Frequently Asked Questions about Candle Wicks
Visit the candle wicks section of the Lone Star Candle Making University for answers to many more questions.
Why isn’t my candle getting a full melt pool to the outer edges of the candle container?
After burning, my wick has a “ball of black” on it which crumbles down. What is this?
How do I know which wick to choose?
Can the same wicks be used in soy and paraffin?
Why are my wicks smoking?
How do I center a wick in the container?
When is it suitable to use 2 wicks per container?
The neck on the wick tab is so long. Do you have wicks with a shorter neck on the tab?
Why is it important to do a test burn?
Most likely the cause of your candle not getting a good melt pool is the size wick you are using. Whether you are using a single wick or double-wicking your candles you need to make sure you are using an appropriately sized wick for the diameter of your container. For guidance, you can go to our Candle Wicks page to assist you in your selections. Other causes could be too much fragrance or dye.
This “ball of black” is called mushrooming. All wicks will produce carbon when they are burning; some more than others. Zinc wicks usually produce more of this than some of the “cleaner burning” wicks such as our ECO and CD series of wicks. This mushrooming effect will be reduced if you make sure to trim your wick down before each time it is burned.
The wick material you choose will be based on your personal preference. You can learn about the different materials in our Candle Making University - Wicks section. The wick you choose will be based on the diameter of the candle you are making.
All of the wicks that we carry can be used in paraffin. The only wick that we carry that will not work as well in soy is the zinc core wicking. The ECO series wick is specifically designed for soy, and it is even coated with a vegetable based wax.
Many factors can contribute to a wick smoking. The wax you are using, adding too much fragrance, adding too much dye, not trimming the wick, using a wick that is too large for the container it is in, or having the candle burning in a drafty place may cause it. Smoking can also tend to increase when the candle is starting to burn close to the bottom of a container because it is harder for oxygen to reach the flame.
The easiest way to ensure your wick is centered is to use the EZ Wick Setter or Multi EZ Wick Setter. If you do not have one of these, you will have to estimate where the center of the jar is when you are putting in your wick. It helps if you adhere the wick tab to the bottom of the container so that it doesn't move around when the wax is poured. We have Glue Dots to assist with this, or you may prefer to use a hot glue gun. Once the wick is in place in the bottom of the container, it also helps to secure the wick at the top of the container with a wick bar or something that won't allow the wick to lean to one side as the candle cools.
When a container is 4" in diameter or larger, you may find it necessary to use more than one wick per container. If you choose to use multiple wicks, you will need to make sure that you drop down in wick size so the container doesn't get too hot when it is burning. If you are using 2 wicks per container, try to determine what wick would be needed for a container half the diameter you are using, and use that as your starting point.
The longer neck on the wicktab is a safety feature, and it is meant to be in keeping with our caution labels. When the candle reaches the neck of the wicktab, it will extinguish itself. This helps to prevent the candle from burning all the way to the bottom of the container and possibly breaking, which can be a fire hazard.
Because everything you put into a candle will have an effect on the way it burns, it is always important to do a test burn. You may think you have added everything in the proper proportions, but discover a problem when you test burn. This gives you the opportunity to correct the problem before you distribute your products.
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