Category Archives: candle wicking

Dec
16

No Candle Scent?

This entry was posted in candle fragrance oils, candle making supplies, candle recipe, candle scents, candle wax, candle wicking, Fragrance Oils, Natures Garden and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

Candle waxesWhen it comes to candle scent, there are only two kinds.  The hot throw of a candle, and the cold throw.

The hot throw in candles is when the wick of the candle has been lit.  The aroma of a well made candle will fill a averaged sized room fairly quickly.  This scented aroma will linger the whole time the candle remains lit.  This is the fragrance oil being released into the air from the wax that is heated by the lit wick.

On the end of the spectrum and not requiring any heat is the cold scent throw.  This is the scent a candle gives off when it is just sitting there unlit.  Cold throw is very important in candles because it is the first impression that a person gets on how the candle is going to smell.  This aroma is solely based off the fragrances aromatic quality in the wax.   

Why does my candle not smell?

The best way to guarantee that you are producing a high quality candle is to know you have good quality supplies.   There is a lot of various fragrance or scent suppliers in the market, buying from a reputable supply company ensures your candles are high quality, provide strong hot and cold throw, as well as a clean burn.  All three qualities mentioned are expectations for candles.

It is possible that a fragrance that is very evident in the cold throw of a candle will not perform the in the hot throw of the candle (this is known to occur in soy wax).  Using an additive like vybar will help to extend the scent throw.   However, if using vybar be careful not to add too much.

In the candle making process, never leave your wax on the heat source longer than needed.  Once the color and scent have been added to the wax, pay attention for when it is time to pour.  Leaving scented and melted wax on the heat source too long can burn off notes in the fragrance oil prematurely.  This lack of notes has a direct effect on your candles smell.  You especially do not want to risk this happening to your candle wax if you are using lighter fragrance oils with low flashpoints like citruses for example.

When making candles with veggie waxes such as soy wax, you will need to use a hotter burning wick to allow fragrance to travel up the wick and escape into the air.  You may also want to consider “wicking-up” when you are making candles with fragrance that contains heavy base notes.

How to Solve It!

Before you buy from an online supplier check out their credentials; you can easily do this by reading the customer reviews on their website and their social media pages.  There you will be able to find out a lot about a company.  Lastly, candle making forums are also a great way to see if a company is reputable and has good quality products, fast shipping, and customer service.

For most fragrance oils, in order to get the best hot and cold throw in a candle you use 1  to 1.5 ounces of fragrance oil per pound of wax.  If you have decided to use vybar to help increase scent throw, only add ½ tsp for every pound of wax.  Also, adding more than the recommended amount of vybar to your wax may bind your scent without allowing the wax to release it properly, so do not overdo it.

A key step to remember in the candle making process is to pour your candle wax immediately once it has been scented and mixed, or hit the proper temperature.  Using additional heat once the melted wax has been scented will allow for some of the fragrance oil to evaporate into the air releasing aromatic components of the fragrance oil before their time.  This will permanently alter the way the fragrance oil will smell in your lit candle, and may be the reason why the candle has no smell at all.

Remember, when you are making candles with veggie waxes, or you are using fragrances with heavy base notes like musk, amber, patchouli, vanilla, woods, you will want to use a bigger, hotter-burning wick.

Jul
05

Best Ways to Center Candle Wicks

This entry was posted in candle wicking, candle wicks, candles, centered wick, creative, Fragrance Oils, hot scent throw, Natures Garden, self centered wicks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .
wick center

We asked our Facebook Friends what creative ways they use to center their wicks for candle making. The responses were very effective, unique suggestions, many of which involved household items they had at their disposal.

Best Ways to Center Candle Wicks

Obviously at this point in your candle making, you have dedicated a lot of time and money learning, testing, and researching everything there is to know about making candles.  All this is accomplished by you with one end goal in mind… crafting the greatest candle you can!

For all the sacrifices made and devotion set forth in crafting candles, one thing is for sure; you do not want one simple little thing as an off centered wick to prevent you from that perfect candle.  In a candle, an improperly centered wick directly affects the burn, your melt pool, and your hot scent throw.  So, needless to say, ensuring that you have a centered wick should be a top priority.

There are many different options you have to center your wick.  Sure, you can buy a wick centering tool, wick bar, or self centering wicks, but since Natures Garden has such wonderfully talented customers, we thought we would ask them how they do it.  We turned to our Natures Garden Facebook Fans to share any input or suggestions that they had for centering candle wicks.  The responses were super creative, and many of their ideas had little to no cost.

