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May 01, 2009

Center of Focus


Center of Focus

Hard to believe the “unofficial” start of summer is just days away.  Many people are probably finalizing summer vacation/staycations, picking summer camps or just looking forward to some warm weather.

As identified in past Enlightner Issues in order to have a successful candle business it is always important to stay on top of all aspects of business. Candle makers wear many hats, Manufacturer, Marketer, Designer, Purchasing Agent and everything between. Because of this sometimes the finer details do get pushed aside and which can cause problems later. One area that needs to get a lot of focus is choosing the right wick for your application. Several years ago we had an issue which received very good feedback and because it is such an important subject have decided to re-run the issue.

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 there first candle because of the wick. They may have commented how past candles tunneled, smoked, burn to hot and other flaws that can occur without the proper wick. And when they purchased candles that they had that type of experience they will not come back a second time.

Picking out a fragrance can be fun and exciting, choosing a unique piece of glassware can be rewarding, but selecting the proper wick can be time consuming and tedious task. 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 (M504).

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.

Hi! I'm Chandler!
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learn how to make candles.


What terminology is essential to know for a candle retailer?

BOGO - Buy One Get One Free

SKU - Stock Keeping Unit. A common term for a unique numeric identifier, used most commonly in online business to refer to a specific product in inventory or in a catalog.

Black Friday -

  1. A day commonly referenced in which retail stores have enough sales to put them "in the black"
  2. An accounting expression alluding to the practice of recording losses in red and profits in black. 

UPC - Universal Product Code this is the small bar code you see on all retail items. This help the retailer identify specific items. Every product has its own unique UPC number.

RFID - Radio Frequency Identification. If you have not heard already this will be the very hottest topic in the retail world in the near future. This technology will help manufacturers and retailers track products through the entire supply chain process, identify to the cash register the price and much more data than ever available. Note: When fully implemented check out will take less than 15 seconds.


  May 2009

Featured Project:
Chunk Candles

Like clothing fashions candle projects always come back at one point in time. One of the most popular all time candle project has to be the chunk candle. This unique candle is great because it can take on unique shapes and sizes and NO two candles will look the same.

Step 1
For best results a 140 Paraffin wax should be used for the chunks. Begin by melting your wax to make the actual chunks in any color and pour into a cookie or baking sheet. Hint: If you have extra wax use it for the chunks. These chunks can be scented or unscented. (For a uniquely scented candle try using different types of scents in these candles.) Using different scents will allow these candles to “throw” different smells during the burning cycle. As the wax begins to harden take a knife and cut the slightly gelled wax into different shapes, patterns or designs.

Step 2
When the chunks are completely hard remove them from the sheets and place in any type of pillar mold. Common mold sizes would include 3 x 6-1/2, 3 x 9-1/2 and 4 x 4-1/2. Once the chunks have been placed in the mold, take a pillar wax (scented or unscented) and pour over the chunks. When the candle is completely set up, remove the pillar from the mold.

Step 3
For variations in the basic chunk candle, try some of the following variations: 

1. Once the chunks are placed in the mold, pour your pillar wax at a higher temperature, which will cause the chunks to streak and create a unique look. 

2. Try using different types of molds such as octagons, squares and other unusual shapes.

3. Try making chunk candles in a jar. For best results make the chunks out of wax with a lower melt point wax.


What makes the chunk candle so unique is the endless possibilities that can be made with the same basic concept. Some candle makers are starting to use this same concept with palm waxes for truly unique candles.


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