There are a lot of questions when it comes to using more than one wick in a candle jar:
When should I use more than one wick? How do I decide what size wick to use? Where do I place the wicks in my jar?
We have come up with a quick and easy solution to this mystery that should help answer these questions.
We usually recommend using multiple wicks in jars that are larger than 3.5 inches in diameter. Most wicks will top out at about 3-3.5 inches which makes it necessary to use multiple wicks, at least in most cases. There are a few wicks that we carry that will burn up to a 5 inch diameter but the wicks often end up having to work REALLY hard to burn that hot and tend to get a huge ball of carbon buildup on the end of the wick before it even reaches all the way to the edges of the jar. This can affect your scent throw and cause a lot of soot and smoking from the wick which is always good to avoid!
We have come up with a simple equation to use (I know, math is scary) that can help you decide what size wicks to use in your candle jars:
diameter ÷ the number of wicks you want to use + .25 inches = your wick size
So, if you have a jar that is 4.5 inches wide and you want to use 3 wicks, your equation would look like this:
4.5 ÷ 3 + .25 = 1.75
This means you will need a wick that will burn up to a 1.75 inch diameter to use 3 wicks in your 4.5 inch wide jar.
So now you're asking yourself "Okay, but how do I know how many wicks to use?" Well, that's really up to you but we can give you a few guidelines. Typically, you will add 1 wick for every inch after a 3 inch wide container. So, for a 4 inch jar, 2 wicks. For a 5 inch jar, 3 wicks. A 6 inch jar, 4 wicks...etc. Now, this doesn't mean that you can't use 3 wicks in a 4 inch jar but, again, that is completely up to you! You can find more information about all the different wicks we carry, as well as a sizing chart, in the Candle Making University under the wicks section. Browse our selection of wicks by clicking here.
We have created a few visual aids to give you some guidelines on where you should place your wicks. Again these are just our recommendations, you can arrange your wicks in whatever way works for you. The first three diagrams you'll see are for round-shaped jars. We recommend using no more than 3 wicks in a jar that is 4 inches wide otherwise you risk crowding the jar and creating too much heat for your candles. We have also included a diagram for a 5 inch diameter container using 4 wicks but, you CAN use 3 wicks in this size jar if you wanted to.
Square-shaped jars are a little bit trickier. Using 1 or 2 wicks can work but you will usually end up with a little bit of un-melted wax in the far corners of the jar where the heat from the flame just cant reach. The best layout for a larger square-shaped jar (like our Libbey 22oz Cube jars) is using 4 evenly-spaced wicks. The diagram below shows a 5 inch diameter but this layout would work well for a 4 inch diameter as well. Browse our selection of jars by clicking here.
We really can't say this enough... Test burning your candles will insure that you are creating a candle that is burning safe, clean, and the way you want it to. Choosing the right wicks for your candles is usually one of the toughest parts of candle making so don't get frustrated if you don't get it right the first time. We are always available to answer your questions and give you some guidance so please do not hesitate to call or e-mail us if you need any help!