It’s hard to resist a wooden wick candle. Aesthetically, it can easily stand out from standard cotton wick varieties. Functionally, it can offer the familiar, cozy mood that comes with burning the hand-poured scented candles people know and love. However, as a candlemaker, you may have to consider several other factors before deciding to use wooden wicks.
Aside from producing crackling sounds, wooden wicks improve the burn time and hot throw of candles. Unfortunately, while wooden wicks are sustainable and easy to use, they are harder to source and maintain. Even so, wooden wicks provide a unique experience to candlemakers and candle lovers alike.
Using wooden wicks on homemade candles has its pros and cons. This article will cover the things you need to know about wooden wicks, including sourcing, using, testing, maintaining, and selling wooden wick candles. So read on and find out if using wooden wicks is worth the time and trouble.
The Truth Behind Using Wooden Wicks to Make Candles
As with all things new and unfamiliar, wooden wicks can seem quite intimidating and complicated at first. But, contrary to this, using wooden wicks to create homemade candles is pretty straightforward. Here are the basic things you need to know about wooden wicks and how to use them to make candles.
Finding Wooden Wicks for Your Candles
The first thing you need to consider if you are thinking about using wooden wicks is their availability.
Wooden wicks were developed and created by The Wooden Wick Co., a California-based company that provides resources for craft makers. With over 100 patents for the wooden wick, The Wooden Wick Co. holds the exclusive license to produce
Because of this, wooden wicks may be less accessible than traditional cotton wicks, especially if you are buying from a country outside the US. In addition, wooden wicks are less common than cotton ones, making them more expensive to acquire even when you buy them in bulk.
Instead, you can opt to get wooden wicks from local distributors, but note that some may repackage the product and leave out important information and specifications like size and wax compatibility.
Not all wooden wicks are the same. Consider what you want to achieve by using a wooden wick and the other candlemaking materials at your disposal. By knowing the various types of wooden wicks available in the market, you can narrow down your choices.
Wooden wicks can be categorized into two different ways: by shape and by sound.
Shape-wise, a flat wooden wick is the simplest type of them all, as it takes the form of a bare horizontal strip of wood trimmed to fit regular candle containers. A flat wooden wick can come in a single strip or have an additional wooden strip attached to it to prolong its use. This type of wick produces a horizontal flame that follows the length of the wood, as opposed to the usual teardrop-shaped flame produced by cotton wicks.
Wooden wicks are also available in more complex forms. For example, tube-shaped and spiral-shaped wicks are both thin strips of wood rolled into small cylinders. These wicks can enhance the overall look of your candles because of their unusual appearance.
Sound-wise, wooden wicks can crackle when burnt. This crackling sound is one of the top reasons candle enthusiasts buy wooden wick candles. However, there are also wooden wicks that do not produce crackling sounds at all.
Learning How to Use Wooden Wicks for Your Candles
They can look more sophisticated, but wooden wick candles are pretty simple to assemble. Like traditional cotton wick candles, candles with wooden wicks are prepared by carefully considering every part: the wick, the wax, the additives, and the container.
Wooden wicks can work well with different wax types, but some varieties function best when paired with a specific wax or wax blend. If you’re unsure whether a wooden wick will work with your wax, refer to the recommendations provided by the manufacturer.
After choosing the appropriate wooden wick that matches both your wax and aesthetic preferences, it’s time to consider the height of the wick. Select a wooden wick according to the size and diameter of your candle container. If you want to enhance your candle’s melt pool, burn time, and hot throw, go for wooden wicks that are wider and thicker.
Cotton wicks require wick tabs to stay centered and upright. The same can be said for wooden wicks, which need to be attached to a small clip. You can buy wooden wicks with the clips pre-inserted or manually attach them yourself. However, one option is pricier while the other one requires more time and energy.
Once the clipped wicks are ready, attach them to your containers using wick stickers or an adhesive of your choice. Be sure to position the wick as close to the center of your container as possible. And voila! You’re ready to pour your candle formula.
One advantage of using wooden wicks over cotton wicks is that it stays straight and steady during the pouring process. Because of this, wick bars, popsicles, and other wick straightening tools become entirely unnecessary. It saves you time and money.
The rest of the steps in making wooden wick candles follow the process in making traditional candles: let your wax sit for at least 24 hours before burning. More importantly, trim your wick according to the recommended length and container diameter proportion.
Testing Your Wooden Wick Candles
As with any candle, wooden wick candles need test burns to know if they work well with your candle formula and achieve optimum performance.
Some candlemakers steer clear from using wooden wicks because no matter how many trials and errors you make, wooden wicks will not always yield the same results.
This unpredictability stems from the very nature of wooden wicks themselves. While the wick can be treated and trimmed, the wooden strips may still have differences in quality. Do not let this discourage you. Keep making candles, record your results, and discover what works best.
Some of the things you need to observe during a wooden wick candle burn test include melt pool, burn time, and hot throw. Wooden wick candles produce a melt pool quickly, which may help distribute your candle’s scent faster.
The shorter the wick is, the longer the candle burns. Experiment with lengths ranging from an eighth of an inch to lower. Don’t forget to use labels and take notes so you can replicate the candle that yielded the best results.
The Truth Behind Burning Wooden Wick Candles
Using wooden wicks to build candles entails more cost, limited source alternatives, and additional trial and error. However, there is no denying that wooden wick candles offer high-quality results that could easily entice candle lovers.
Selling Wooden Wick Candles
For generations, people have used different variations of braided and cored cotton wicks to keep candles aflame. It’s no surprise, then, that wooden wick candles can easily catch and maintain attention at the very first glance.
Wooden wick candles can provide a fresh candle lighting experience for everyone. For one, wooden wicks are visually different from traditional cotton wick candles.
