As a candle maker, sometimes a candle wick needs to be replaced. You might replace a wick for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you want to test a new size wick in your candle, or a new style wick. A candle wick replacement is not entirely out of the ordinary.
Swapping wicks is a lot cheaper than pouring several different candles if you are trying to get your wick size right on a new container or wax.
How to replace a candle wick? Core the center of the candle and remove the wick with an apple corer. Insert new wick and wick tab into the hole and then place removed wax back into the center of the candle. Melt the wax with a hot air gun until all surface was is melted.
At this point, you can pin the wick back up with a clothespin or wick bar and wait for the wax to dry. The wick may stand straight on its own so that is optional, however, I prefer to not take any chances.
Let’s take an in-depth look at this process as well as some alternatives.
Replacing A Candle Wick (With Pictures)
Remove the center of the candle with an apple corer.
If you are using a hard wax you may need to twist the corer or pre-heat it. However, on my soy candle, I just had to simply press it down.
Clean out the hole for the new wick.
Clean out the center of the candle the best you can. Ideally it will be clean enough for the new wick and wick sticker to stick securely to the bottom of the container.
Insert the new wick in to the hole.
Press the new wick down in to the center of the candle firmly until the wick sticker appears to be sticking to the bottom of the container.
Fill the hole back in with wax.
I stacked the wax scraps up around the hole and the new wick and started melting it with my heat gun. As the hole filled in I would add more of the previously removed wax until I had it all back in the hole.
Pinup the new wick.
Honestly, this part might not be necessary, however, I did it anyway because I do not want to take any chances. The last thing I want to see after replacing a wick is the new one being off-center.
Let the candle dry and remove clothespin.
As you can see the candle has turned out pretty well. It has hard to imagine this candle was the mess you saw just a few pictures ago.
Trim the wick to your desired length.
This is the candle about 30 minutes after I started to let the wax dry. I will put the lid back on the candle and allow it to continue curing for a minimum of three days before doing a test burn.
This method involves pulling the wick directly out of the candle. Depending on the size of the wick and the type of wax you are using this can take a little strength.
- Grab the wick as far down as you can with a pair of needle-nose pliers.
- Slowly start pulling the wick out while gently working it side to side.
- Pull the wick completely out of the candle, separating it from the wick tab that is still in the bottom of the candle.
- Slide the new wick down into the hole left by the previous wick.
- Trim the new wick and you are finished.
When you do this method you risk the wick breaking in half which would require you to do the above method anyway. I do not do this method and I do not suggest doing it, however, it might be easier and faster than the method listed above if nothing goes wrong.
The reason I do not do this method is because the wick is not attached to the bottom of the container. If you are just testing different types of wicks in a new candle formula it might be okay.
However, this is not a candle I would be comfortable with selling, giving to any of my friends or family or even keeping to use myself.
I find it only acceptable for test purposes.
Reasons To Replace A Candle Wick
As candle makers, we need to be able to adapt. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons we might be doing a candle wick replacement.
Candle Flame Self Extinguishes
The wick may be too small for the container. If the wick is small, the flame will be small. It will not be able to pull and burn enough wax for an efficient burn. This will lead to the flame extinguishing itself.
This can be caused by too many additives and dyes that are clogging up the wick. This is a good reason to replace the wick with one that is slightly larger.
Candle Flame Is Too Tall
A candle flame that is too tall or excessive in height is a sign that the candle wick is too large for the candle or that the wick needs to be trimmed. If the wick is properly trimmed then you may need to replace the wick with a smaller one.
Excessive Mushrooming Of the Wick
If your wick is mushrooming then it may be a sign that the wick is too large and needs to be replaced with a smaller one. However, if you are using a zinc wick you might need to try a different type.
Candle Produces Too Much Black Smoke (Soot)
A candle that produces excessive smoke or soot can be a sign that your wick is too large or that you have used too many additives in your wax. If you are certain that you have not used too many additives then replacing the candle wick with a different type or a smaller one is probably the right solution.
Candle Not Burning Evenly
If you find that your candle is not burning evenly. Perhaps burning closer to one side than the other then your wick may be slightly off-center.
That is also a good reason to replace the candle wick or you might risk damaging or breaking the candle container with the flame too close to one side.
Candle Burning Too Rapidly
If the candle appears to be burning too rapidly then the wax is too soft for the wick that is being used. You can start using a harder wax, perhaps mix an additive with your wax to harden it or blend it with paraffin or you can replace the wick with a smaller one.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use a variety of objects to replace a candle wick. Items including, cotton, paper, newspaper, twine and toothpicks. However, it is ideal that you prime whatever you are using by soaking it in wax first.
If you are interested in making your own wicks, visit our article titled How To Make A Candle Wick.
In conclusion, things do not always go according to plan when making candles. I think that may be an understatement. It seems like even when you get everything perfect something still goes wrong. Whether it’s a change in wax, fragrance or container supply, or something else.
This is why it is important to always test our wax, fragrance oil combinations when we get a new shipment of supplies in because something might be different from the manufacturer.
The cheapest way to test different types of wicks is to replace the candle wicks in a couple of candles rather than pouring every possible wick, fragrance oil, and wax combination.
In the long run, doing some candle wick replacements will save you money and reduce your waste. If you are replacing the wick because you put it on off-center or it’s not straight, take a look at my article titled How To Keep Candle Wicks Straight.
If you want to learn more about candle wicks and the potential problems you could experience using the wrong size wick check out this troubleshooting article by TheFlamingCandle.