Wick Comparisons

Comparing high temp paper to square braid cotton in a small candle

I've been testing a few different wicks for a small soy wax tart candle.  I am using Golden Brands 415 soy container wax.

I will be making these candles with a whipped cream (soy-paraffin blend) topping, but for my test, the whipped wax was only applied to the edges.  Since my test, I have made a test candle with the full topping (total weight of candle is 2-ounces) using a 2/0 and it burns wonderfully for about nine hours or so.

The wicks I have tested were in a candle poured into a foil tart pan 2.75" across ... HTP 41, HTP 52, and square braid cotton 2/0.  My favorite turned out to be the cotton wick. 

I tested these because I had some sample HTP wicks in my stock and wanted to see how they would compare.  According to references about these wicks, either one of them looked as though they might suit this size candle based on the melt pool size for these wicks.  Most of the size charts I looked at seemed to be for paraffin wax, however, and not for soy.

The "41" is suggested for small candles of about 2" and the "52" is suggested for a candle approx. 2-2.5".  

According to one source the flame heights for these wicks in paraffin is 1.41 for "41" and 1.50 for the "50."  In these soy candles, I would not say that these flames reached those heights.

When my three test candles were first lit, they all looked about the same, but as time went on, there was a definite difference in their performance. 

By the end of the test burn, the cotton 2/0 wick had melted most of the wax to the edge of the candle ... the HTP wicks did not accomplish this and those candles still had wax on the edges when they were finished burning.

The HTP 41 had a much smaller flame and actually went out at one point, it was relit, but did not perform well at all in this candle.  The HTP 52 burned alright, but did not create a melt pool out to the edge of the candle.  With the cotton wick, nearly all of the wax was consumed by the end of the burn.  You can see in the following picture that the flame height and appearance of the cotton wick looks much difference than the HTP wicks.

These are close-ups of all three wicks ...

While looking at specifications for the various wicks, it's interesting to note the melt pool size, flame height, and burn rate,  as well as any other specifics about any particular wick.  If you are new to making candles, this is really an important part of your candle design and don't get discouraged if a wick doesn't work out ... it might be perfect for another type of candle.  Always make sure to test burn your candles before you give them away, recording your type of wax, amount used, size of container, any additives used, etc. 

I am not a wick expert and I see there is a lot to learn!  This is why I decided to post my results.  Maybe if you are doing a similar project, this can save you some time! 

You may see other wick posts from me in the future!

P.S.  I would also like to add that I have seen instruction pages or videos that mention that when working with raw wick in certain candles, that there is no need to dip them in wax before securing them as "they will stand up by themselves" (for instance).  In my experience, wicks should always be primed, regardless if they are rigid or not ... I was taught that the priming has to do with the burning, not the position or rigidity.

Questionable Candles

Most likely I will be adding to this topic, as I've been seeing some things that really make me scratch my head lately!  

In the following video, which is supposed to be about "realistic" dessert candles, I found it very perplexing.  

Also, I would like to mention that the word "embed" is pronounced just as it sounds.  Most gel candle makers know that one of the fun things about gel candles is that you can embed decorations, such as marbles, glass figurines, or hard wax shapes (approx. 165 dF wax) that are created in candy molds.  The reason they are a hard wax has to do with the embedding process (not what this post is about), for instance, in a glass where the partially-cooled gel is poured (the hard wax has less of a chance of melting.)  

These wax pieces can also be used to adorn fruit bowl candles, for instance, and in some cases they need not be created with such a hard wax.  In any case, the term we've come to know them as is "embeds."  

When using embeds in a gel candle, whether in a glass or bowl, there are a couple of things to make sure of ... one of them to make sure that they do not bump up against the wick, which throws it off-center.  In the case of the video below, the wicks are at a slant, which is not a safety consideration so much in a bowl candle of this sort as it is in a glass container, but it still doesn't look as nice. 

Another thing to make sure of when making dessert candles is to keep in mind what is going to happen when the candle is burning ... the wax needs a place to pool.  If there is a "cave" of some sort around the wick, a wick can burn straight down until it meets up with pool of some sort and this is not the way a candle should burn!  On the subject of wicks in gel candles, 1/4" has always been the standard, acceptable length for the wick ... both in presentation as well as in safety instructions.  

As much as I do not like to criticize crafters in their art, when it comes to candles, imo, both safety and presentation go a very long way!  I see a lot of things wrong about the candle in the following video and it bothers me when I see instructions given that do not follow safety concerns or explain things correctly.

Now for one of the videos I found at youtube ...

Old-time Bayberry Candles
One scent that never goes out of style where candles are concerned seems to be Bayberry! 

This is a quick post to explore a little history of bayberry and how it comes to be a favorite. 

Bayberry candles in colonial times

And, here's a glimpse of how traditional bayberry candles were made ...