How to Pick the Right Candle Wick

When it comes to candle making, the right wick matters. Find out how you can master this skill and make your candles last longer.

Creativity 7 min read Jun 27, 2023
How to Pick the Right Candle Wick

So you’ve made the decision to make your own candles at home. Good for you! It’s an easy project and much less expensive than buying parrafin-free, natural soy wax candles from the store.

Getting the most out of this new hobby starts with learning how to pick the right candle wick. That little piece of braided cotton, paper or wood that keeps the fire burning on your candle plays a huge role in the size of the flame and overall performance of your candle. The type of wick you select will also be based upon the kind of candle you are making: freestanding or container, as well as the type of wax you have selected.

Nail the fundamentals to learn which wick is best for soy candles and soon, you’ll be using this newfound skill to make gifts for friends and family! Perfect for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day… or even just because.

Problems with using a wrong size wick

Candles come in different sizes and materials, so knowing which candle wick is best for your needs is important. If you’ve ever used the wrong size wick in a candle, you know that it can cause all sorts of problems. These are some of the common setbacks with both homemade candles and commercial ones, if the candle maker happened to select the wrong size wick.

Hot Throw

A candle wick that is too small will affect the candle’s hot throw. This means that the wax won’t get hot enough to disperse the fragrance through the space.


If you happen to choose a wick that is too large, it can cause the glass to overheat and even explode.

Soot and carbon build up

It’s normal for candles to produce some smoke, but excess smoke or a dark rim around your container indicates there is a problem. The wick you have selected may be too large. Or perhaps, you have not trimmed your wick prior to relighting.

Candle tunneling

The melt pool – or the melted wax in a burning candle – should extend slowly to the very edge of your container. If you see that the candle doesn’t melt the full diameter, you’ve got a case of tunneling.

With tunneling, a small melt pool forms in the centre and then burns down quickly, leaving wax on the sides. This happens when the wick is too small for the container. Pro tip: Increasing the wick size will generate more heat; increasing your wick size will extend the melt pool.

So how do you pick the correct wick size?

Using a wick size chart simplifies the process of picking the correct wick to match the diameter of the container you are using. For example, here is an HTP series (high temperature paper) and CDN Series wick chart from Blaze & Foam, a one stop shop for candle and soap supplies in Melbourne. HTP wicks are made of cotton and braided specifically for soy candles.

The most important thing is to understand what width your vessel is and then, find the appropriate size on the chart to use. The chart is also a great tool to determine what wick size you need for different types of candles and the height of your candle holder.

So remember to measure the size of your candle container and consult the manufacturer’s wick guide as a starting point.

4 factors for choosing the right wick size

Blaze & Foam has a few more fantastic tips to make it easier to pick the right wick. Deciding which candle wick to use should depend on:

  • The size of your candle. It might seem obvious, but if you want to make a small candle, like a votive or tea light, you need a smaller wick. Different size candles require different size wicks.

  • The type of wax. There are various series of wicks available for different purposes. The HTP wick from Atkins & Pearce and the CDN wick series from Wedo are both good choices for natural waxes such as soy wax.

  • The kind of candle you want to make. Container candles and pillar candles will sometimes require different wicks.

  • The diameter of the candle. Candle containers come in various diameters. Choosing a wick that is too small means the melt pool will never extend to the diameter of the vessel.

Doing your own testing is crucual with one size up and one size down with the wick chart. Also, remember to keep detailed notes so that you can replicate it next time you make candles. Changing just one factor means more wick testing is required.

While wick charts are crucial for guidance, other variables such as your chosen fragrance, dye, and wax will give you different results. Therefore, you cannot just rely on a manufacturer’s wick chart, at least not completely.

Knowing how to choose candle wick size may be a little tricky, but just follow Blaze & Foam’s wick chart and pro advice in this article and get the best possible results from your project.

Make your own scented soy candles!