The purpose of a Wick is to bring fuel (wax), into the flame. The wick acts as a fuel pump by drawing the liquefied melted wax up to the flame to be burned. Different sizes of candle wicks allow for different amounts to be drawn into your flame. Too much fuel can cause flames to flare and become sooty; too little fuel can cause flames to burst.
There are hundreds to choose from when it comes to wick sizes and styles. The type and size of the wax used in a candle as well as its shape, colour, and fragrance will all influence the wick selection. A candle that burns well and cleanly will require a wick that is suitable for the job. Reputable candle makers take great care to select the correct wick size, shape, and material to meet the candle’s burn requirements.
To ensure a consistent, slow-burning flame, most wicks made from braided or plaited yarns are high-quality. Twisted wicks are generally lower quality than those made from braided, knitted or plaited fibres. Because they are loosely constructed, they can burn more fuel quickly. Twisted wicks, however, are suitable for some applications such as birthday candles.
Wicks can generally be classified into one of the following major types:
Flat Wicks: Flat-plaited wicks or knitted wicks are made from three bundles each of fibre. These wicks burn very evenly and curl in flames for self-trimming. They are the most popular wicks and are commonly found in taper and candle pillar candles.
Square Wicks: These braided wicks or knitted ones also curl in flame. However, they are more round and stronger than flat wicks. These wicks can be used for beeswax applications. They can also help prevent clogging of the flame, which can occur when certain wax formulations, colours, or fragrances are used.
Cored Wicks: These braided wicks or knitted ones use a core to help keep the wick straight and upright while burning. The wicks are round in cross-section and can be made stiffer by using different core materials. Core materials for wicks include cotton, paper and zinc. Cored wicks are found in jar candles as well as pillars, votives, and devotional lamps.
Wooden Wicks: The soft crackling sound and beautiful aesthetic of wooden wicks have made them very popular in recent years. There are many options for wooden wicks: single-ply, multi-layered and curved wicks, made from 100% wood or semi-wood.
Specialty Wicks: These wicks were specifically made to meet the specific burn characteristics of candle applications such as oil lamps, or insect-repelling ones.
Troubleshooting Candle Wicks
Tunnelling, when wax forms a channel around the wick of a candle, can happen with candles that are properly poured. It is more dependent on the ability to achieve a complete burn across the entire surface of the candle than any other thing.
You can try making more candles with a longer wick if this problem persists.
Drowning Candle Wink
If the cause is due to the wick, it could indicate that the wick is too small to fit in the container/candle.
It could also be caused by wax overfilling.
This usually means that the candle’s wick is too long. This can cause a very hot flame.
You can try this: Put out the candle flame and trim its wick. If it flickers again, the wick is too small.
A mushrooming candle is when the candle’s wax can’t burn fast enough to keep pace with the chosen wick.
Most often, the problem is a too-long wick. Make the wick shorter by shaping it so that it is straight above the wax.
This is often a sign of a too-large or too-small wick. It will melt more wax than the wick can handle.