Learning how to make a candle wick is pretty straightforward. Here’s everything you need to know.
Tweezers, tongs, or pliers
Optional: Borax, salt, vegetable oil
Some candlemakers treat their cotton string with Borax before coating it with melted wax. Others dip the string in a water and salt solution to make it stiffer.
Even coating the string in plain old vegetable oil seems to do the trick. It keeps the flame burning brighter and improves wax flow.
You can also simply dip the string in melted wax, leave it to dry, and call it a day! It depends on your personal preference and what supplies you have on hand.
Borax helps keep the wick upright and reduces smoke and ashes. Plus, it enhances the color of the flame and keeps the candle burning longer.
Would you like to give candle wicks a primary coating of borax? Then, start with the following steps before dunking the string in melted wax.
Heat one cup of water to a simmer. Turn off the heat before it reaches a full boil.
Add one tablespoon of salt and three tablespoons of Borax in a heat-resistant bowl.
Pour the hot water into the bowl. Stir slowly to dissolve.
Cut several pieces of string, each about 1-foot long. Soak in the solution for 24 hours.
Using tweezers, remove the strings and lay them on a drying rack for three days to dry.
The five steps below are for making wicks without Borax, or after the Borax-coated strings have fully dried.
Step 1: Cut the String
Measure the length of the candle. Remember that the wick should be two or three inches longer than the candle to make sure it burns at a steady rate.
Step 2: Set Up the Water Bath
A water bath is a perfect setup when melting wax. The easiest way to prepare a water bath is to use a metal can or small pot and place it inside a large saucepan.
Fill the larger pan with an inch or two of water and place it on the stove. When the water starts to simmer, turn down the heat.
Next, set the empty metal can or small saucepan in the larger container with the hot water.
Step 3: Melt the Wax
Cut off about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of candle wax and place it in the metal can. Wait until it melts.
Melted wax can be a serious health hazard. Work slowly and be extremely careful when handling the containers and the melted wax.
Step 4: Soak the String
Take the cotton strings and dunk them in the melted wax. Make sure you coat the entire string, as well as on both ends.
Step 5: Dry the String
Position a drying rack over a sheet of aluminum foil. Once the entire string has been coated with the melted wax, remove it using tweezers, tongs, or pliers.
Lay it straight on the drying rack. Let it dry for about 10 minutes until it hardens and becomes stiff.