Having a wooden wick can make your candle look aesthetically pleasing and evoke a charming and romantic mood with its appearance alone. When alight, wooden wick candles produce a wide horizontal flame that arches at the tip, further adding uniqueness.
Another selling point of a wooden wick candle is the crackling sounds it produces while burning. The crackle of wooden wicks is one of the top reasons why people buy wooden wick candles. In addition, the relaxing acoustics boost the calming and soothing effects of lighting a candle, whether you’re enjoying some alone time or hosting dinner with family and friends.
Performance-wise, wooden wick candles create melt pools quite quickly. So, if your wooden wick candle is scented, a quick melt pool ensures that the fragrance permeates the air faster.
If trimmed right, wooden wick candles can burn slower and longer, which also helps sustain their scent for extended periods. A slow burn and strong throw both offer value for money, which is extremely practical and cost-effective for candle lovers out there.
Wooden wick candles may be pricier to create. However, their novelty and overall performance also justify a higher selling price. It’s a win-win situation for candlemakers and candle lovers alike.
Burning Wooden Wick Candles
Selling wooden wick candles is only the initial part of defining your candles’ marketability. The more critical factor is the actual customer experience.
I received my first wooden wick candle as a gift from a friend. I remember automatically being attracted to it because it looked beautiful. Thus, I wasted no time and burnt it right away.
The first burn went well: the candle smelled terrific and watching the flame flicker and crackle was both entertaining and soothing.
I can’t say the same for the second burn. Actually, after the first time, I couldn’t even light the same candle properly. The flame always sputtered and died after a few minutes. Relighting it a couple more times created a small tunnel around the wick. Finally, after a few more failed attempts, I swore I would never use a wooden wick candle ever again.
Of course, that was just the frustration talking.
I soon realized that I made the most basic mistake of not trimming the wick before lighting the candle. To test if this is indeed the case, I removed the burnt tip of the wick. Afterward, I manually flattened the wax to get rid of the unwanted tunnel.
Surprise, surprise! The candle worked properly again.
I am sharing this short anecdote to illustrate how your customers may react if they are not yet familiar with wooden wick candles. To prevent them from committing the same mistake, you may need to provide specific usage and care instructions in your candle packaging. (My first wooden wick candle didn’t have any).
First of all, you have to clarify that wooden wick candles and cotton wick candles are different. Wooden wicks crackle; cotton wicks don’t. Cotton wicks mushroom because of excess carbon buildup; wooden wicks don’t.
Despite these differences, wooden wicks and cotton wicks both need to be trimmed before each use. You can use a regular pair of scissors to do the work for both types of wicks. Or, if you are burning a wooden wick candle, pinching the burnt tip of the wick using your fingers can also do the trick.
Do not forget to share the recommended wick length that you determined from your burn test. An untrimmed wooden wick may prevent your candle from burning. Worse, it can create a large flame that would make your candle burn quickly. So it’s both wasteful and dangerous.
Burnt wooden wicks may cause stray soot and debris. Avoid this by trimming the wick while your candle is upside down.
Because wooden wicks are thicker and broader than cotton wicks, they also require more heat to produce a flame. So instead of letting your customers use small house matches, tell them to use flame igniters or rechargeable candle lighters. Not only will you save them from potentially burning their fingers, but you will also help them appreciate wooden wick candles better.
The Truth Behind Choosing Wooden Wicks
Several different factors come into play when deciding whether or not to go for wooden wicks. For candlemakers, accessibility, affordability, ease of use, candle performance, and marketability come into mind. For candle lovers, affordability and candle performance take precedence. Taking all these into consideration would make it easier for you to choose. Here are a few additional factors that you may need to consider.
The Candle Lovers’ Preference: Wooden or Cotton
Both cotton wick and wooden wick candles have an existing market among candle lovers. However, cotton wick candles are more familiar and thus more popular among the public. Still, the distinctive features of wooden wick candles have also earned the loyalty and love of candle enthusiasts.
You may sell wooden wick candles at a higher price, not just because making them entails more expensive materials but also because they are unusual and more luxurious. If you think going the extra mile in acquiring and using wooden wicks yields valuable rewards then, go for wooden wicks.
Again, both cotton wick candles and wooden wick candles need to be trimmed regularly for better performance. The tips of cotton wicks may mushroom after every use, while the ends of wooden wicks become triangle-shaped and charred.
Be transparent and generous with information about caring for your candles, whether or not they have cotton or wooden wicks. Doing this will ensure that your customers experience your candles as intended and make them come back for more.
Wooden Wick Candles’ Impact on the Environment
The good news is that wooden wick candles are sustainable and environment-friendly.
Cotton wicks and cored wicks come from braided or twined fiber and zinc, respectively. Both of which are soaked in various chemicals to make them less susceptible to fire. Unfortunately, these chemicals can be hazardous. Zinc and lead-core wicks, in particular, may emit toxic pollutants that harm the environment and your health.
In contrast, wooden wicks come directly from wood, a more sustainable source than cotton plants. Wooden wicks are soaked in cooking oil or wax to make them fire-retardant. This process is more straightforward and natural, making wooden wicks safer for your health and the environment.
At first glance, wooden wicks seem to serve the sole purpose of elevating a candle’s appearance. However, wooden wicks offer much more: quiet crackling sounds that can lift people’s moods, longer burn time that ensures better scent throw and value for money, and sustainability.
Even so, wooden wicks also come with caveats. For example, they are more expensive, less accessible, especially if you’re from outside the US, and may require extra care in both candlemaking and candle-burning processes.
Taking all the pros and cons into consideration, I’d still recommend giving wooden wicks a try. If it does not work for you, using it once would still expand your knowledge and experience as a candlemaker. However, if it does work, you can have more room to showcase your creativity through your hand-poured wooden wick candles.