specific application.

 

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CHANDLER'S CORNER

Throughout the year, we have discussed how candle making has its own "language" and this really applies when discussing wicks. I will review some of the terms commonly used when discussing wicks.

Mushrooming – This is the unsightly ball of blackness that appears on top of the wick during the burning process. This will cause the wick to smoke excessively and is caused by the wick not being fully combusted.

NST2 – Refers to a treatment that is applied when the wick is made that allows it to be used in natural waxes.

Directional – Certain wicks such as the RRD must be used in the proper direction as they come off the roll.

Afterglow – After the wick is extinguished, it may have a hot spot that burns a little bit longer. This should be avoided.

Capillary Action – The process of the molten wax drawn to the wick.

Primed – The process of applying a wax coating to the wick before putting it in the candle.



August 2007

PROJECT:
Making Streak Candles

One of the easiest novelty candles to make is the streaking candle. What makes this project so easy is that you do not have to change anything you are doing when pouring your candles.

To start this project, first select any pillar type mold. Melt your wax 10-15° F higher than your usual pouring temperature. Add your scent as usual but do not add color.

Before pouring your wax into the mold take any color block or pigment dye and shave it into smaller pieces, you can do as many colors as desired.

Once you have shavings of several colors, pour your wax into the mold.
As soon as you are finished pouring, take pieces of your shavings and place a needle through the shavings.

Hold the needle with the shavings against the mold. The dye will begin streaking down the sides causing a "tie dyed" effect. Repeat this using the same or different color, being careful not to over color.
Any mold can be used for this project.

Each candle made will look different than any other one and allows you to do an infinite amount of themed candles such as red, white and blue or any other color.


 

DAYS UNTIL...

Thanksgiving - 99

Christmas - 132

Hanukkah - 111

End of the Year - 138

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