Tips, DIY & Recipes

How to Determine the Correct Candle Wick

If you are new to candle making, choosing the right wick for your candle could be a daunting task. First and foremost you have to know the basic concept behind choosing the correct wick for your candle.

In a properly wicked container candle, there are a few KEY FACTORS :

  1. The flame is usually approximately 1” tall, NO excessive flickering.
  2. Wax melts uniformly across the top of the container towards all edges.
  3. The melt pool is ¼ to ¾” deep
  4. The wax burns cleanly without excessive smoke or soot
  5. After the candle completely burns up, the wax is completely consumed, leaving the sides of the container clean without soot or residue.

So what if the wick doesn’t suit your candle? Let’s find out!

Wick TOO SMALL: Wax does not melt uniformly from edge to edge but instead burn down the middle forming a “tunnel”. Wick may extinguish itself before all the wax is fully burned.

Wick TOO LARGE: Flame too tall, flickers excessively. Melt pool is more than ½ inch. Excess carbon production, carbon balls fallen off from wick to melt pool forming black “mushrooms”. If left to burn completely, soot builds up on the inside of the container. The container may become very hot and could damage the surface underneath or even crack!

Steps to determine the correct wick for your candle :

1. Understand the wick sizes :

You can refer to www.candlescience.com to determine wick sizes. According to this reliable source, within the same series, the larger the number, the larger the wick. For example, CSN 16 is bigger than CSN 12. However, this concept cannot be used if the wicks are from different series. For example, LX 22 may or may not be bigger than CSN 22.

2. Determine the size of your container :

The size of your candle container determines the volume of the wax. Hence a higher volume of wax will require a larger wick to ensure uniform wax melt.

3. Determine the type of wax for your candle :

The melting point for different wax can be different. For a wax with a higher melting point, a larger or different material of wick may be required for more effective combustion. An easy way to determine this is by using a simple guide that is readily available on the internet. For example: ZINC CORE wick types are compatible with paraffin and candle gel whereas PAPER CORE wick types are compatible with paraffin and soy wax.

4. Conduct a burn test

Prepare test candles by making 2-3 candles using the same size containers, wax and fragrance/dye combination. Put a different size wick of the same series in each candle, label jars with wick size. Wait at least 24 hours then start the burn test. You can determine the size of wick needed with better accuracy after observing the burn test.

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