The first step in centering your wick is to find the center.  Here are the awesome suggestions that we received on this topic:

Tips for finding the center:

Since many of the candle jars that are used are transparent, one customer suggests using a printed dart target to get that perfect bulls eye center each time with their wick tabs.  You will of course want to tape these bulls eyes to your work space so that they are consistent every time.  Then, it is just a matter of placing your jars on top to find the center.

Because most crafters have a continuous standard with their jar sizes, one of our customers traces the bottom of the jar onto cardstock.  Then, using a tape measure they calculate the exact center and mark it on the cardstock.  This cardstock then becomes a template for centering the wick each time that jar size is used.  The result is a perfectly centered wick.

So, now that you know where the center of your jars is.  The next step is securing your wick to the bottom.  Here are some of the great methods provided by our Fabulous Facebook Fans for this step:

Hot Glue Gun:  By placing a dap of hot glue in the center of the candle jar, and then gently pushing the wick tab over the glue before it hardens; you can secure your centered wick tab and pull the wick straight.

Glue Dots/ Sticky Wickums/ Sticky Tack:  The same concept as a hot glue gun, you simply remove the glue dot from the backing and place it on the bottom of the wick tab.  Then, press the wick tab in the center of the bottom of the candle jar and secure.  Pull the wick straight.

Empty Pen Tube/Drinking Straw:  Using an empty pen tube that the wick is threaded through you can press the tab right on the glue dot/hot glue at the bottom of the candle jars.  This is a great option for those of you who can’t necessarily reach the bottom of your jars to secure the tabs to the bottom.

Now, moving right along…let’s look at some of the suggestions given as to how to keep the wick portion of a candle straight once the hot wax is poured into the containers. In the picture we posted, you will notice that they used hair clips used by beauticians.  There are many more ideas where that came from.

On Natures Garden Common Candle Making Questions page we answered this with our suggestion.  “To prevent your wicks from falling over while the candle is cooling, we suggest you use hair combs.  Simply secure your wick in the bristles of the comb, and lay the comb on top of the container.”

Here are the other suggestions that we received:

Pencils:  Using a pencil wrap the excess wick around it and lay this across the opening of the candle jar.  This will keep the wick straight and tight while the wax is cooling.

Cardboard/Cardstock:  Using cardboard or cardstock to cut a thick “stick” that can lay across the top of your candle jar is a perfect solution to keeping your wick straight.  By making a small slit in the cardboard stick, you can easily slide your extra wick in place and hold it there.  Nicole Streeter even takes it a bit further by adding that she uses the cardstock with the slit in the middle but also writes the scent of each candle on the cardstock.  This is the perfect solution when doing multiple fragranced candles.

Chopsticks/Coffee Stirrers/ Popsicle sticks (aka craft sticks)/ Kabob Sticks (aka Bamboo Skewers):  This is essentially the same idea of the pencil with the excess wick wrapped around it.  But, how this differs is you use this method if you do not have a lot of excess wick available for wrapping.  By placing 2 of the same items together; secured at each end with rubber bands/strings/hemp, you are now able to simply slide the excess wick through the middle.  These items secured together will allow for a nice taunt hold of the wick.  With the popsicle sticks you also have the option of drilling a small hole into the center of your craft sticks with a dremel.  If there is any extra wick, this can be easily wrapped around the craft stick once it is secured through the hole.

Besides securing the two items together with stings or rubber bands, other helpful household items were also mentioned:

Aunti Di’s suggests using craft sticks secured with clothespins on the edges.  Another fabulous securing idea was the mini office binder clips, clipped at each end.  Even medical tape was suggested for keeping 2 pencils together.

If you use the smelly jelly jars, one of our customers suggests using the daisy perforated lid with a clothespin.  Once the wick is through the center hole, they just clip a clothespin on the excess wick to secure it in place.

For a more permanent tool, someone recommends using a wood shim with a clothespin hot glued to it.

If you are looking to satisfy a straight wick with several jars at one time, one customer suggests using a paint stirrer (which are free items if you ask for them).  Then, simply drill holes at the proper points on the stick.  Once your wick tab is centered and secured at the bottom of the jar, lay the paint stirrer across the top of the jars and just slip the wick through the holes.  You can usually accomplish 3 or more jars at one time (depending on the diameter of your containers).

