The best way to test your wicks is by making several candles of the same size, same scent, same wax type, and using several wick sizes but of the same series.
For instance, if you’re using ECO wicks, use eco wicks from the smallest size that you KNOW will fit your vessel to the largest wick that you know will NOT fit your vessel. For example, for an 8 oz candle jar, start with ECO 4, 6, 8, 10, and maybe 12 to test if these wicks will work for your 8 oz candle jar.
Many candle suppliers such as Candle Science, Pro Candle Supply, Nature’s Garden Candles, Wooden Wick Co, Lone Star Candle Supply, to name a few, has candle sample wick kits that you can purchase to test which wick series and size fits best for your candle jars.
Also, Candle Science has an excellent candlewick selection guide that you can use. However, if you’re not using the same vessels they used or you don’t know your candle jar dimensions, I highly recommend doing your own testing.
In addition, Candle Science advises its customers to conduct their own research to get the best results. Never rely on someone else's findings until you have done your testing; because you need to be able to learn how to troubleshoot your own wicking problems.
If you use the five tips below, you’ll know how to troubleshoot your candles when you have certain types of issues with your wicks. In this article, 5 Tips to Candle Wicking, you’ll learn what to look for when you test your candle jars. So let’s dive in with the first tip.
TIP 1: 1st Hour Melt Pool
For the first hour, you shouldn’t have a full melt pool; if you do, then this wick is a no-no. A candle that has reached a full melt pool by the first hour is way too big for your candle jar. When a wick is too big for your candle jar, the wick is consuming more wax than the wick can handle, and you will definitely see mushrooms, flickering wicks, a large flame, and not to mention sooting. Oh, and also, the candle will not last long, and there will be a burning scent lingering in the air as opposed to having a scented fragrance.
TIP 2: What to Look For
You should be looking for these wick characteristics.
- Mushrooming. Too much mushrooming and large mushrooms on your wick means that this wick is too big for this vessel or the fragrance load is way too much.
- Large flames. This means that this wick is too large for this vessel size.
- Small flames. If the flame is too small or the wick is drowning in the wax, this means that this wick is too small for the vessel, or you may have cut the wick too short before burning it.
- Burning too hot. You’ll know if the wick is burning too hot or too fast because it will cause the vessel to get too hot to the point where you can’t hold it even from the bottom. This also means that your wick is burning too fast for the wax. HTP wicks tend to burn too fast.
- Smoking wicks. If there is smoke coming from the wick, then you have soot coming from the flames. This is either when the fragrance is too heavy, or you added too much fragrance oil to the wax. Sooting from a candle doesn’t necessarily mean a bad wick because all types of candles emit some sort of soot. However, too much soot means you have a problem that you need to solve.
- Good wick size. If your wick is the correct size for the vessel, there will be a little soot, a little or no flickering flame is okay, and reaching a full melt pool at least 4 or more hours into burning your candles is an excellent indication of a good wick.
- Tunneling wick. If there’s tunneling, then your wick is too small for the candle jar size.
- Wax is completely melted. If the wick burns too hot and the wax has completely melted in less than 4 hours, then change wicks immediately and go down a size until you get the best burn or change wick series.
- Test burn your candles more than once and at least twice. After you blow out the candles, you let it solidify again, compare your candles and collect data. Notice if some jars have less wax than the others, then that’s an indication that this wick is burning too hot for this vessel, and it’s not a good fit for the vessel size. Obviously, burning a candle for 4 hours straight will cause some mushrooming but compare the wicks to see if there’s any mushrooming outside of the norm. Make sure to trim your wicks to test burn again.
TIP 3: 2nd Hour Melt Pool
By the second hour, there should be progress from the first hour; at least 50% of the wax should be at a different point from where you noticed it in hours 1 and 2 or at least a bigger melt pool if you have a small to medium diameter sized jar. If you have a large diameter jar, you shouldn’t reach a full melt pool; however, the melt pool should look a little bigger than the first hour.
TIP 4: Off-Centered Wicks
Notice if your wick is off-centered, the melt pool will be leaning towards more to one side at first. Also, notice that there are wicks such as HTP that will curl as it burns, and this can seem as if it is weird or if the wick itself is not centered properly, but this is normal for HTP wicks and other wicks to curl as they burn. This curling shouldn’t impact your wick-burning correctly, and neither should it affect your melt pool. What I mean by the wick melt pool leaning to one side is that if the wick is not centered in the vessel, you’ll see that no matter how many times you burn that candle, the melt pool will not reach the other side because the wick is not correctly centered.
TIP 5: Splitting Wicks
There might be times where the wick itself splits down the middle as you test burn your wick. If you don’t trim your wick after every burn, this will occur, and if you burn your candle for several hours, this will also occur. It will not affect the melt pool, but you should avoid this as it can continue to split as it burns, and then the wick will not perform correctly.
Also, the major indication that your wick splits down the middle is that the wick is either too small for the vessel causing the wick to try to outperform itself or the wick is too big for the vessel, causing it to work as it should but it’s doing too much work for a vessel that doesn’t require that much.
If you enjoyed this article, 5 Tips to Candle Wicking, don’t forget to like this article. If you have any other ideas and tips to add to this blog post, let me know. OH, and the big one, if you have any issues that I haven’t mentioned, comment below and let us troubleshoot together.