How to Choose the Correct Candle Wick Size and Conduct a Burn Test

In this video, we're going to show you step by step two very important parts of excellent candle making - how to choose the correct wick size for your candle container and conduct a proper burn test. Mastering these steps will help you create the best burning and strongest candles possible!

Finding the Correct Wick Size:
The first step in finding the correct wick size for your candle is finding the inside diameter of your candle container. Once you find this measurement, you'll want to consult our wick guide. This wick guide applies to our Eco wicks with 464 soy wax.

Wick Guide

The smaller the wick number the smaller the wick size, the larger the wick number the larger the wick size. For example an eco 4 is much smaller than an eco 14. However these wick sizes are not interchangeable between different brands of wicks, an Eco 14 wick is not interchangeable with a CD 14 wick.

Conducting a Burn Test:
When conducting a burn test its best to conduct a burn test with at least 3 different wick sizes with the same candle. This means that you should have three candles with the same wax type (ex 464 soy wax), with the same fragrance, the same fragrance concentration, the same container, and the same color. The only thing different in each candle should be the wick size you are testing. You should label the front of each of your candles with the fragrance used, the percentage of fragrance used and the wick size used. This way it's easy to go back and reference each candle as you conduct the burn test.

Once you wick and pour your candles that you'll be testing, make sure you let them cure for at least 24 hours. Once they are cured you should cut the wick to 1/4" before lighting them. Light your candles and let burn around 3-4 hours depending on the diameter of the candle. The candles should be allowed to sit at least 5 hours in between conducting any additional burn tests.

Once 3 to 4 hours of burning have passed you're going to visually inspect your melt pools, write down the details, and then blow out the flames. Make sure to take detailed notes about each candle. 

The correct wick size should not have much flickering, the melt pool should reach to the edge of the container and should be 1/4" - 1/2" deep. The wick should burn cleanly without much carbon buildup, mushrooming, or soot being given off.

A wick that is too small for a container will not give a melt pool that reaches the edge of the container, it will instead tunnel down the center of the candle and may even put itself out. 

A wick that is too large for a container will have a very large flame, flickers a lot, and gives off a large amount of smoke and soot. The wick may also mushroom, when this occurs the burning wick will actually start to look like a mushroom, this mushrooming is caused by a build up of excess carbon. The melt pool is often deeper than 1/2".  

Ideally you should conduct multiple burn tests, we recommend performing at least 4 to 5 or at least you reach the bottom of the candle. This way you'll see how the candle behaves as the candle burns all the way down. If you're going to be selling your candles, customers expect your candle to burn cleanly and evenly all the way down. 

Getting a Good Hot Throw for Your Candle:
A hot throw is measured by how strong a fragrance is in a room when a candle is burning. You'll have to experiment with different percentages of fragrances and different wick sizes to find a good hot throw for your candle. 6% fragrance load is a good starting point and then you can work your way up to around 9% depending on how strong the candle smells. 

More fragrance does not always mean a strong hot throw, it's important you have the proper wick size because this provides an optimal fragrance combustion. This means that a candle with a 6% fragrance load with the right wick size may smell stronger than a 9% fragrance load with the wrong wick size. To determine which candle has the strongest hot throw you take each candle and place each in their own room. It's ideal to use rooms that are similar in size and ventilation. Let the candles burn for a couple hours and then decide which candle smells the strongest. It helps to have someone else near by to also smell the rooms and give their thoughts on which candle is stronger. 

Finding the right wick size for your candle is extremely important, once you find the correct wick size you'll know how to make the candle correctly for years to come!!