We at Natures Garden would like to thank all of our wonderful customers for all of their unique ideas and input as to how they center their wicks and keep their wicks straight.  We hope that you have been inspired to try some of these ingenious ideas or maybe even spark new creations for centering wicks and keeping them straight of your own.

 

 

Jun
26

When Does Wick Size Matter

This entry was posted in candle making, candle making supplies, candle recipe, candle wax, candle wicking, candle wicks, candles, Fragrance Oils, Natures Garden and tagged , , , , , , , , , on by .
wick size

We purposely created a “problem” candle to demonstrate when wick size does matter. In this example, the wick is not centered, and there is a lack of a full melt pool. A smaller melt pool is one sign that the wick size clearly needs to be larger.

When does wick size matter?

Knowing when to move up to the next size wick for candles is one of the trickiest aspects to candle making.  There is a fine line with wicking a candle.  You want to find that perfect balance between a sensational hot throw and long burn time.  Wicks, are the vessels to ensuring you have made the best possible candle.  You want your candle to burn slowly and evenly all the way to the bottom, leaving nothing but the wick tab behind.  The right wick has the capability of doing this, but they also have a direct effect on the hot scent throw.  And when it comes to scent throw, this is one feature of candles that is extremely significant.

There are many different kinds of wicks available; HTP, CD, Hemp, Zinc, or Wooden.  Each wick has different qualities associated with them, and that is why testing for your perfect wick size is vital to your candle crafting. Usually, within the wick selection process there are a few factors to consider.  First, wick selection will differ depending on which fragrance oil you use in your candle wax.  Second, wick size is determined by the diameter of your candle container/mold.  Third, wick size is determined by the type of wax you are using to make your candles.  Fourth, wick size is determined by how much colorant you use in your candles.

Now, it could be possible that your candle will need a double or maybe even a triple wick.  This is not unheard of.  Sometimes, especially with the larger candles or with candles that are shaped differently (such as star), you need the addition of extra wicks to make sure that your candle has an excellent wet pool touching all sides of your container.

Once you know the type and size of the wick that works best for your candle needs, the next step is to familiarize yourself with the term “wick up”.  Wick up in candle making is when you purposely use a larger wick.   This generally comes into play for a few reasons.  If you notice in your testing that you have a poor melt pool, you might want to consider a wick up.  Wicking up in this situation will allow for a hotter burn, therefore reaching more wax to allow for a fuller melt pool.

Another reason to wick up is if you are struggling to smell the hot throw of the candle.  In order for scent throw to be possible in melted wax, the fragrance oil needs to be in a volatile state- meaning ready to evaporate quickly.  The best way to ensure this is a hot burning wick.  As the melted wax pool is pulled throw the wick, the fragrance (or scent) is released into the air.

Another aspect to consider is the fragrance oil itself.  There are certain fragrance oils such as Vanilla ones that almost always require a wick up.  This is because Vanilla fragrance oils are thicker and using a slightly larger wick will prevent your wick from clogging and/or possibly drowning out.  Fragrances with heavy base notes, such as patchouli, vetiver, amber, and musk will also likely require a larger wick.

The wax that you are using for candle making can also come into play for a wick up situation.  Any time you use a vegetable wax, you will want to wick up to the next size wick for your candle.  Whenever you use a vegetable wax, which requires a hotter burn, you want to make sure that the wick when lit, will be hot enough to melt the wax properly, and release the fragrance into the air.

The other factor that will require a larger wick size in candles is the use of heavy amounts of candle dye in your candles.  Candle dye slows down the capillary action of the wicks, and thus reduces the burn of the wick.  Increasing your wick size will help you combat this issue.

If you are interested in seeing Natures Garden’s suggestions for wicks, please check out candle wick chart.  However, please note that this information should never replace your testing process.

Jun
25

What is a Memory Burn in Candles

This entry was posted in candle making, candle molds, candle wax, candle wicking, Fragrance Oils, how to do a memory burn, Natures Garden and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

memory burnWhat is a Memory Burn in Candles

The most crucial burn to your new candle is its first one.  This is what is known as a memory burn.  The initial burn is the one that is most vital to a complete melt pool.  And, even more importantly a memory burn in the candle is the one that sets the boundaries and scent throw for every burn after that.

Preparing for your Memory Burn

Never leave a burning candle unattended.  A good rule of thumb to prepare for your memory burn is to know the diameter of your candle.  For every inch in diameter that your candle is wide, you need to gauge one hour of burn time.  So, if your candle is 3 inches wide; you need to be able to burn your candle the first time for at least 3 hours.  So, for the memory burn, it is important to start it when you know that you will be able to keep an eye on it for the allotted time necessary.

