If you’re looking for Part 1 about types of candles and types of wax, it’s here.

So now you’ve figured out the type of candles you’d like to make, and hopefully you’ve found a wax you’d like to try.  Each wax type has a lot of choices as well, so you’ll have to read & research and eventually just jump in.

 What type of wick should I use?

 If you’re going to make candles, you need to choose a wick.  Here’s what you’ve got to choose from when looking at wicks:

            Zinc Core Wicks are the most commonly used wicks.  They can be used in votives, pillars, and gel candles.  The metal wire core in the wick helps the wick to stand straight up while the candle is being poured, and while it is lit.  Lead core wicks were discontinued years ago, in the 70’s I think, and zinc core have been commonly used ever since.   Tin core wicks are also common.

             Paper Core Wicks are typically only used in large container candles because they burn very hot and produce a large melt pool.

             CD Series wicks are flat braided with a special paper filament woven around them.  They are designed to promote a maximum and consistent burn.  They are also coated with paraffin wax for priming.  Great for small & large containers, pillars, and votives.

             ECO Series wicks are designed for natural waxes.  It’s a flat, coreless cotton wick that is self-trimming for the most part.  These wicks are also primed with vegetable wax rather than paraffin wax, and are the only wicks we use here at Mountain City Candle Co.  They are great for small, medium, and large containers, as well as votives and pillars.

             HTP Series wicks are coreless, all cotton braided wicks designed to bend at the tip when burning to help prevent carbon buildup.  They can be used in votives, pillars, containers, and gel candles.

             LX Series wicks are also flat braided cotton wicks, but they are chemically treated with a high melt point wax.  They can be used for nearly any application, but pillars and large containers are the most common.

             Wooden Wicks are the newest wick type, and some of them (soft wood wicks) feature sounds resembling a wood burning fire that crackles and pops as it burns.  The measurements of fragrance, wax type, and dye amounts are all directly responsible for the cracking wood wick sounds.  They are typically hard to keep lit, and the soot production is massive, but they are pretty cool looking if you can get them to work correctly.

 

Should I use spooled wicks, or pre-tabbed wicks?

           A pre-tabbed wick is one that comes connected to a tin bottom.  You use an adhesive of some type to secure the wick tab to the jar, and then straighten the wick in the jar with a wick bar or clothespin. 

           Spooled wicks have nothing to secure to the bottom, and typically a small amount of wax is poured into the candle & hardened to start.  Personally I like the tin wick tab.  It is certainly easier, but it’s also safer.  The wick tab is designed so that if the flame reaches the end of the wick, it will extinguish on its own.  It’s safer if you forget you’re burning a candle (but not foolproof!), and also it keeps the hot flame away from direct contact with the glass.

 Many candle supplier companies offer a wick sample pack, where you can experiment with different types of wicks to see which one you prefer.  They all have good and bad qualities, and unless you’re marketing to a specific customer group, your wick choice will boil down to your personal presence.

 Choosing the correct wick size is another difficult task.  You have to choose a wick size that will work for the size of container you are using.  If you choose a wick that is too small, you’ll experience candle tunneling, which is when the melt pool doesn’t extend fully to the edges of the glass, and a hole burns down through the center of the candle.  The wick could smother in your melt pool, and not throw enough fragrance.

 A wick that is too big can cause other problems, like excessive smoking, too big of a flame, and too deep of a burn pool.  If your wick is too big for a pillar candle, it will collapse the walls.

 So here you are with a candle type, wax picked out, wick type, and a whole bunch of sizes to test.  Next, let’s talk about fragrance.