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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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