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You can buy several different types and thicknesses of wick in a craft or candle supply store. You can get them on a spool by the foot, or pre-cut waxed and tabbed for container candles. When using spooled raw wick, it is best to prime your wicks before using, by dipping them a couple of times in melted wax to coat them. This helps the wicks burn better and prevents air bubbles releasing from the wick into the surrounding wax.


Wicking Pillars

 

Some pillar molds come with pre-drilled wick holes that you wick before pouring the candle. To hold the wick at the top, tie the wick to a wick rod or a pencil and lay it on top of the mold. Make sure the wick hangs in the very center of the mold! When making molded candles and you plan to overdip them, remember to leave a couple extra inches of wick to hold onto when dipping. Other pillar molds have no wick hole, and require using an auto wick pin instead. Some candlemakers also pour their pillars solid and then drill a wick hole afterward.


Wicking Containers

 

Container wicks need to be anchored to the bottom of your container. Many people use a hot glue gun to affix the tab to the glass, or you can use Wick Stickums which are a double sided adhesive tape pieces cut to fit perfectly on the bottom of a wick tab. You will need something to hold the top of the wick taut and straight on the top of the container while the wax dries. Wick holder clips work very well, and if the container is very small a bobby pin will do the trick. (Note: It is important that the tab be secured to the container and not just set in the wax, because as the candle burns down and becomes liquid near the bottom, an unaffixed wick could come loose and float to one side of your glass and cause it to get too hot and shatter.)


Wicking Votives

 

Votives can be wicked after pouring when the wax has only slightly set up. When the wax forms a slight skin on top, insert your pre-tabbed wick in the center, and push the tab down in the layer of congealed wax in the bottom of the mold.


Square Braid

 

Square Braid cotton wick is used in the majority of beeswax candles, tapers, pillars and citronella candles. This wick is also designed to give a slight bend at its tip when burning.


Flat Braid

 

Flat Braid Wick is used in taper and pillar candles. This wick is designed to bend slightly when burned allowing for an even burn and a reduction of carbon (mushrooming) at the tip.


Zinc Core

 

Metal is used in wicks to help them stand up in candles that produce deeper melt pools. Zinc core burns the coolest and is the most commonly used wick type in container candles, votives and tea lights. Note: These are known to mushroom and sometimes smoke more than other types. (In the past Lead and Tin were sometimes used, but those are no longer on the market in the US.)


Paper Core

 

Paper core burns the hottest and is good for waxes that require heavy duty wicking to achieve a good melt pool. Used in container candles. Note: Some candlemakers report that these cause candles to smoke more in some applications.


Hemp Core

 

Hemp is a strong natural fiber which makes for rigid wicks that will stand up straight while burning. Can be used in containers, votives and pillars.


Coreless Cotton

 

These all cotton braided wicks are designed to bend at the tip when burning, forcing the tip of the wick into the outer portion of the flame where it burns the hottest. This causes more complete combustion, leaving less carbon (mushroom) behind and less smoking, making for a cleaner burn. These also tend to require less trimming, and are sometimes referred to as "self trimming". Usually used in container candles as an alternative to cored wicks.