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February 01, 2011

Advice on Selecting a Candle Wick


Advice on Selecting
a Candle Wick

We are not sure if it was by accident...or truly the genius of our founder William Binder, II...that our company name bears Candlewic which accurately reflects the most important component to any candle.

Your candle may be the most highly fragranced, best looking container or unique packaging on the market but if it does not burn properly, then there is a good chance your customer will not come back a second time. While it may not be the most exciting part of your product development it is definitely not something you can overlook or cheat on the process.

In most instances picking out your wax can be easy, selecting fragrances can be fun, selecting the color can be strategic but when it comes to selecting the proper wick it can be overwhelming and tedious.

There are charts that exist such as the one below which can help you identify which wicks to start your testing but even with these guides the only way to ensure you candle can burn optimally is by testing.

We will tell you upfront that this article is not going to instill in you a magical formula for selecting the proper wick for your candle. But it will give you the guidelines and assistance on how to select the proper wick. With so many wicks to chose from it is important to narrow down which series of wicks that may work best in your specific application.

Sometimes the type of wax you are using will narrow down the wick selection process. For example when making natural wax candles, the RRD series and LX will be the best choice. If making containers and you don’t want to use wick centering device, zinc might be your best choice.  

Each series of wicks offers different properties to the candle.   The one good thing with wicks is there really is not a right or wrong wick as long as the candle burns safely and offers the candle optimum fragrance throw.

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
Round directional wicks with a cotton core and tension threads were 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 gives the wick an increased stability level. The ECO are good to use with paraffin wax and natural wax candles.

The Science of the Candle Wick
The candle’s wick is the pipeline that feeds the melted wax vapor to the flame by capillary action. Initially the heat of the flame melts the wax at the top of the candle, once the melt pool is formed the molten wax is then drawn to the flame by the capillary action of the wick. Once the wax reaches the wick a chemical reaction occurs between the vaporized hydrocarbons and the oxygen in the air.

When you take a look at the candle’s flame you will notice that the flame is nearly invisible near the wick and a yellow luminous zone surrounds it. It is near the wick that the wax vapors are breaking down releasing hydrogen and as a result, long unsaturated carbon chains are formed. These carbon chains are actually tiny particles of soot. It is these tiny soot particles that burn and release the yellow light of the candles’ flames. If there is enough oxygen and not too much wax vapor being created at the wick, the soot particles are completely burned up in the flame and the candle releases only heat, light, water and carbon dioxide. If there isn’t enough oxygen and too much vapor the flame is going to release the soot and not fully combust causing the wick to bloom (mushroom).

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


Do I have to use the
votive pin when making
votives and how do I use
this pin?

The votive pin is not necessary but definitely will help make a better votive. The pin is placed inside the cup, pour the wax as you normally do and top off. When the candle is hard, remove the candle and pin.Slide the pin out and slide your pre-wick assembly into the hole which has been formed.

The pins are also available for 2", 3" and 4" round pillars molds.  With the pillars pins the process is slightly different, with this item you slide the pins from the outside of the mold and the base will nest in the concave of the mold. 


Fast Facts

Some interesting correlations in a recent Fitbie article relating to other effects certain fragrances can have.

"Researchers at Osaka University in Japan found that exposing rats to the scent of grapefruit oil for 15-minute intervals, three times a week helped reduce not only their appetite, but their weight"

In a study at the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, overweight people smelled banana, green apple, and peppermint when they felt a craving—and lost more weight than the nonsniffers.

Studies have shown that peppermint fragrance improves your workout, increases alertness, reduces perceived fatigue, and enhances your mood.



February 2011

Featured Project:
Add That
Finishing Touch

Making pillars these days can be fun due to the many different looks and finishes that are available with waxes. Whether it is a mottled candle with the 4045 H or an all-natural pillar using palm wax you can increase the perceived value of your pillar candle with this project.

When wicking your candle leave about 1-1/2 to 2 inches of wick at the bottom of the mold.

(Helpful Hint: Remember this is the top of the candle.)

Seal the bottom as you normally would. Pour your pillar and when finished take it out of the mold.

Now take the extra length of wick and consider some of the following:

  • Slide beads onto the wick in various colors, maybe even the color of your candle.

  • Place your instructions on a small sheet and have "dangle" them on the end. It is one way to make sure they read the instructions.

  • Rather than instructions, try adding a brief history about your company...maybe a catchy little anecdote about candles...there are even little figurines you may want to secure on the end.

This extra little touch does not really cost anything extra but will help people remember your candles. The important note is to make sure the end user cuts these items off before lighting.



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