Although lighting candles definitely adds to the ambiance of a room, certain precautions do need to be in place for the open flame of a candle.  Never burn a candle where small children or pets are within reach.  The wax of a melting candle is very hot and can cause severe burns.

Before you light your candle, make sure that the wick is no longer than ¼” high.  Be careful not to cut your wick too low, this is a sure fire way to drown your wick out in the melted wax.  This is a key tip to remember each time that you light your candle.  Recalling this simple step each time will lessen the amount of soot and smoking from your candle.

Always keep your candle free of wick trimmings, matches, and any other debris.  Any of these items could be flammable.  Hello Fire Department!

Why a Memory Burn is Important

All candle waxes retain a memory.  In order to have a full melt pool, where liquid wax is touching every side of the container, the candle has to have a memory of that.  If the first time you burn a 4” wide candle, and only get a 2 inch wide melt pool before you extinguish the candle, you have already inhibited your candle.  If you prevent the full memory burn from occurring the result is never being able to achieve a clean, full melt pool all the way down to the bottom.  The melt pool will follow the boundaries already established from the memory burn and will only ever reach 2 inches wide.

Besides getting the most out of your candle time with a full memory burn, there is another reason why memory burns are so important.  With a full melt pool on your candle, you will notice a stronger scent throw from your candle.

May
28

Candle Starter Kit Starts It All

This entry was posted in candle fragrance oils, candle making supplies, candle scents, candle wax, candle wicking, clamshells, Fragrance Oils, Natures Garden and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

Fragrance OilsWhat’s your name & Your Company Name: Just my Scent Homemade Soy Candles, Tarts & More

In 2008 I needed Christmas gifts for my family members , so I ordered a starter candle kit. After giving them as gifts others around my candles enjoyed them so much they asked if I could make more. I now have my candles in 3 locations including the local farmers market. I have been asked to be the candle supplier for a new farmers market opening soon. I do local craft shows, fundraisers and have a yearly fall open house at my home.  I have been overwhelmed with the turn out of the open house. Everyone always looks forward to it in November. Next month I am having my very first Candle/Tart party where I will have cash & carry items, and will take orders. I will also be booking future parties with great gifts to the hostess. I sell Candles in jars, crocks and an apple shape jar, I live in apple country and our local high school’s mascot is an apple. The apple jar is only filled with apple scents to go with the theme. I also make tarts, I have them at a local hair salon and they are flying off the rack. I owe a lot of my success to Nature’s Garden for their wonderful products. I receive so many compliments on the scents that I use and they all come from Nature’s Garden. I recently visited my daughter who lives in another state and took her a starter kit and now she has her own business of Soy Melts using all Nature’s Garden supplies. Her first few weeks she sold over $400.00 in Soy Melts to neighbors and co workers, she is excited to do her first home party. Thank You Nature’s Garden for helping my daughter and me with our business, we love it!

Red Delicious Apple, Red Hot Cinnamon, Apple Cinnamon and Black Raspberry Vanilla

Your Website: justmyscent.com

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/JustmyScent

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JustmyScent

May
11

Increasing Income with Candle Making

This entry was posted in candle fragrance oils, candle making supplies, candle molds, candle wax, candle wicking, Fragrance Oils, Natures Garden and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

fragrance oils1. What’s your name & Your Company Name:     Candles By Sheila

2. Why did you decide to go into business? I was having fun making candles for my friends. What was your motivation?  My friends said I need to start selling them. They were the nicest ones they had in a long time.  How long have you been in business? I started selling them about 5 years ago.

3. What products do you make and sell? I make a half of a coconut shell. I also make a spiral pillar and a square pillar one.

4. What are your business goals? Since I have retired I would like to increase my income and have something that my family could keep doing.

5. What are some products you use from Natures Garden; what are your favorite products from Natures Garden?   I only use the fragrances oils for my candles from your company. My wax, wicks and colors also come from you.  It would have to be the Joy wax.

