For candle makers, choosing the right candle wicks can make or break your candle-making business. Working with wooden candle wicks may appear to be a difficult thing to do but they are not that difficult, once you understand them.
Making candles with wood wicks is not that different than normal candles. While making any candle, the wax needs to be melted and molded with a wick in it, the difference lies in the type of wick. Choosing a wick, again, is not so easy, but using wooden wicks in the candles follows the same process as in conventional candles.
People use wooden wicks as they look very neat and have crackling properties, i.e. the flame burns with a crackling noise and effect. Candlemakers who use wooden candle wicks in their candles differentiate these candles using an alluring and trendy design as compared to traditional candles made with cotton wicks. You can tell the difference between a wooden wick candle just by looking at the beautiful design of the candle.
This article will walk you through everything you need to know about wood wicks, types of wooden wicks, and how wooden wick candles are sized and made. Let’s get started.
|Table Of Contents|
|Overview of Wooden Wicks|
Wooden Wick Types And Uses
How To Size Wooden Wicks
Pros And Cons Of Using Wooden Wicks
Wooden Wicks Vs Cotton Wicks
Why Are Wooden Wicks Popular?
Frequently Asked Questions
Overview of Wooden Wicks
There is not a difference between wooden wicks and cotton wicks when it comes to how candles work. Besides the fact that one wick is cotton and one wick is wooden. However, wood wicks have gained a lot of popularity in the last decade or so, as more and more candle makers have started making wooden wick candles.
These wicks may come from various trees and sources which may be oak, cherry, maple, birch, rosewood, balsa, or a combination of such woods. The wood used are described in the patent description and have to be used accordingly to make wood wicks. Wood wicks are however of many types. We will discuss the various types of wood wicks in the next section.
Wooden Wick Types and Uses
Based on the type and the amount of the wood that is used to make the wick, wood wicks can be one of the following types:
Types Of Wooden Candle Wicks
- Single-Ply Wick
Let’s take a closer look at these wick types.
When you think of a candle with a wick made of any other material than cotton, the thinnest version of the material comes to mind. The same goes true for wood wicks. In this type of wood wick, the thinnest strip of wood or ply is used to form the wood wick. A single strip or single-wick is supposed to have the following characteristics:
Characteristics Of A Single-ply Wooden Wick:
These wicks would either be of the quiet crackle type when burnt or the loud crackle type. With quiet or loud we refer to the noise that the candle wicks make when burnt. A single-ply wood wick may burn quietly or with a crackle.
The single-strip wood wick as mentioned earlier would be of the thinnest dimension. The thickness of the wooden strip usually ranges between 0.02″ and 0.04″.
The width of the single strip is good enough and ranges from 0.375″ and 0.75″.
You may opt for many other custom sizes that may be on the offing.
Single-ply wicks are used for making candles that are made from non-natural waxes such as parasoy, paraffin, or candles made from a blend of coconut and palm wax. Most of the natural waxes do not work well without using a booster strip.
These wicks are more or less the same as single-ply except for the fact that there is an additional strip of wood running through the middle of the wick. The booster wicks provide a little more of the crackle and the strength that is required for the candle to handle the load of the booster wick. The booster wick is similar to that of the single-ply wick with the difference that there is an extra strip towards the middle of the candle.
Booster wicks are made to make candles made from paraffin and parasoy wax. They are also best for making candles with natural waxes as the booster strip provides the required strength needed for consistent performance.
A spiral wooden wick is made by rolling a wooden strip with a hollow core or the center. This is a core-less wick made from wood. These wicks are made and shipped inside tubes that help them retain their spiral shapes.
Spiral wicks are essentially just thin wood sheets that are wrapped up to form a spiral. The only difference between spiral and other wicks is the thickness of the spiral wicks.
When the thickness of the wick is more they burn hotter and brighter and as such these wicks are used in applications where a bright and hot flame is needed.
Now that you know the various types of wicks let us now see how these wicks are sized or can be sized commercially.
How to Size Wooden Wicks
Selecting the right kind of wick for the candle can be done using the following steps:
How To Size Wooden Wicks
- Select three wicks
Let us look at these steps one by one.
Step 1: Select three wicks
Select the manufacturer suggested wick size and then the wick that is one notch smaller and the wick that is one notch larger. Then make a candle with each one of these wicks in the testing phase.
When it comes to selecting the right size of the wick you will have to first take 3 wicks as per the size guide and requirements of standard wicks. Wooden wick sizing is similar to the cotton wick sizing process.
For a given piece of candle or wax mold, the length will be similar to that of the standard wick made of cotton. The only difference would be on the width and the material. In this case, it would be wood strips with the least thickness in case of single-ply wicks and thick wooden wicks in case of spiral wicks. Once you have determined the right wick size have a few wicks of the size you want as you will be needing it for testing.
Step 2: Testing the Wick.
Testing the wooden wicks in candles is similar to the normal wicks with just one subtle difference. In testing the wick needs to be trimmed about 1/4;” every time it is tested. This is not something that is an absolute requirement or something that is technically required as per ASTM 2417. However, leaving wooden wicks longer would mean a flame too bright.
The best practice is to ensure you keep your flame at a good reasonable height which is around �” which gives the required flame and brightness.
Now that we have seen the sizing of wooden wicks let us point some pros and some cons of wooden wicks.
