Are You Having Issues With Your Wooden Wick?


On Sunday I participated in the Garden Marlborough Fete. Thank – you for all the support I received. It was my first ever fete/market and I was delighted with how successful the day was.

Over the last year I have been experimenting with different waxes, wicks and fragrances to try and find the perfect combination. The soy/coco wax I now use is very resilient to warmth and cold (necessary in Marlborough) and throws a lovely cold and warm scent. It also burns very cleanly.

When talking with some customers at the Fete I heard that some were having trouble with their wooden wicks so I have decided to give you all the tips I know to fix any issues. If you still can’t get mine going properly please let me know & I can replace your candle with a normal cotton wicked candle free of charge. ( I want to keep my customers happy ).

I use wooden wicks because I love their unique flicker and the ambience they create but then can be a bit tricky to get used to. Wooden Wicks  burn in a different way to the traditional cotton wicks and they do have a few common issues that may cause them to not stay lit. With this in mind I will change my range to include cotton wicks as well in my larger candles so there will be more options.

Please remember I love getting feedback. If there are issues I am more than happy to fix them. The problem with candle making is that you can’t burn them all to know how a particular combination goes so please let me know. It can be as simple as a fraction too much fragrance that will make a difference in the burn quality.

On that note here are a few good practices to get your wooden wicks and also your cotton wicks going smoothly.


1. How to Light a Wooden Wick

You’ll want to light these differently from cotton wicks, but it’s easy.

When lighting a wood wick candle, the best technique is to tilt the candle on an angle and let the flame draw across the length of the wick (kind of like how you tilt a match after lighting).



It may also take several tries to get it lit! The heat from the flame needs to draw the wax through the wick before it will really start burning nicely. Just give it another try  if it doesn’t work the first time – once you get it going once, it should light up more easily from there. I  use a gas lighter but long matches are good as well. We don’t want any burnt finger tips.

2. Keep your wood wick trimmed short and free of charred bits.

If your wood wick candle won’t stay lit it’s probably because the wick is too long, or it needs to be trimmed clean of charred material.

Remember it’s not the wood fuelling your candle’s flame, it’s the wax. The flame is drawing the wax upwards through the wick, so if it’s not trimmed short and clean, the wax can’t make it to the flame. Trim your wick down to about .4cm or 1/9th ”  – which is probably a bit smaller than you might think and remove any charred bits. I use a wick trimmer but nail clippers or scissors work as well. I also push the crystals well away from the wick as they can extinguish the flame.  It is also a great time to remove the flowers out of the candle so you get a cleaner burn and they don’t get singed. For most cotton wicks the ideal length is about .6cm or 1/4 inch.

Make sure to let your candle cool before trimming ( goes without saying ), as you don’t want any bits of ash or wick material left in the wax when you’re done. It’s much easier to clean this up when the wax is hard and cool!

3. The First Burn is the Most Important.

In my safety instructions I tell you about how candles have a memory.  For the first burn it is important to let the candle burn long enough for the melted wax to reach the edge of the candle.

If you don’t allow your candle enough time to form a full melt pool on the first burn, a little depression or “tunnel” may start to form around the wick. This will make it more difficult for the wax around the edges of the jar to melt, causing the tunneling effect to continue with each burn. Eventually the tunnel will become too deep for fresh oxygen to flow in, and your candle will have trouble staying lit for more than short periods of time. I suggest 2 to 3 hours for my larger jars and about 1 hour for the smaller jars.

This is a good practice for all jar candles, not just those with wooden wicks. After the first use, you don’t have to let a full wax pool form every single time, but it is ideal if you want to get the most life out of your candle. Just make sure you give your jar candles a nice long burn every so often to “reset” the wax memory and prevent any tunneling.



4. How to Fix Tunneling

If your candle has tunnelled down don’t worry it can be fixed.

First and best option: if your candle will stay lit, give it a good long burn until all the wax is melted to the edge of the jar, and you’ve effectively “reset” the memory of the wax. The flame height may vary when you do this, but as long as there is still a burn, it should continue to create a melt pool, just be patient.

If your candle won’t stay lit because it is “drowning” in a wax pool, try using a paper towel or napkin to soak up some of the excess wax or when the wax has cooled a bit pour the excess wax into an old tin. Don’t pour any wax down the drain as it will block the drain.

Then wait for a minute or so, relight your candle, and repeat until your wick has room to breathe!

Using your hairdryer is also a good way. Turn it on to heat on a low blow setting and turn the heat towards the uneven sides of the candle. Work around the portion of uneven wax to spread it evenly. Then use the same steps above to soak up excess wax.

Popping it in the oven for 2 minutes at 180 C or 175 F  degrees will melt the sides down too and you then once again mop up the excess wax. Do not put your candle in the microwave as most candles have metal at the bottom of the wick.

Lastly  the foil method can be used. Completely cover the top of your jar with foil .  Cut a whole/s where the wick/s are.  Light your candle and leave it for a few hours. The foil will retain the heat inside longer and allow the sides to melt. Remove excess wax as mentioned.



I hope this helps you all get the best out of your candle but do please let me know if there are ongoing issues.


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