Facebook page: Sheila Holland

Apr
05

Candle Making and Soap Making

This entry was posted in bath and body, candle fragrance oils, candle making supplies, candle molds, candle wicking, Natures Garden Fragrance Oils, Soap making supplies and tagged , , , , , , , , , on by .

fragrance-oils-6 1.  What’s your name & Your Company Name:  Valerie Ann King, Sea Maiden’s Creations

 2.  Why did you decide to go into business?  In 2001 my husband and I lived in Upstate NY where I was born and raised. That summer we had decided to take a much-needed, long weekend to the Amish country in Pennsylvania, the beautiful state where my husband was born and raised. We went to a Country Candle store where in the basement we watched Amish women make taper candles using large vats of melted wax and other equipment. I was fascinated. What was just as appealing were the grubby style molded candles on the first floor. I spent a small fortune. That was the beginning of my obsession. When we came home, before even unpacking, I got on my computer to search and research candle making. The Very first site to come up in my Google search was Natures Gardens Candle Supply, where I placed my first order. The very first thing I ordered was the votive making kit and fragrance oils samples. My first love was molded candles. What was your motivation? My love for crafting, the Amish trip and Natures Garden. At the time, NG had a forum and it was amazing to be a part of. Tons of information to be had. I quickly branched out to learn mp and cp soap making and also I have my own line of silicone molds, as during that time of researching decided to start making them as well. At this time I concentrate on CP soap, but love making it all!! My passion for crafting comes from generations of crafters in my family. How long have you been in business? Since Oct. 2001. My husband made my very first website featuring all of my creations. It was and still is very exciting!

3.  What products do you make and sell? I make and sell CP soap, MP soap, Soy Container candles, and Paraffin Pillar candles, and Melts. I adore piping cold process soap, so I offer a lot of cupcake soaps, cake soaps, and loaf soaps. I make anything from the plainest unscented lard and castile soap to very elegant cakes. I will be wholesaling all of my products very soon!

4.  What are your business goals? My business goals are to of course, just keep growing. It’s not easy as the candle and soap making markets are saturated from when I started in 2001. But when there is a will, a passion and love for it, there is a way! Although, my website does not reflect all that I do at this time, because I haven’t the time to update it as much as I should, I am always testing for as close to perfection as I can get with every attention to detail.

5.  What are some products you use from Natures Garden? I use a ton of their fragrance oils. I have too many to list that are my favorites and the list keeps growing. Because we live in Florida, I take advantage of the wonderful FO’s, soaping oils, powders, molds, wicking, packaging and the list is always growing, as they continue to grow. They were my first supplier and I will always be a customer!

Your Website:  www.seamaidenscreations.com

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sea-Maidens-Creations/148235281936128

Twitter:  In process.

Blog:  http://seamaidenscreations.blogspot.com/

 

Mar
28

Signature Candles Using Fragrance Oils

This entry was posted in candle fragrance oils, candle wicking, essential oils, Fragrance Oils, homemade candles, melts, soy candles, votives and tagged , , , , , , , , on by .

photo (3)
1.  What’s your name & Your Company Name: 
Vintage Hills Smoking Barrel & Candle Co. LLC owned and operated by Jason & Shannon Hancock

2.  Why did you decide to go into business?  What was your motivation?  How long have you been in business?  Jason is a craftsman and exhibit designer/builder. He decided to start making functional art and meat smokers out of wine barrels.  I enjoy making candles and we decided to merge the two ideas and create structures to hold candles and the make several types of candles and art pieces.  We love vintage creations and unique designs. Our business address is on Vintage Hills Dr so the idea to bring the two together was very natural and was the motivation for our business name and idea.  Our Motto: Wine Barrel, Culinary, and Candle creations that represent the rich heritage of the South ~ Custom Oak Wine Barrel Meat and Veggie Smokers, Gourmet Servers, Wall Decor, Candle Holder Staves, Glass Candles, Votives, and melts.  We both have full-time careers so we started it off as a hobby and experiment and opened our business as an LLC on September 13, 2012.

3.  What products do you make and sell?  Each wine barrel product from Vintage Hills Smoking Barrel & Candle Co. is handcrafted by Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana native, Jason Hancock, on Hancock Ranch surrounded by the vineyards and forest of the Brazos Valley, Texas.  All of our environmentally friendly up-cycled wood pieces are made completely out of beautiful American and French oak wine barrels, and, when available cognac barrels. Jason’s goal is to build distinctive, unique, high quality wood products for the wine, candle, and culinary enthusiast.  Every craft will be a unique topic of conversation in your home, your ranch, your business, or in a winery.

Vintage Hills Smoking Barrel & Candle Co. products are sold finely finished and are 100% made from the parts of each barrel.  Each piece is made from quality materials with the highest standards.  Every wood product goes through a variance of stages of sanding, top quality stain application, protective finishes, glues, and hardware.

