All About Wicks

Regardless of your level of experience in candle making, you still might ask, “Am I using the right wick?” Even veteran candle makers evaluate this question from time to time.

The “performance” of the candle will be greatly influenced by your ability to select the proper wick for each type of candle that you make. The wick will influence the burn time of the candle, scent throw and “sooting” or smoking during the candle’s life. As we have stated many times, there is not one perfect wick that will work for each and every application. The right wick is dependent on many factors including the wax type, scent added, color, burn time, type of candle and even the maintenance.

When choosing a wick, there are some important criteria to follow. You should strive to achieve

  • a consistent flame size
  • a moderate temperature of the container
  • minimal or no blooming (carbon deposits)
  • a well-formed wax pool with no dripping
  • minimal glow after the candle has been extinguished

The issue any candle maker has is where to start when choosing the proper wick. In today’s marketplace the possibilities are endless and can be overwhelming at times. One of the most popular wicks for container and votive candles has been the zinc core wick. The zinc core has always offered rigidity in the “hot pour” process. But the down side is that zinc is very prone to mushrooming and carbon deposits. The zinc core can also be confused with the lead core wicks due to the metal in the middle of the wick. NOTE: There is ban on lead core wick in the United States.

When selecting alternatives to the zinc core, some popular choices include the RRD wicks (Round wicks), HTP wicks, LX and CD. In summary these wicks feature the following:

RRD–is a round directional wick with a cotton core and tension threads. It has been designed for optimal burn in solid-colored, scented votives and containers.
HTP–Are otherwise known as high-tension paper wicks. These wicks have a paper core wound into the wick to offer rigidity. These wicks are specially designed for use in votives and containers.
CD–Also have a paper core wound into the wick and are very well suited for votives and containers.
LX–is a flat braided wick with stabilized threats to help the wick “curl” during the burning process. These wicks will work in votives, containers and pillars.

This Wick Types Chart is a great resource to determine the different characteristics of each wick type.

Each type of wick brings something different to the candle in terms of performance. It must also be noted there are many other wicks that perform very well. The wicks in the list above have been featured since they are requested most often. Other wicks to consider include the TL Series, PK and even hemp wicks. The flat braided wicks have always been popular for pillars and tapers. The standard 24 Ply and 27 Ply have always been popular in 2-3″ pillars.

Choosing the proper wick can be a daunting experience to even the most experienced candle makers. A Custom Wick Builder such as this one makes it easy to get the exact wick you need for any type of candle production.

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