As candle makers, it is our goal to create the best candles that we can. We want to keep our wicks straight not just because it looks better, but because it can be a hazard if they are not. A wick that leans too close to one side can cause the candle to tunnel, it can risk damaging the container and it can create a burn risk for our customers. How to keep the wick straight when making candles?
Keep the wick straight from base to tip by securing it to the bottom with a wick tab and securing the top of it with a clothespin or wick bar. A straight wick will ensure proper function and candle safety. In addition, straight wicks are aesthetically pleasing, an off-center wick will concern customers.
You have some leeway in keeping the wick centered and straight. The wick generally has to be pretty far off center or slanted in one direction to risk causing significant damage. However, it can ruin the candles aesthetic.
Keeping Candle Wicks Straight (With Pictures)
Get some wick tabs, wick bars, or clothespins.
I am preparing to make some test candles and have gathered my materials. I have both wick bars and clothespins but I prefer to use clothespins when making candles.
Attach the wick tabs to the wicks.
The wick tabs are basically like a two sided sticker made of foam. It will stick to the wick, and then it has a cover you peel off so that the other side can stick to something.
Insert the wicks into the container.
As you can see they do not have to be perfect, they give you a little circle to put the tab inside when you use tins. These are 4 oz tins that I am using to test out some new fragrance oils.
Attach clothespins to the top of the wicks.
I go through and clip clothespins to the top of my wicks. If you can tell, I do not use the little hole on the clothespin. I have my wick just beside it. This gives you a better hold on smaller wicks.
Tighten down the clothespins on the wicks.
Once all my clothespins are in place I tighten them down. I press the clothespin down against the rim of the container and pull up on the wick. I pull it tight and then let the clothespin clamp it in place.
You want to pull hard enough that the wick is perfectly straight, but not so hard you pull the wick out. The good news is that these wick tabs are pretty tough and hold strong.
A lot of people like to run their wicks through a cotter pin and twist it to tighten it up. I have not yet tried this method but it seems like it would work great. You can buy them in all different lengths and sizes to meet your needs.
I purchased a bag of wick bars when I first started but I rarely use them. However, they are popular and a lot of people like them. I think one benefit for wick bars over clothespins would be when it comes to pouring your candles.
I have to pour carefully to avoid my clothespins but if you are using wick bars you can get wax on them and simply scrape it off or throw them in your melting pot the next time you are cleaning it with hot water.
Hot glue gun
Some people also prefer hot glue. I was recently cleaning out some glade candle containers to re-purpose them as test containers for my candles and I was surprised to see the wick tabs were secured with hot glue.
In some of the crafting forums I have even seen people just put a blog of hot glue in the bottom of their container and then stick the wick straight in it without a tab.
I prefer to avoid hot glue simply because I do not like to get burned and I enjoy smashing the wick tabs down in to the candle containers with my fingers.
You will also find people using chopsticks, pencils, popsicle sticks, and bow-tie holders to secure their wicks. They are all okay choices when it comes to securing your wick and keeping it straight.
However, I do not like any method that does not keep the wick tight. So my own personal preference is to use clothespins and if my container is too large for clothespins I will use wick bars.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Recenter A Candle Wick?
Pull the wick back to as close to center as you possibly can, then secure it in to place with a clothespin or wick bar. Allow the wick to stay in place until the wax has started hardening.
How Do You Fix A Bent Candle Wick?
Let the wax begin hardening and just as the wick begins hardening gently pull the wick straight up and the semi-sold candle wax will hold the candle wick in to place.
Can You Fix A Candle Wick?
You can fix a candle wick. If the wick is too short, melt the surface wax and dump it out and then trim the wick to the proper length. If the wick is too long then trim it to the proper length. The candle is now ready to be used according to manufacturer suggested burn times.
In conclusion, you have a variety of options when it comes to centering, straightening, and securing your candle wicks in your containers. Whether it’s clothespins, wick bars, wick tabs, or hot glue. The method you use to secure your candle wicks and hold them in place doesn’t really matter.
All that matters is that you do it. Not only will it improve the aesthetic of your candle having a straight and centered wick, but it will create a safer product for you, your family, and your customers.
If you have a wick that isn’t quite right but you want to salvage the candle then you can check out my article here titled How To Replace A Wick.