How to Make a Candle Wick

No one can ever have too many candles, especially if you make your own! They add a calming feel to any room and can be a great addition to your self-care routine. Candles can also be a terrific gift or a fun way to make some extra money.
Either way, you’re going to need candle wicks. You can always use store-bought wicks, but what’s the fun in that?
You can always try making your own DIY wicks. It's quick and easy. All you need are a few basic supplies you probably already have lying around anyway.
It’s time you put them to good use! If you’re interested in learning how to make a candle wick, keep reading.

Best Material for Candle Wicks

Candle wicks are the main component of any candle. There are multiple brands and sizes on the market to choose from.
Yet, making your own candle wicks is actually pretty simple. Plus, DIY candle wicks offer better customization for your homemade candles.
Wicks are typically braided cotton strings coated with wax. They can also be made from reusable fabrics, such as strips of old t-shirts.
Some people even use old shoelaces. Why not give it a try the next time you’re making wicks? Just remember to remove the plastic caps and give the laces a good washing first.
It’s worth mentioning that braided wicks will last much longer than twisted wicks. You can braid your own by mounting three cotton strings on a board and braid them like a friendship bracelet. Make sure the strings are straight and slightly pulled.
If you’d rather save time, you can always buy rolls of pre-braided cotton string. They’re usually available in a 200-foot spool of unwaxed string or twine.

Different Types of Candle Wicks

Candle wicks should be two or three inches longer than the candle itself. Those extra inches are to make sure that the flame doesn’t drown in the melted wax and die out too early. Plus, they add to the overall aesthetics and give the candle a charming feel.
Check out the three basic types of wicks:

Square Wicks

Candlemakers usually prefer using square wicks. They're thicker and more capable of holding up to more pasty types of wax. So, they work better with beeswax candles as opposed to something less sticky like soy wax.
When you light a square wick, it’ll curl and break off. Experts refer to this as ‘self-trimming.’

Flat Wicks

Flat wicks are another type commonly used by candlemakers. They’re made from three tightly braided cotton strings. They also curl and break off when they’re lit, like square wicks.

Cored Wicks

Cored wicks are designed to remain stiff and upright when lit. This is why they’re the best choice for smaller types of candles, such as devotional and votive candles.

How to Make a Candle Wick: Step-by-Step Instructions

Learning how to make a candle wick is pretty straightforward. Here’s everything you need to know.


  • Scissors
  • Cotton string
  • Tweezers, tongs, or pliers
  • Candle wax
  • 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.
  1. Heat one cup of water to a simmer. Turn off the heat before it reaches a full boil.
  2. Add one tablespoon of salt and three tablespoons of Borax in a heat-resistant bowl.
  3. Pour the hot water into the bowl. Stir slowly to dissolve.
  4. Cut several pieces of string, each about 1-foot long. Soak in the solution for 24 hours.
  5. 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.


You did it! You now know how to make a candle wick right in the comfort of your home.
The next step is to use your DIY wicks to make some beautiful candles. After that, kick back, relax, and enjoy some mood lighting.
Related: Talk to Someone Specializing in Arts & Crafts