Making Candle Wicks for Candle Makingby Sherry Frewerd on 12/01/11
Have you ever considered making candle wicks as part of your candle making hobby? Yes, candle wicks that you make yourself. With a few basic supplies, you can fashion your own wicks to have on hand at any time. For the serious hobbyist especially, making your own candle wicks can prove to be not only a budget saver, but ultimately a time saver as well. What is more, you can proudly say that your candle creations are completely your own!
The Candle Wick
The candle wick is the most important element of the candle. It is like the engine that makes the entire candle "go." But how exactly does a wick work? It is quite basic actually. When lit, a candle wick will:
1. Melt wax
2. Absorb wax
When melted wax is absorbed into the wick, it essentially fuels the flame. Thus a cycle is born in which the flame creates the "fuel," and in turn, the fuel keeps the flame burning.
When making candles, it is important to choose the right-sized wick. A wick that is too small will starve a flame. On the other hand, a wick that is too large will burn too hot and deplete the candle's fuel too quickly.
Generally speaking, a good way to determine the right-sized wick to use for a candle is to consider the size the finished candle will be. A bigger candle will usually take a thicker wick. But there are other factors, such as the type of candle you're making and the type of wax being used, that you'll also take into consideration.
If you learn how to make your own wicks, however, a wick that's the right size is never far. Making a range of wicks of different lengths and thicknesses for storage is a good idea. Wicks wrapped in newspaper will keep nicely and will be on hand whenever you need them.
How To Make Candle Wicks
In one form or another, wicks have been around for as long as there have been candles. In the 19th Century, however, the stabilizing effect of boric acid on candle wicks was discovered, and candle wicks have been made pretty much the same way ever since.
To make your own wicks, you'll need:
- Cotton twine/string
- A hand towel/paper towels
- Double boiler
Mix together a batch of boric acid solution from 1 tablespoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of borax, and 1 cup of hot water. Cut lengths of twine, and let them soak in the boric acid solution for several hours.
Remove the twine from the boric acid, and dry it completely with a towel. Next, take three pieces of twine that are the same length and braid them.
Now that you have your twine braided, melt your wax in a double boiler. Using tongs to hold one end of a length of braided twine, dip the twine into the wax. When the twine is thoroughly saturated, remove it from the wax, and dip it in water. Lay the twine flat on a paper towel, and allow it to dry completely.
You now have primed wicks for your candle making that you've made yourself!
To store your completely dried wicks for future use, simply roll them up in newspaper and set them aside in a cool, dry place until needed.
Tips: You can repeat the process of dipping the twine in wax to achieve a slightly thicker, stiffer wick. Cotton kite string works well as the twine used to create your wicks.
Michelle Anders is a candle making enthusiast who enjoys sharing tips about candle making on her website, AllAboutCandleMaking.com. There she presents additional Candle Making Instructions and tips on other candle making topics such as Gel Candle Making, and more.