Wicks are an essential part of making candles and while there are commercial-made wicks available in the market, there’s nothing more satisfying than making your own. If you’re making candles at home, then your choice of wick is just as important as your wax, scent, dye, and other important materials.
Moreover, a DIY candle wick also gives you the flexibility to create custom wicks that match specialty candles you may be making, such as different size candles, different containers, and more.
How to Choose a Candle Wick
You can use a regular cotton twine for your candle wick, or you can also use wood. You can use cotton twine or cord on its own, or you can soak it in different materials such as oil, salt, or you can also make a Borax solution, which is the most recommended.
When choosing your candle wick, you should look for the following:
- Consistent flame size
- Minimal or no blooming of carbon deposits
- Minimal or no dripping
- Consistent moderate container temperature
Borax-treated candle wicks are the most conventional of all kinds of wicks to use for your candle, but of course, if you can’t make Borax solution on your own, you have the option of using other materials for your wick.
1. How to Make a Cotton Candle Wick
Before we proceed on making our Borax solution, here are simple ways you can use a cotton candle wick for your DIY candle:
Prepare the following:
- 100% cotton string
- Vegetable oil and salt
Use 100% cotton string or twine and make sure they are free from any dye and other chemicals. You can also use other materials, such as linen, hemp, and jute. Do not use wool as this fiber is naturally fire-retardant.
You can use any vegetable oil and soak your cotton string in it for 20 minutes to 1 hour. After, hang your oil-coated wick using a clothespin on a hanger, or anywhere where you can hang it to dry. Use your oil-coated wick after 24 hours. Oil-soaked cotton wicks will burn slower compared to regular cotton wicks that haven’t been coated.
Place your cotton wick inside a pot and cover them with water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Remove the wick from the boiled water and dry overnight. Salt stiffens the cotton strings and makes for simple cotton wicks for candles.
Borax Solution for Your Cotton Candle Wick
As mentioned earlier, cotton wicks that have been soaked in borax are the most conventional kind of candle wicks. It also makes the candle burn longer and brighter, and it can reduce the amount of ash and smoke produced by the wick.
It must be noted that Borax powder can be toxic when inhaled or ingested so please keep it away from pets and children. Borax strengthens the cotton string and kelps keep it burning steadily, which are the most ideal characteristics of a candle wick.
Borax is also known as sodium tetraborate and it’s a common household item that you can find in any grocery store. If you’re unfamiliar with borax, it’s almost the same as baking soda but it’s mostly used as a cleaner. You can find borax powder in the laundry aisle of a supermarket.
Let’s get started with our Borax solution for cotton wicks:
- Heat Water
Heat 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Let it simmer but do not bring it to a boil.
- Dissolve Borax and Salt in the Water
Pour the hot water into a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon salt and 3 tablespoons of Borax powder. Stir until completely dissolved.
- Soak Cotton String in the Solution
Soak your cotton strings in the solution for the last 24 hours.
- Dry the Cotton String
Using tweezers, remove the cotton string from the Borax solution. Hang it and let it dry for 2 to 3 days. To use the Borax-soaked candle wicks, they must be completely dry, and thus, the long drying period.
Adding Wax Coating
You can use your Borax-soaked candle wicks, or you can also add wax to coat the wicks for better performance. Candle wax can make the wick stiffer and easier to handle. They will also make it easier for the flame to catch on the end of the wick.
Here are the steps to making your wax-coated candle wick:
Step 1: Melt wax in a double boiler. You can melt anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup candle wax.
Step 2: Dip the Borax-soaked candle wick in the wax. Coat as much wax on the wick as possible.
Step 3: Dry the wick. Dip your wick into the wax at least two times to hold a thick coating. The wick should feel thick while still retaining flexibility.
2. How to Make Balsa Wooden Candle Wick
You can use balsa wood sticks as candle wicks. Balsa wood sticks can be purchased from any craft store.
Here is how you can make your very own candle wooden wick:
- Trim down the length of the stick and make sure it is at least 1″ taller than the container of your candle. Use balsa wooden sticks that are at least 1/2 to 1” wide.
- Soak the wooden stick in live oil anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Olive oil will allow the fire to catch quicker and burn more easily. Olive oil also burns cleanly.
- Dry your wooden wicks by placing them on a plate that is covered with paper towels. Make sure the wooden wick is dry when you use it on your candle.
- Attach a wick tab to the base of the wick. Pry open a metal wick tab and push the end of the wood into the opening. The wick tab will hold the wood firmly in place as it sits in the melted wax.
If you want a unique candle, balsa wooden sticks add that woody scent to your candle as it burns. It also must be noted that when the wooden wick burns, it would occasionally make a cracking sound, which adds another unique quality to your candle.
9 Advantages of Wood Wicks
- Wood wicks are made from natural materials, so they are biodegradable. This means that they won’t clog up your landfill like traditional cotton wicks often do.
- They offer a cleaner burn than cotton wicks. Wood wicks don’t produce as much soot and smoke as cotton wicks do, so you’ll enjoy a brighter flame and less mess.
