Wicks

Wicks are basically pieces of string that have been treated for burning and then braided together. There are several different types of wicks that can be used for candle making based on what type of candle you'll be making. Finding just the right wick for your candle, can be tricky but with the information below and a little experimentation, you'll get it right in no time.

Types of Wicks

  • Flat Braid Cotton - Used most often for tapers and pillars. When burning, the tip will bend slightly and produce an even burn. Flat-braid wicks are often described by the number of strings or plies used to create it. The greater the number of plies, the larger the candle it should be used for.
  • Square Braid Cotton - Used most often for beeswax candles and pillars. This is also the wick used for Beeswax candles. The tip of this will also bend slightly when burning. Unlike flat braid wicks, the numbering system for these wicks isn't always based on the number of plies; it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
  • Cored Wicks - Used most often for votives, tealights, and container candles. These wicks are cored with wire or paper and stand straight up. For this reason they are used mainly for container candles which need a stiff wick. These wicks are more apt to smoke slightly when burned.

Wick Tabs

Wick tabs are silver bases that hold your wicks. The base comes in various sizes with two of the most common being 15mm and 20mmm. Wick tabs also have a stem in the middle which holds your wick called the collar. This also comes in various sizes. The purpose of a wick tab is to prevent the candle from burning all the way to the bottom of the container. This is important so that your container doesn't break or melt.

How to Choose the Perfect Wick

Besides what type of wick to choose, you also need to figure out what size of wick to use. Ultimately this will require lots and lots of testing but there are a few general guidelines that you can follow when choosing a wick size.

  • Some waxes burn hotter than others such as gel wax and beeswax. These waxes require a larger wick.
  • The diameter of your candle also affects your wick size. The larger the diameter, the larger wick you'll need.
  • If you use additives in your wax to make it harder, you'll need to use a larger wick.

Priming Wicks

Wicks must be primed before they are used in a candle. Often times, wicks come pre-primed but if not, you will need to add one simple step to your candle making. To prime a wick, you simply need to dip your wick into your melted wax for approximately 60 seconds. Next straighten the wick with your fingers and hang it up for a few minutes. This step will improve burning and help prevent bubbles in your candle that may release from the wick.

What do the numbers of a wick mean? (ex:51-32-18C)

The first number describes the wick size. The larger this number, the larger the wick.

The second number described the density of the wick. The higher this number, the tighter the braid of the wick. The tighter the braid, the lower the wax consumption.

The third number is the temperature of the wax that coats the wick.

The letter at the end of the wick number tells what the wick core is made out of. The following describes the usual letters:

Z - Zinc Core
P - Paper Core
C- Cotton Core
H - Hemp


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