Choosing the Right Wick SizeThe CandleScience guide to choosing the right wick size for your candle.
One of the most important aspects of candle making is choosing the right wick size for your candle. A properly wicked candle burns cleaner, and gives reliable burn times and fragrance throw.
These three candles have been burning for 2 hours. The candle in the middle has the proper wick size. The flame is appropriately sized and does not flicker. The melt pool has extended to the edge of the container, and is about 1/2 inch deep. The wick is burning cleanly without any carbon build up. This is what a properly wicked candle looks like.
The candle on the left is under wicked meaning the wick size is too small for the candle. An under wicked candle will not burn out to the edge of the container but will instead burn down the middle, or 'tunnel'. The wick may extinguish itself before all the wax is burned.
The candle on the right is over wicked meaning the wick size is too large for the candle. It's easy to tell because the flame is too tall and flickers continually. The melt pool is deeper than 1/2 inch, and the wick is producing excess carbon that causes the 'mushrooming' you see on the end of the wick, and the carbon balls that have fallen off into the melt pool. Wisps of soot can be seen leaving the flame periodically. If left to burn all the way, soot will build up on the inside of the container. The container will become very hot and could damage the surface underneath or even crack.
The Side of the Candle
Looking at the side of the candles shows the difference in melt pool depth between the properly wicked middle candle, and the over wicked candle on the right. It is also apparent how much faster the candle on the right is consuming the wax. An over wicked candle will not burn as long as one wicked correctly.
Understanding Wick Sizes
All the wicks available through CandleScience follow the same rule. Within a series the larger the number, the larger the wick. So a CSN 16 is always bigger than a CSN 12, and a CSN 7 is always smaller than a CSN 9. But the numbers between series are not comparable. For instance an LX-22 may or may not be bigger than a CSN 22.
While the CandleScience wick guide will give you a good starting point, different fragrances and colors can effect the wicking. So if you test your candle with an LX 14 and after testing it appears to be under wicked, try the next size up, in that case an LX 16.
Now that you know what to look for, adjusting the wick size of your over or under wicked candle is easy.
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