A lot of trial and error exists when trying to choose which wick to use in your candles. It depends on the wax, fragrance oil, dye, and the container itself. For these reasons, I do not even use dye in my candles. The good news is we can troubleshoot your candle and figure out how the flame is too small. Let’s take a closer look at this problem and the solution. Why is my candle flame too small?
A small candle flame is due to a lack of fuel or oxygen. This means the flame on the candle is not getting enough wax for fuel or oxygen. Reasons for this include wrong wick size, wrong fragrance oil load, or too much dye. In addition, the candle wick may be clogged if the manufacturer used particulates in the wax.
Fire is supported by a triangle. This triangle consists of heat, fuel, and oxygen. If this fire is failing then that means one or more sides of the triangle is diminishing. We know it is not heated, so it has to be fuel or oxygen.
This means your candles flame is not getting enough wax or good enough air flow. This can be due to the container type you picked, the wick getting clogged by fragrance oil or dye or the wick is simply too big or too small.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the problem.
Small Candle Flame Causes
These are some of the most common causes of a small candle flame.
Too Much Fragrance Oil
While fragrance oil is flammable, having too much of it can limit the size of your flame. The wax and fragrance oil must travel up through the wick as they burn, and if you have too much fragrance oil it can clog the wick.
Too much fragrance oil can also contribute to a mushrooming wick which can also make the candle flame burn irregularly. Most waxes have a fragrance oil load of between 3% and 10%. It is important to stay within those suggested limits.
Wick Is Too Small
If the wick is too small it increases the chances that it could get clogged from fragrance oil and dye.
In addition, it also means that the wick might be too small to create a flame big enough to keep up with the amount of wax in the container.
If the flame is always too small, it will constantly be on the verge of being drowned out by the wax.
Wick Is Too Large
If your wick is too large it can create a melt pool that is also too large and that can cause the wick to drop down in to the molten wax. This leaves less of the wick exposed and will leave you with a smaller flame.
Too Many Wicks
Too many wicks can create a smaller flame in a few different ways. The first is mentioned above, they will produce so much heat that it creates a deep melt pool of wax. This deep pool of molten wax can let the wicks droop and leave you stuck with smaller flames.
The second way multiple wicks can limit the size of your flame brings us back to the flame triangle. If you have three wicks that means you have three flames burning three times the oxygen.
If you have a deep container they might be struggling to get enough oxygen down near the bottom of the container.
Too Much Dye
Like fragrance oil, the dye can also clog a wick. I would always go lite on the dye if I use it as all. However, I primarily make candles in tins where dye is not a big deal. If you make candles in glass containers it might be a bigger deal for you.
Troubleshooting A Small Candle Flame
Let’s troubleshoot the problem.
How To Trouble Shoot A Small Candle Flame
- Remove Dye
- Reduce Fragrance Oil
- Increase Wick Size
- Reduce Wick Size
- Change Container Type
- Change Wax Blend
This would always be my first step in trying to troubleshoot a flame that is too small.
You can remove candle wax dye and make a test candle without it to see how it burns. Candle wax dye is not a necessity for the scented candle burning process
If the candle burns fine without the dye then you’ve found your problem. You may need to decrease fragrance oil load as you add dye back into your candle to prevent the wick from clogging.
Reduce Fragrance Oils
Reduce the amount of fragrance oil. You can learn a few things by reducing the amount of fragrance oil.
- Does it fix the problem with my flame being too small?
- Does the hot scent throw still perform in an acceptable way?
If reducing the fragrance oil helps resolve a clogging wick problem and the hot throw is still pretty good then great! That means you solved your problem and saved some money on fragrance oils.
Increase Wick Size
Increasing the wick size can solve the problem of a clogging wick without reducing any fragrance oil or dye.
However, increasing the wick size can create its own set of problems.
By increasing the wick size you risk the container becoming too hot to handle, the melt pool becoming too deep for the wick and starving the flame of oxygen near the bottom of the container.
That is why this is just another step in the trouble shooting process and simply not the solution.
Reduce Wick Size
Yes, reducing the wick size might actually make your candle flame burn a little bigger. If your wick is so big that it creates so much heat it creates a deep melt pool and then droops down in to the molten wax smothering itself, then reducing the wick size might be the solution for you.
Change Container Type
If you have a container that is deep or has a tapered rim around the top then your candle flame may be too small because the container is depriving it of oxygen.
Try using a wider, more open container and see if that improves the burn of the candle with all other factors remaining the same.
Change Wax Blend
Certain waxes come with additives in them already. These additives are usually in place to help increase the melt point of the wax and to increase the fragrance oil load, but when all else fails try a different type of wax.
If you have a different blend on 100% soy available then try it with all other ingredients remaining the same and see of the problem persists.
In addition, make sure you are using the right blend for the type of candle you are making.
In conclusion, this problem can happen for several different reasons. The best piece of advice I can give you is to document all of the formulas you use, and document each change you made to troubleshoot the problem.
This way you can better keep track of what you have tried and what you have not.
Last but not least, do not be afraid to ask the candle-making community online. Ask in the comment section of a blog or hit up the candle-making Reddit. You can even find candle-making and craft forums where people talk about this type of stuff. Most people are more than happy to help.