Pros and Cons of Using Wooden Wicks
Listed below are some of the pros and cons of using wooden wicks which can be as follows:
Pros Of Wooden Wicks
- Wood wicks make stronger candles.
- They produce brighter flames and better lighting.
- Wood wicks can create a good crackle effect.
- They can be made to burn quietly.
- Wooden weeks create horizontal flames.
- They throw heat into the candle thereby throwing the candle fragrances better while burning.
- Wooden wicks burn your candle slower thereby wooden wick candles last very long.
Cons Of Wooden Wicks
- It may be a little difficult to relight the wooden wick candle.
- Wooden wicks produce a hotter flame.
- Wooden wicks can extinguish quickly when taken outdoors.
- Candles with wooden wicks need more maintenance.
- Wood wicks are rigid and hence are not too versatile.
Having listed the pros and cons, now let us look at the differences between the wooden wicks and the cotton wicks in the next section.
Wooden wicks vs Cotton wicks
Often when talking about candles, it is always a topic of discussion whether the traditional cotton wick candles are the best or wooden wick candles are better than the cotton wicks. The differences and comparisons between the two can be drawn over the following points:
Differences Between Wooden Wicks And Cotton Wicks:
- Lighting and Re-lighting
- Lighters or Matchsticks
- Scent Throw
- Length Of Burn
1. Lighting and Re-lighting.
Both the wooden and the cotton wick candles light up easily upon lighting the first time. However, wooden wick candles take two to three tries to re-light a wooden wick candle.
2. Lighters or Matchsticks.
The wooden wick candles are almost impossible to light using matchsticks. That is because they need a little more time to take flame and a matchstick does not have a length good enough to last that long. It is therefore recommended to light up a candle using a stick lighter.
Cotton wicks on the other hand can be lit even with the tiniest of matches. As such they are easier to light with matchsticks as well as lighters.
3. Scent Throw
Wooden wick candles are better when it comes to scented candles. This is due to the fact that the wooden wick warms the area around it better and as such the scent is thrown well in the room without burning the candle quickly. Cotton wicks on the other hand have taller flames that burn the perfume and fragrances quickly from the wax.
Wooden wicks need more maintenance than that of their cotton counterparts. It is because of the fact that the flames of a wooden wick may get extinguished as soon as it is lit many times. The wooden wick candle needs some time to settle in before the flame gets stable with a good amount of melted wax all around the container and at its base. Cotton wicks, on the other hand, do not need too much maintenance – you can simply light it and forget it.
5. Which One Burns Longer?
The wooden wick candles are good in terms of the flame as they produce a low smoldering flame, which in turn consumes the candle at a very slow rate and thereby burns really longer. Cotton wick candles on the other hand burn quickly with tall flames.
Why Wooden Wicks are Popular
We have seen in the last two sections that a wooden wick candle is better than a traditional cotton wick candle in many ways. But here are the reasons why wooden wicks are popular than cotton wicks:
Why Wooden Wicks Are Popular
The wooden wick candles make a delightful crackling noise while burning. It actually gives you the feel of a mini wood fire with a beautiful flickery flame that pierces through all the darkness of a cold winter evening.
The wooden wicks are sourced from a more eco-friendly resource – trees. Obtaining 1 kg of copper needs about 20000 liters of water and a lot of pesticides and hence the wooden wicks are more sustainable than the cotton variants.
The wooden wicks are extremely easy-going once lit. They stand erect and nice through the whole burning process. And the burning itself is slow, even, and steady with an amazing scent throw.
All the above reasons make wooden wicks extremely popular.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have to soak wood wicks?
Wood wicks should be soaked in oil before using them in candles. Olive oil is a safe and natural option for soaking your wooden candle wicks. However, some manufacturers sell pre-soaked wooden candle wicks and you do not need to soak those wicks for a second time.
What kind of wood is used for candle wicks?
Balsa wood is the most common wood used for wooden candle wicks. However, other types of wood can be used as well. It is suggested to purchase your wooden wicks from a reputable supplier to make sure you get the best product possible. Take care, lot’s of cheap and unreliable alternatives are available online.
Can I use a toothpick as a candle wick?
You can use a toothpick as a candle wick. Soak the toothpick in olive oil for a short time and then press the toothpick into your candle as close to the wick as you can without damaging it. Trim the toothpick to about 3/8 of an inch and light it and you can use it to help you recover your lost wick.
Can I use a Popsicle stick as a wick?
You can use Popsicle sticks as candle wicks. Soak the Popsicle stick in oil and then use it when making your candle. However, you must size the candle to the Popsicle stick because you cannot size Popsicle sticks to your candle. This means that you may be doing a lot of trial and error to find a combination that burns properly.
Why Do Wooden Wicks Crackle?
Wooden candle wicks crackle when they burn because of expanding gases and breaking down cellulose makes pockets of gas that burst open as the wick burns. This is similar to the crackle you get from wood burning in a fireplace or at a campfire, however, it is just on a smaller scale.
In conclusion, if you are a beginner who wants to learn and work with wooden wicks, wooden wicks indeed are a great and more sustainable way of making or lighting your candles. Wooden wicks are better in terms of ambiance, usability, and many other things than cotton wicks.
There may be minor drawbacks or inconsistencies of wood with certain types of wax. Having said that, they work just fine almost all the time. Whether you need them for smaller projects like a romantic evening at your homes or a huge project like a candle-lit restaurant, wooden wicks are always the best.