If you’ve started making beeswax candles or are thinking of buying beeswax pillars, one of your biggest considerations should be the wick. What makes the wick such an important and essential part for beeswax candles? You are about to find out.
What does the wick do?
The wick, as you may already know, is the part of the candle that is lit and burns down the centre of the candle. When you first light your candle, the wick burns and melts the surrounding wax. This melted wax is pulled up the wick as a vapour, going through the wick like a pipeline and becomes the fuel for the flame.
Some wicks allow large amounts of fuel through the pipe at a time. On the other hand, some wicks have smaller streams of fuel going to the flame. This all depends on the material of the wick, the diameter of the wick and even the tightness of the braiding.
Why is the wick important?
These factors make choosing the type and size of the wick very important when making or buying beeswax candles. The wick controls how much fuel is burned at one time. Too much fuel and the flame will be large and your candle will not last long or burn evenly. Too little fuel, the flame will sputter and can be drowned by the melted wax around it.
If the wick is too small, a small pool will be created at the top of the candle and it will begin to tunnel when you relight it. This is because the small wick is not drawing up enough fuel and therefore not melting to the edge of the candle. Eventually, after too much tunnelling the flame will be deprived of oxygen and will extinguish.
If the wick is too large, it will burn through the candle very quickly and create a large flame. Additionally, too big a wick can cause mushrooming (where the top of the wick looks like a mushroom) and soot is deposited.
Finding the right size and type of wick for your candle is extremely important to ensuring that your candle burns brightly, safely and evenly every time you light it. It is also essential with beeswax pillars to ensure the melt pool does not overflow.
Although it is recommended that you choose the right wick, it is important to note that the wax also plays a role in the speed the candle burns.
Why is the type of wick important for beeswax candles?
Historically, the wicks used in candle making were cored with lead. This, of course, was a health risk and now paper and cotton wicks are commonly used in man-made candles. However, beeswax candles pride themselves on being natural, sustainable and safe for your health. This results in most candle makers applying the same concept to the wicks they use.
The most common natural wicks available include wood wicks, cotton and hemp wicks as well as paper wicks that are wax coated. However, some wicks can inhibit the beeswax from being pulled up to be burned as fuel, especially if there are many impurities or honey left in the wax. So, which type is best for beeswax candles?
The best type of wick for Beeswax Candles
Experts in the field have deemed braided cotton wicks the best. Originally designed for beeswax candles, the square braided wick offers many benefits including:
- Better flow of vapour, the more open structure of these wicks channels the vapour up the wick better, even with impurities present.
- Carbon cap forming, this is where heat radiates further from the top of the wick and melts wax further away.
- Wick bending, where the top of the wick bends slightly to avoid carbon build-up and allowing your candle to burn much cleaner.
Therefore, this makes the square cotton braided wick an excellent choice for beeswax pillars. Ensuring that the candle burns evenly, cleanly and safely. The wick is responsible for much of the success in beeswax candle making from the flame to the melting pool. Choosing the right type of wick and size is essential for the best results when burning your candle!