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April 01, 2006

How to Pick Your Wick


How to Pick Your Wick.

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 type.

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.

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 right wick.

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 applications.

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.


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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.

Candle Terms

A 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 on.

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 below.



April 2006


This month’s project features a useful item to add to your operation regardless of your size. Tea lights are a great way to use up extra wax, create little “calling cards”, or offer prospective customers a chance to sample your scents before purchasing a larger candle.

Below you will find the instructions for using our tea light mold that ensures perfectly straight wicks, but alternative techniques follow.



Step 1
Lay the mold release over the entire mold.

Step 2
Prepare wax with color and fragrance to suit. Pour wax into the mold so that all cavities are filled. There is a lip that holds overflow wax.

Step 3
Remove pins and pop the tea lights out of the mold. Clean any overly rough edges with your fingers.

Step 4
Insert a pre-assembled wick assembly into the hole in the candle and place into a tea light cup. You will notice that tea light cups have a small circular indentation on the bottom. This indentation is 15mm and is designed to match our 15x3mm wick tabs.

Plastic tealight cups.

Alternative Methods
When pouring batches of wax, keep a few tea light cups on hand to pour excess wax directly into the cups. This is also the method used for pouring tea lights when using container wax. If you currently use a M-63-P votive pin for your votives, it will fit into the tea light cups as well. Simply place the pin in the tea light cup and pour a votive or pillar wax into the pin/cup set up. After it cools remove the wax/pin from the cup, flip the candle over and put back into the tea light cup. This will result in a beautiful recessed top.



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Buy 1 Get 1 FREE in April at our crafter's site: Soap Expressions/ Country Lane Candle Supply. Just get your promo code here!

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