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October 19, 2017

Proper Wick Placement and World's Largest Crayon Quest

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October 2017
Getting Optimal Candle Performance: Wick Placement
Fall definitely has arrived, and many people have begun spending more time inside, which generally leads to more candles burning. As many candle makers have learned the hard way, wick sizing may be the most challenging part of candle making. This is true even as we try to match all of our wax, color and fragrance combinations to get the best possible burning candle. In this article, we’re not trying to make the task any more daunting, but, instead, we’re trying to stress the importance of the wick in the candle.

A candle manufacturer may have the best fragrances, most creative packaging, most unique jars or offer other selling features the consumer likes, but, if the candles do not burn properly, the company probably will not get returning business. One way to help drive repeat customers is to make sure that your candles perform optimally. Most candle makers focus on giving their candles the best fragrance throw and ensuring that the colors are right. But one might argue that the wick is the most important factor in a candle performing optimally.

The subject is so important that one of our wick vendors, WEDO, shared an important article on this topic and granted us permission to share it with our readers. We did offer aspects of this information in the past, but, with all the candles being made this fall, we wanted to focus on this small but extremely important aspect of the candle making process.

Even if you’re sure that you’ve chosen the correct wick with the right chemical treatment for the candle material and container in question, you sometimes still may find that the results of burning your candle are poor and inconsistent – some wicks fall over; some wicks form carbon deposits at their tips, etc. All this can happen with any given candle, even though you’re using candle material from the same batch and the same type of wick in each container!

Very often, poor burn results are due to wicks having been inserted into the container incorrectly. It’s very important that the wick is centered and completely vertical in the container. A wick will always have a natural tendency to curve in a certain direction. If the wick is vertical, it can assume the correct wick stance [Fig. A]. If the wick is not vertical, then any number of uncontrolled scenarios can happen [Figs. B, C, D, and E].
This is the perfect container candle. The wick is centered and was put under just enough tension when the candle was poured (ideally by fixing it in place at the top of the container), to ensure that it is completely straight and vertical. The wick can assume the correct stance, and a perfect burn is the result.
Here, the wick may well have been fixed at the top of the container to ensure that it was straight, but it was not centered. However, just by looking at the top of the container, it appeared to be. Under the surface of the candle material, the wick is diagonal in the container. The wick is bending in the direction of its natural curve, but the diagonal stance is pushing it over too far. Often the burn in such a candle is lopsided.
As with container B, the wick may well have been fixed at the top of the container to ensure that it was straight, but it was not centered. Again, just by looking at the top of the container, it appeared to be. Under the surface of the candle material, the wick is diagonal in the container. This time, the wick is bending against the direction of its natural curve. The wick cannot curve properly and stands too straight. Often, carbon deposits form at the tip of wicks in such candles.
Here, the wick has been centered – but not fixed at the top of the container to allow the wick to stand vertically. Even when using pre-waxed assemblies, it is recommended that you fix the wick in such a manner – or that you at least pull the wick manually into a vertical position before the candle material congeals. Again, the wick is being pushed too far in the direction of the natural curve.
  Sometimes the wick tip dips back into the candle material, causing a very large flame. Often, the burn in such a candle is lopsided. Sometimes inserting the pre-waxed assembly with a tube can help solve this problem. (See diagrams below.)
As with container D, the wick has been centered – but not fixed at the top of the container to allow the wick to stand vertically. The wick is being pushed too far against the direction of the natural curve. The wick cannot curve properly and stands too straight. Often, carbon deposits form at the tip of wicks in such candles.
 
For pre-waxed assemblies, ensure that a good quality wick wax is used. Furthermore, it is important to use good quality sustainers that have a flat and even base and are at least 15 mm in diameter to make sure that the wick stance is vertical and stable.
Do not allow the wick to protrude from the bottom of the sustainer; otherwise, the wick will not be able to stand straight.
The hammer setting, which punches the sustainer barrel to clasp the wick, must be adjusted correctly. If set too hard, the wax layer will be completely broken and the wick crushed – the wick will then not be able to stand vertically. Similarly, if the setting is too loose, allowing only the wax to be held by the barrel, the wick may become loose when the wax is poured into the container. It may even come out of the sustainer if the wicks are centered manually just before the candle material congeals.
   
Always focus on keeping wicks as "centered" as possible
FAST FACT
As many of our avid readers know, we have been in business for more than 47 years and have had the opportunity to work on some fun and unique projects. Earlier this year, we had a customer with a quest to make the world’s largest crayon. We are truly hoping he achieves this goal. Below is summary of the status:
We built a 17-foot long, 18-inch diameter crayon using Candlewic’s paraffin, micro and dye. It’s beautiful! We presented the crayon on August 27 to a crowd of about 1,000 people, but we weren’t able to get a surveyor to weigh it until just a few days ago. Guinness judges the record for the largest crayon based on weight. We found out that our crayon weighs 1,502 pounds. I will be submitting all the documentation for our crayon to Guinness next week, so, hopefully, we will have the record soon. Who knows, maybe we will be coming back to you for another ton of paraffin 140! We’ll let you know how it turns out.
CHANDLER'S CORNER
What are some devices I can use to help keep the wick centered? 
Hi. I'm Chandler.One of the easiest to use would be a votive pin. I hope this article will underscore the need to use a votive pin to make a better votive candle. Place the pin inside the cup, pour the wax as you normally do and top off your candle. When the candle is hard, remove the candle and pin. Slide the pin out, and slide your pre-wick assembly into the hole that has been formed. The pin will ensure the wick is centered in the votive cup. This should improve the performance of the candle if the wick is sized properly.

For containers, there is not a better device than a bow-tie clip. This multi-function part allows wicks to be centered in most standard containers. The layered steps allow the part to be evenly spaced in the jar, and the wick hole provides a secured notch to slide the wick into.

Glue dots also can help secure wicks at the bottom of containers to ensure the wicks do not slide around.
Votive Pin
Bow Tie Wick Bar
Glue Dots
Candlewic Pinterest