Our very functional oak wine barrel smokers will cook meat and vegetables.  We also create gourmet culinary server barrel head board and stave trays, sacoche de selles (pannier baskets), milieu ambiance stave candle holders for tea light, double stave Libbey candle bowl sets, and stave crosses.

Jason also does custom counter tops and cabinetry, exhibits and air brush design, and vintage auto restoration.

Candles are hand-poured by Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi native Shannon Hancock on Hancock Ranch; and all of our wax blends are 100% top-quality soy and soy blends with the finest of soy wicks and treated wood wicks.  All of our premium custom fragrance oils we use are phthalate-free, manufactured in the USA, not tested on animals, and comply with the strictest global RIFM and IFRA standards.

The historical three state series line of Culture Eternal Candles by the Vintage Hills Smoking Barrel & Candle Co. is a tribute to the long standing testament of our southern states of the Deep South and Southwest and the mysterious and enriching journey and legacy of our ancestors to where we are today.  Our candles are for anywhere in the home and feature a signature, kitchen, wine, and healing spa collection.

We feature a baby shower series, a wedding and bridal shower series, and can whip up some pristine custom candle and stave beauty for your special occasion party/event with bulk pricing. We also have wholesale pricing for vendors.

4.  What are your business goals?  New Product Development: We will be and introducing clay pottery containers and creating a French Providence and Navajo inspired Rustic Pillar Series that will adhere to a mobile double stave candle holder, more spa pieces with essential oils and Bachelorette Party spa lotion candles partnering with a bath and body vendor in Mississippi.  We also attend several design/ jewelry expos and markets annually and what sets our candles apart are the gems, crystals, and stones we put on each candle container/pillar and incorporating states with the good memories familiar to the people that live in them.  We will also be expanding the Tree of Life and the Culture Eternal States Series candles selection by demand.  We will continue to attend these diverse expos and market places to bring the finest quality products home to the client.  We really look forward to opening our own gallery with a multimedia showcase of several types of art and tons of candle options.  Also, who wouldn’t love to attend classes at the World Congress Supplies Trade Show…a little start-up can dream haha.

5.  What are some products you use from Natures Garden; what are your favorite products from Natures Garden?  We have whole signature candle collections from Natures Garden Fragrance Oils and wicking supplies; especially fragrances like Kudzu.  The supplies are wonderful, but as important as quality materials are– the camaraderie, epic list of resources and opportunity to be able to advertise, meet other vendors, and see other amazing creations coupled with actually being able to put a face to the name are what really set Natures Garden apart from other suppliers.

YourWebsite: www.smokingbarrelcandles.com

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/VHSBCC

Twitter: in the works

Blog: We have a blog on the fifth tab of our site, we update it with videos, how to’s/a little R&D and cool artifacts and info pertaining to the wine and candle industry.

YouTube Channel: YT videos on the blog, VHSBCC account and videos in the works

Thanks for this wonderful opportunity, we are most grateful. We hope we have made you proud J

~Jason & Shannon Hancock

Feb
02

Science of Candle Wicks

This entry was posted in candle wicking, how does a candle burn, science of a candle flame, science of candle wicks and tagged , , , , , , on by .

Candle Wicking Class

One of the most important components of a candle is the wick. The wick is the fuel (candle wax vapor) delivery system to the flame that allows a candle to burn. Before we explain how candle wicks burn, we will share with you the history of candle wicking. We will finish this class by helping you choose the correct wick for your candles.

History of candle wicks: Egyptians made a form of candle wick by taking fibrous reeds, called rushes, dipping them in animal fat, and lighting them. Since these rushes were fibrous in nature, they allowed the fat to be absorbed by the plant and provided the fuel that the flame needed to keep the “rushlight” lit. Years later, the Romans created an improved wicking system by loosely weaving fibers together. This provided for longer burn time, with the function of the wicking remaining the same.

Modern-day wicks are tightly woven or braided threads of cotton or other fabric material; sometimes including a core (cotton, paper, zinc). The woven material of the wick is then treated with a chemical solution to make them flame retardant. This process is called “mordanting”. Wicks are made fire retardant so that the fuel (the wax) travels up the wick, forms a vapor fuel and the fuel is burned. If the wicks were not made fire retardant, the wicks would burn themselves out before the wax of the candle could be used as fuel. Some candle wicks include a core that the threads are woven around; providing the wick with the ability to stand up. By the way, candle wicks made in the US do not contain lead. Lead core wicks were banned in the US back in 2003.

