Candle Making is both an art and a science and choosing the correct wick for your candle is probably the most important (and often most difficult) aspect of the whole process.We recommend that you source as many different wick types and sizes as you can find and learn how each performs in your chosen wax. This takes time and effort (and a little money), but should be the first step you take in learning candle making. Skipping this step and trying to over-simplify the craft, will result in a great deal of frustration later. You are not going to make perfect candles without spending some time practicing and making mistakes. Learn how the different wicks work with different oils and then (and only then) start making candles for selling or gifts.
The wick can be considered as the 'engine' of your candle and the type and size of wick required will depend on the fuel used. In this system, the fuel is the 'stuff' in the jar; usually a mixture of wax and perfume, but can also include colour dye.
Whilst dye is pretty and perfume is pleasant, they are effectively impurities; i.e. they are not fuels. Paraffin wax and to a lesser extent hydrogenated vegetable oils (soy, rapeseed etc) are good fuels. If we made candles with no perfume or dye - just wax - we could use the same wicks in every candle of a particular size and they would burn nicely. Candle making would be easy!
However, life is much less simple when we add fragrances and dyes (impurities). When we add perfume, we change the fuel mixture. The resultant 'impure fuel' will have different characteristics to the raw wax. It may be more viscous, less viscous, burn hotter, burn cooler or may not burn at all.
A wick works using capillary action (it sucks fuel up to the flame). The size and type of wick required depends on what you are trying to draw up the wick. This brings us onto an important point:
"Every blend of wax and oil should be burn tested to ascertain the correct wick type and size"
This means that every time you change something, you will need to burn-test the candle to identify the correct (or best) wick. This applies to different fragrances as well as different concentrations of the same fragrance. I.e. the following candles may all require different wicks:
1. 75mm tin, paraffin wax, 8% Lime fragrance
2. 75mm tin, paraffin wax, 10% Lime fragrance
3. 75mm tin, paraffin wax, 8% Coconut fragrance
You may get lucky and a single wick will work in all three, but this is not usually the case.
Top Tip: Try to stick to a single wax and once you find a wick that works (or one that does not) for a particular fragrance and container - write it down somewhere!
Do not despair! We do offer some recommendations on where to start with wicking. Once you have chosen a wax, take a look at the 'product description' for the chosen wax and you will see a table of recommended wicks for various diameters of container. This is usually a good start point and will usually produce a good burn, but you may need to adjust size and/or type for some perfumes.
In addition, Wedo provide an excellent online Wick Configurator. This online tool provides wick recommendations based on your criteria (wax type and jar size). It can be found here.
We stock a wide range of Wedo wicks. Whilst the configurator does not show CL Series wicks, these can be interchanged with Stabilo wicks of a similar size.
A Proven Process...
There is a proven process that is used by many professional manufacturers, which involves two separate tests...
1. The Slab Test - This is a basic test to determine which wick 'series' are likely to work best in a given blend (wax & perfume).
2. The Container Test - Based on the results of the Slab Test, container tests are conducted until a suitable wick is selected which burns effectively and safely.
There are separate articles outlining how these tests are conducted.