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.