Before wicks are used, they typically undergo a process called “priming”. Priming involves dipping the wicking into wax. You see, when the threads of a wick are woven, there can remain very tiny air pockets within the threads of the wick. Priming simply fills in those air pockets. It is important to understand that a candle wick is considered primed after being in contact with melted wax for approximately 5 minutes (which is long enough for the air pockets to escape). There is no need to coat a wick with massive amounts of wax when priming. The fuel of the candle actually comes from the candle wax of the candle traveling up the wick to the flame, not from the wax used during priming. Candle wicks are assembled using machinery, so there will be times when wicks will have more priming wax on them, and times when they have less wax on them. This extra wax, or lack of does not affect the performance of the wick burn. It is the woven fibers of the wick that determine proper burn time.

Once wicks undergo priming, they are then “tabbed”. This involves placing one end of the wick into the hole of a metal wick sustainer tab and then crimping the tab of the wick sustainer. This attaches the wick tab to the wick. Wick sustainer tabs allow wicks to stand up in candles. Wick sustainer tabs typically come in the following sizes: 20mm, 15mm, and 30mm self-centering. The size of the wick sustainer tab refers to the diameter of the wick tab.

The neck size of the wick tab, which typically is 3mm, 6mm, or 10mm in height, controls how far down the candle will burn; extinguishing the wick before it hits the very bottom of the candle. This helps prevent candle glass from getting too hot and potentially breaking.

Size matters: When choosing the proper size of wick for your candle, please understand that as the “number” on the wick size goes up, so does the area it is capable of melting when burning. Example: A CD-10 wick will burn a smaller diameter than a CD-12. A zinc core 44-24-18z will burn a smaller diameter than a zinc 51-32-18z wick.

Using the proper size wick is very important! In the event that you use too small of a wick, your candle wax will not burn all the way across your candle, and you may not have sufficient scent throw. If you use too large of a wick, your candle will burn too fast, and you will have increased “mushrooming ” (carbon build up) on your wick.

What is the science behind a burning candle? A burning candle is an example of a chemical reaction between three major elements: oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon. The wax in a candle is composed of atoms of hydrogen and carbon. When the wick is lit, wax begins to melt, and the carbon and hydrogen atoms move up the wick to react with the oxygen atoms in the flame. Actually, the flame you see on a candle is proof of a chemical reaction of carbon and hydrogen atoms with oxygen. The heat from the wick causes the carbon and hydrogen atoms to break apart, and combine with oxygen to form a gas. This is called pyrolysis. You will notice that the flame of a candle is different colors. The blue part of the flame is the hottest part of the flame. The flame is blue because of sufficient oxygen being provided in the reaction. What happens when there is not enough oxygen available to complete the reaction? You will have an excessive number of carbon atoms that group together to form soot. Since soot is black in color, it easily absorbs heat; and this heat allows them to glow. It is these carbon molecules that create the yellow, orange, and red colored portion of the flame. When soot particles glow because they are hot it is called incandescence. Ultimately, a burning candle gives off water vapor, and carbon dioxide (the very same gas we exhale when we breathe).

Over the past decade, there has been a steady climb in the sales of soy wax candles; claims being made that soy wax candles are somehow “better” for you than paraffin candles. Putting aside all bias and focusing on science alone will allow us to make the following conclusions: 1. All waxes are primarily hydrocarbons, whether the wax is of animal, vegetable, or petroleum origin. The chemical composition of all waxes used for candle-making is similar. 2. All waxes produce a yellow flame due to the presence of carbon. 3. No specific type of wax or wax blend is considered “best” for candlemaking. All candle waxes, when provided in high-quality format,  have been shown to burn cleanly and safely. 4. No candle wax has ever been shown to be toxic or harmful to human health. 5. There is no such thing as a soot-free wax. All organic compounds when burned will emit some carbon (soot) due to incomplete combustion. (http://www.candles.org/elements_wax.html). In fact, we all experience small levels of carbon in our air everyday simply by cooking our food. It would be ridiculous to tell people to stop cooking their food to avoid carbon in the air. How about carbon dioxide- the air we all exhale? Should we all stop breathing to prevent putting this carbon in the air? It is time for science and common sense to unite!

