Candle Wick Guide – how to choose the correct candle wick?

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Candle wick guide – When you want to make a candle , if there is one important criterion to take into account before starting, it is the choice of the wick. Indeed, the wick is the essential element for the proper functioning of a candle and is not limited to a simple piece of string that we light …

We will therefore try to understand why it is necessary to choose carefully its candle wick before moving on to the manufacturing stage.

candle wick guide

Candle wick guide – The role of the wick

In previous candle care tips we have seen how to take care of a candle.

The wick of the candle could roughly be compared to a kind of pipe for supplying the flame with combustible material.

As soon as the wick is lit, the flame melts the wax located in its nearest periphery, then by capillary action, (i.e. due to the very small space between each fiber of the wick), the wax Liquid fondue is pumped through the wick.

On arriving as close as possible to the flame and under the effect of heat, the wax then turns into gas, releasing hydrogen. By mixing with the oxygen of the ambient air: the wax ignites.

As the wax takes on its gaseous form, tiny particles of soot form and burn, blackening the wick and releasing a yellow light very clearly visible in the heart of the flame.

Candle wick guide therefore plays a double role: that of conveying the wax towards the flame and that of a support for combustion.

Combustion is maintained by adding fuel (wax) and oxidizer (in the ambient air).

  • If the contribution of these elements is balanced, the combustion process will be stable, the soot produced will be almost completely burned.
  • If the wax supply is insufficient (in the case of a wick that is too small), the combustion will be regular but insufficient and the quantity of molten wax that is too large will manage to drown the flame until the candle is completely extinguished.
  • If the addition of wax is too important (in the case of a too large wick), combustion will be:
    – either regular with a high flame in the form of a triangle and a release of fumes with a more or less important production of soot (creation of a mushroom at the end of the wick).
    – or irregular resulting in the very characteristic phenomenon of an unstable or flickering flame.
    The flame, by consuming all the wax at its disposal faster than the wick can provide it, will decrease in intensity, then resume greater combustion with the arrival of new wax.This phenomenon can also be maintained or accentuated by temperature variations due to differences in flame intensity.

Also read : How to use toothpick as a candle wick

Candle wick guide – The different types of wicks

how to choose the correct candle wick

There are two main families of wicks: braided (or woven) wicks and wrapped wicks

Braided locks

Braided locks are the most common. They are made up of a multitude of threads braided together, more or less thick and more or less stretched during weaving.
There are wicks braided in cotton threads, in linen thread or in hemp.

This type of wick is available in 3 distinct braids:Flat braidingFlat braiding wicks (or flat wicks) are the most widely used. They are suitable for most paraffin wax candles, paraffin / stearin mixture and refined waxes which have a low melting point.

Very economical, flat wicks are recommended for communities and for making large series of candles.
Flat wicks should not be confused with kerosene lamp wicks. Round braided wicks (or round wicks) are recommended for beeswax candles, and candles containing more than 60% stearin. They are also recommended for certain waxes which have a high melting point, for waxes which lack purity and for certain vegetable waxes.Square braiding wicks (or square wicks) are intended for making thick tapers or outdoor candles. Not widely used, square bits are mainly used with large diameters (<8 mm).

Waxed wicks – Candle wick guide

The waxed wicks are wrapped in wax, that is to say immersed in a bath of liquid wax.
This “treatment” allows faster priming and almost immediate ignition.
The core of waxed wicks is usually made of paper or a cotton braid.
Waxed wicks are mainly used for making small paraffin wax candles and for gel candles.
Some waxed wicks are made around a zinc wire which offers better rigidity and excellent stability when waxing.

We will now try to see more clearly as to the choice of the most suitable bit according to the following 3 main criteria of Candle wick guide:

– The composition of the candle
– The size of the candle
– Any additives

Also read DIY wick in Home

What wax (s) make up my candle? how to choose the correct candle wick?

This is the determining element in the choice of the wick: what is the composition of the candle, what is it made of and in what proportions?

In theory, a candle is made from one main element plus an additive. More rarely a candle will be able to include several additives but we will stay on a simple diagram.
This main element should therefore be taken into account when choosing your wick.

As we have seen, the flat wick is reserved for non-vegetable waxes (paraffin, paraffin / stearin mixture, waxes, microcrystalline waxes, cracking waxes) and the round wick for beeswax, vegetable waxes and candles in stearin.

For practical reasons it is sometimes necessary to add certain “ingredients” to a vegetable wax to modify its density or color. However, even if the proportion of this additive is equal to 50%, it is advisable not to change the type of wick.

For example, a paraffin wax candle with the addition of 50% vegetable stearin will prefer a flat wick to a round wick.

What is the size of my candle?

By size, we mean the average diameter of the candle. If one considers the manufacture of a conical candle , the reference measurement will be defined by the average diameter of the candle, taken for example at mid-height.
For more complex shapes, a caliper or a flexible meter is frequently used to measure the candle (or its mold) in its average diameter.

Depending on the average diameter of a candle, here are the recommended average values:

Paraffin / stearin candles, microcrystalline waxes, crackle waxes:

Candle diameterRecommended bitBit size
<20 mmFlat bitF1
Up to 40 mmFlat bitF2
Up to 60 mmFlat bitF3
Up to 80 mmFlat bitF4
Up to 100 mmFlat bitF5

Stearin, beeswax or vegetable candles (rapeseed, soya, palm, etc.):

Candle diameterRecommended bitBit size
<15 mmRound wickR0
Up to 25 mmRound wickR1
Up to 45 mmRound wickR2
Up to 60 mmRound wickR3
Up to 90 mmRound wickR4

Gel candles, votive candles, tealight:

Candle diameterRecommended bitBit size
Up to 50 mmWaxed wick (cotton or paper), reinforced or not: 1 to 3 mm

Our advices :

  • For candles with very large diameters, we recommend the use of several wicks
  • Reserve large diameter candles for outdoor use (wicks greater than R3 or F4)
  • Respect the direction of the fibers if you use a round wick : the strand from the coil unwinds towards the top of the candle

Will I add coloring or perfume?

Usually we advise to increase the diameter of the wick by one size if we want to add coloring or perfume in its candle, for a fairly simple reason; this addition will “degrade” the combustion of the wax.
By increasing the wick by one size, more wax will be added to the flame, thus restoring the loss of intensity.

Other types of wax or candles

It is difficult to compile an exhaustive list of all the waxes on the market, and you may have to experiment with the best combinations yourself for the best results.
We advise you to carefully note each wax / wick combination for future reference.

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