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How to properly wick container candles

In a properly wicked container candle:

  • The flame is approximately 1" (2.5 cm) tall, not flickering excessively
  • Wax melts across top of the container from edge to edge
  • The melt pool is 1/4 - 3/4" (6-19 mm) deep
  • Wax burns cleanly at the flame without smoke or soot
  • After the candle has burned from top to bottom, wax is completely consumed leaving the sides clean.

How to choose the right wick:

Step 1. Go to our Wick Guide home page and view our wick recommendation chart.  Follow the prompts:

Step 2. Find your wax on the chart and then find the diameter of your container

Step 3. You will see the recommended wick size for your candle where your selected wax and candle diameter intersect on the chart.

We recommend you use the wick guide as a starting point to conduct your own testing as we cannot guarantee that the recommended wick will work perfectly in your candles.

Note: Wick up one or two sizes if you're using more than 1 oz. of fragrance oil per pound of wax (approx. 28 g of fragrance per 454 g of wax), if you're using a dense fragrance, and/or a lot of dye or dark colors. Wick down a size or two if using less than 1 oz. (28 g) of fragrance oil, a thin fragrance, or no dye.

Find the Best Wick Series

When testing for wick size, we used CandleScience waxes, 1 oz. (28 g) of medium density fragrance oil per pound of wax, and a medium shade of dye. Burn tests were also conducted using different container diameters, and our results are listed in the Wick Guide recommendations. We list the series that produced the best lab results as our recomended wick. 

All of our wicks are made primarily with all-natural cotton threads. Some have additional fibers (or treatments) that produce unique qualities. A full description of the components of a wick series is proprietary information and not published by the manufacturer.

CD Wick Series

CD (Stabilo) Wick is a flat braided cotton wick with paper threads woven into the cotton. The reinforced construction of the wick is designed to ensure a consistent burn with higher fragrance loads, especially with softer, more viscous natural waxes.

Recommended for:

ECO Wick Series

An excellent choice for soy candles, ECO series wick is a flat cotton wick braided with thin paper threads that gives the wick a rigid structure without the need for a core. This wick has a good burn stability that works well in votives, containers and pillars. ECO wicks also work well with wax blends and low melt point paraffin waxes.

Recommended for:

CSN Wick Series

We no longer carry CSN wicks.

HTP Wick Series

We no longer carry HTP wicks.

LX Wick Series

LX Wick is a flat braided cotton wick with a rigid structure for easy pouring. Compared to other wicks, this wick burns with a tighter controlled flame that makes it the best wick for paraffin waxes. Great for paraffin containers, pillars and votives, the consistent flame ensures glass containers don't overheat on one side and that pillars don't 'tunnel' or leak out the side of the candle.

Recommended for:

Create Your Test Candles

Prepare the test candles:

  • Make 2-3 candles using the same size containers, wax and fragrance/dye combination.
  • Put a different size wick of the same series in each candle.
  • Label jars with wick size.
  • Wait at least 24 hours before starting the burn test.

Test Burn Your Candles

Check out our article How to Conduct a Burn Test for specific burn testing directions and our Tutorial Video: Choosing the Right Wick Size. Test all candles simultaneously to save time and make comparisons easier. If you find that you need to test another size, the most productive method is to wick up or down within the same series before trying a different one. Jumping from series to series can produce confusing results.

Candle wick trouble-shooting for container candles

While trying these tips may not solve the problem, they rule out common mistakes before deciding to test a different size wick.
If flame is too small, leave the wick longer before lighting (about 5/8" or 16 mm). If the wick is trimmed too short, it won't create the correct flame height and enough heat to melt the wax. The flame should be approximately 1" (2.5 cm) tall.

If flame is too tall and/or flickering, trim the wick shorter before lighting.

If the melt pool doesn't go to the edge of the container, (1) allow the candle to burn for 3-4 hrs. at one lighting. Burning the candle for a shorter period might not allow time for the wax to melt. (2) Be sure you have a 1" (2.5 cm) flame.

If there's wax left on the sides of the jar after the first one or two burn cycles, continue the burn test if it's 1/8" (3 mm) thick or less. During the first cycles, most of the heat from the flame goes out the top of the candle and may not create an ideal melt pool. As the wax is consumed and the flame gets down inside the container, more heat is retained inside the jar and may melt off the wax left from the first cycles.

If the wick is sooting, there are three factors that could cause this:

  • Poor quality wax
  • Poor quality or too much fragrance oil
  • Wrong size or type of wick

Sooting is a result of too much fuel (wax plus fragrance plus dye) being pulled up through the wick to burn off cleanly at the flame.