The science behind a burning candle is important to understand because for a wick to perform effectively, it is reliant on other components of the candle. Some fuel sources will easily travel up the wick and produce the fuel vapor needed to keep the wick burning (refined paraffin wax is a good fuel source). Other waxes, such as soy wax, will require a larger wick to allow for pyrolysis to occur. That is why at Natures Garden, we suggest that candle makers “wick-up” when making vegetable wax candles.

Other candle components that affect the efficiency of the burning wick are fragrance and coloring. Fragrances are composed of a combination of essential oils, resins, and other aromatic chemicals (ketones and aldehydes). Some of these fragrance ingredients will easily travel up the wick and react with the oxygen, others do not travel up the wick as easily. Each component of a fragrance oil has individual flash points (the temperature at which its vapor will combust). When a fragrance oil contains higher levels of heavy base notes, such as musk, vanilla, amber, the candle may require a larger wick to allow for pyrolysis to occur. Lighter, lower flash point fragrance components will easily travel up the wick and burn. Special care should be taken when using citrus type fragrances that have a low flash point. If the wick size is too big, it may cause the citrus fragrance to give off a petroleum aroma instead of a citrus aroma. Using too big of a wick with low flash point citrus fragrances can also create a fire hazard; causing the entire top of the candle to ignite.

Coloring can also affect candle wicking. Candles require the use of dyes specifically formulated for candle making. Any coloring that contains water or glycerin will not work in candles. Color pigments, mica pigments, and titanium dioxide do not work well in the interior of candles. These pigments clog the candle wick; causing increased smoking and potentially causing your candle wick to stop burning. If these types of pigments are used during candle making, they are used only for coloring the outside of the candle by dipping the candle. Crayons are an example of color pigments suspended in a wax medium. It is never a good idea to color your candles with crayons as suggested by some media sources.
Choosing your candle wicking:

There are literally hundreds of types of wicks you may choose for wicking your candles. Most of the wicks on the market are made from braided or knitted fibers that allow for a slow, consistent burning candle. Candle wicks are typically one of the following types of wicks (provided by the national candle association) :

Flat Wicks. These flat-plaited or knitted wicks, usually made from three bundles of fiber, are very consistent in their burning and curl in the flame for a self-trimming effect. They are the most commonly used wicks, and can be broadly found in taper and pillar candles.

Square Wicks. These braided or knitted wicks also curl in the flame, but are more rounded and a bit more robust than flat wicks. They are preferred for beeswax applications and can help inhibit clogging of the wick, which can occur with certain types of pigments or fragrances. Square wicks are most frequently used in taper and pillar applications.

Cored Wicks. These braided or knitted wicks use a core material to keep the wick straight or upright while burning. The wicks have a round cross section, and the use of different core materials provides a range of stiffness effects. The most common core materials for wicks are cotton, paper, zinc or tin. Cored wicks can be found in jar candles, pillars, votives and devotional lights.

At Natures Garden, we offer several varieties of wicks based on our own successful testing.

HTP wicks- These wicks are created with a flat braided cotton fiber design, but also have paper fibers contained with the braid. These wicks provide a cleaner burn, controlled curling, and self trimming capabilities. Typically used when a hotter burn is necessary. Used with all types of waxes.

Zinc Core Wicks- These wicks are made with a cotton fiber braid, surrounded by a zinc core. Zinc wicks are known for allowing wicks to stand up in applications, and are thus frequently used in container candles. In the event that you are using vegetable waxes for your candles, you will want to “wick up” on the size of your zinc core wicks, as they do not burn as hot as other varieties of wicks.

CD Wicks- These wicks are a flat braid wick composed of cotton with special paper woven around them. These wicks provide excellent capillary action. CD wicks provide a hot burning wick and provide for significant rigidity. These are our favorite types of wicks here at Natures Garden. Used with all types of waxes.

Hemp Wicks- These braided wicks are made with natural fibers of hemp instead of cotton. Hemp wicks provide for a hotter burning wick and increased rigidity. Used with all types of waxes.

Wooden Wicks: Composed of wood, these wicks provide 100% rigidity in candles. These wicks do not require any type of trimming, produce no mushrooms, and allow for a fast melt pool.

To help you choose the best type/size wick for your candle applications, please visit our wicking chart. We provide this chart simply as a guide. It is not meant to be a substitute for your own testing. Testing is your responsibility.

In addition, Natures Garden offers sample packs of our wicks for you to try prior to committing to larger-sized packs of wicks.

Deborah Ward

CEO Natures Garden

Natures Garden Candle Wicks

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