- They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can find the perfect one for your needs. Whether you need a small candle for your nightstand or a large one for your living room, there’s sure to be a wood wick option that’s perfect for you.
- Their unique design makes them more aesthetically pleasing than traditional candles. They also create a softer, more relaxing light than candles with cotton wicks.
- They are the perfect choice for people with allergies or asthma. Wood wicks don’t produce any of the harmful chemicals that traditional cotton wicks do, so they are ideal for people who are sensitive to those chemicals.
- Wood wicks offer a longer burn time than traditional cotton wicks. This means that you’ll get more bang for your buck!
- They come in a variety of scents, so you can find the perfect one for your needs. Whether you’re looking for a floral scent or something more masculine, there’s sure to be a wood wick candle that fits your preferences.
- They make excellent gifts! If you’re looking for a unique gift that someone will love, a wood wick candle is the perfect choice.
- They are easy to use. All you need to do is light them like you would any other candle, and they will burn evenly and smoothly.
Important Tips to Making Your Own Candle Wick at Home
- If you have smaller candles, you can use thinner wicks, and if you have larger candles, you can use thicker wicks.
- If the string is too thin, you can braid together 3 or 4 songs to make your cotton wick.
- Making your own wicks can be like making your own candles, they require some trial and error, so be patient and take your time.
- Thin candles such as taper candles, tea lights, and thin pillars can do with single-strand wicks.
- If using the cotton ball method, be sure to use a high quality cotton ball that will not easily catch fire.
- If using the wire method, be sure to use a thin gauge wire so that it will not be too difficult to insert into the wax.
- If using the wooden skewer method, be sure to trim off any excess wood before wrapping the wire around it. Otherwise, you may have difficulty inserting the wick into the wax.
Other Methods for Making Candle Wick
There are a number of different methods you can use to make your own candle wicks, each with its own set of pros and cons. In this section, we will discuss the three most popular methods: using a cotton ball, using wire, and using a wooden skewer.
- Cotton Ball Method: The cotton ball method is one of the simplest ways to make your own candle wicks. All you need is some cotton balls and some string or twine. Simply wrap the string around the center of the cotton ball until it is securely wrapped, then cut off any excess string. You can then use the wick as is, or you can trim it down to size if needed. One downside to this method is that the cotton ball can sometimes catch fire, so be sure to keep an eye on it while the candle is lit.
- Wire Method: The wire method is another popular way to make your own candle wicks. This method requires a bit more patience and precision than the cotton ball method, but it results in a much cleaner and neater wick. To make a wire wick, you will need some thin gauge wire and a pair of needle nose pliers. Begin by wrapping the wire around the base of the wick (where it will be inserted into the wax), then use the needle nose pliers to twist the two ends of the wire together. Trim off any excess wire, then insert the wick into the wax and light it up!
- Wooden Skewer Method: The wooden skewer method is a great option for those who want to make a wick with a thicker gauge wire. This method is very simple and only requires a wooden skewer, some scissors, and some wire. First, cut the skewer to the desired length of your wick, then use the scissors to trim off any excess wood. Next, wrap the wire around the base of the skewer until it is securely wrapped, then twist the two ends of the wire together. Trim off any excess wire, then insert the wick into the wax and light it up!
How to Make Homemade Candles
The first thing you need to do is gather your supplies. For this project, you will need:
- a candle mold
- a pot
The type of wax you use is up to you. You can use paraffin wax, soy wax, or beeswax. We personally prefer beeswax because it is natural and has a beautiful smell. However, soy wax is a great choice if you are looking for a more eco-friendly option. Once you have decided on the type of wax you want to use, it’s time to move on to the wicks.
There are two types of wicks: metal and cotton. Metal wicks are more common in store-bought candles because they are more durable. However, cotton wicks give you a cleaner burning candle because they don’t produce soot. So it is up to you which type of wick you want to use. If this is your first time making candles, we recommend using cotton wicks. Next, you will need to choose a candle mold.
There are many different types of candle molds on the market, but for this project we suggest using a metal container. The reason being is that metal conducts heat well and helps the wax melt evenly. Finally, you will need a pot in which to melting the wax. We recommend using a pot that is larger than the size of your candle mold so that there is plenty of room for stirring. Now that you have gathered all of your supplies, it’s time to start making candles!
- The first step is to melting the wax. If you are using paraffin wax, you will need to melt it in a double boiler. If you are using soy wax or beeswax, you can melt it directly in the pot. Once the wax has melted, stir in any essential oils or fragrance oils that you want to use. We love using lavender oil for its calming properties.
- Next, take your wicks and dip them into the melted wax. This will help them hold their shape when you put them into the candle molds. Then, carefully pour the melted wax into the molds, being sure not to spill any on the sides. Finally, put the wicks in the center of the molds and let them cool.
- Once the candles have cooled, you can trim the wicks to about ½ inch in height and enjoy your beautiful new candles! Not only are they a great addition to your home décor, but they also make wonderful gifts. So what are you waiting for? Start making some homemade candles today!
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my kids however, that is typically a challenge with how limited their attention span can be and how messy it gets. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and creating fond memory for all of us.