We have all been there! We buy a candle that doesn’t burn through all the way. After much frustration, we throw it in the bin. However, do you wonder why this is the case? It all boils down to the wicks, which get very little attention amidst the candle’s beautiful colours, scents and vessels. Wicks are essentially the fuel delivered to the flame. The size difference allows for different amounts of energy to reach the flame. Too much of it can cause sooting, and too little can cause tunnelling.
The history of wicks goes back a thousand years ago when Egyptians created wicks with animal fat that was melted into its liquid form to pour over fibres of hemp and cotton. Following the Egyptians, the Roman Empire took it a notch further by loosely weaving fibres together. This improved and lengthened the burning time that has evolved and is now called the modern wick.
How do they work?
The way wicks works are fascinating and intricate. The wicks are naturally made of absorbent materials as there is a need for strong capillary action. This enables the fuel (liquid hot wax) to ‘travel’ up the wick, enabling the candle to burn. Also, the type of wicks played a big part in how a candle burns.
The different types of wicks available
Most wicks are categorised by their name and shape. Some can be handmade but you will find most in the market made by specialised machinery. The following are the most popular types of wick available:
Zinc core wicks
Zinc candle wicks are a cotton braid wick with an inner zinc core. The zinc core structure provides maximum rigidity and strength to keep the wick straight in melted wax. They typically are known to pair better with paraffin wax.
As the name suggests, these wicks are made of wood, creating a distinct crackling ambience when you burn the candle. However, as wood is not uniform, it requires more attention, such as regular wick trimming to ensure smooth burning.
Paper core wicks
Paper core wick is made with 100 percent natural fibres and features a cotton outer braid surrounding an inner paper filament. This wick type’s paper core enables the wick to remain rigid in the molten wax pool and works best in votives, pillars and container candles.
Cotton wicks are made from braided strands of cotton. These are compressed and dipped in wax so that they hold their shape. Using cotton wicks also helps achieve an even heat ratio and smooth melt pool.
Hemp wicks are twines of hemp coated with beeswax to help it act as a candlestick that provides a slow and consistent burn. They are also lead and zinc free, producing too little or no smoke. It pairs well with all types of wax.
We want you to enjoy a smooth burning experience from start to finish when you burn our candles, so we have made Gentle Glow candles with cotton wicks as they work well with soy wax and produce a tall flame at the wick’s tip.
What Are Candle Wicks Made Of?