Wood wick candles and how to burn them

I know a lot of people have this question - after all, wood wick candles can sometimes be tricky to burn. I myself had the same question before I started making them! This is why I wanted to put together this guide for our customers as well as anyone else who ventures to our blog in search of some useful knowledge. We also include a handy instruction sheet with all our wood wick candle purchases so you're never left in the dark (candle puns always intended)!

First of all, why have wood wick candles become so popular recently? In addition to looking nice and luxurious (lets face it, they make for a perfect Insta-shot), they often burn cleaner than traditional cotton wicks. Wood wicks have become the go-to choice for many candle-makers who use soy or other natural waxes (just like us) as they are an eco-friendly luxury touch to add to the candles. Our wood wicks also crackle when they burn, which adds a cosy fireplace atmosphere to your home in addition to the lovely scents.

So, here are our best tips to make sure you get the most out of any wood wick candle:

1. Keep the wick trimmed to around 5mm

Another one of the main issues encountered with wood wicks is that the wick has been left too long and therefore the flame is either too big or too small as it's busy eating away at the wick, rather than burning off the wax and releasing the glorious smells. This is where the type of wood comes into play - to make things even more complicated! Some wood wicks burn better when they are left a bit longer, while others need to be quite short to give you a decent sized flame. You should keep your wood wick trimmed to no longer than 5mm every time you burn the candle. You may want to cut it a bit shorter, if you find that the flame is too big or too small for your liking, however this again depends on personal preference. You should have fun trying out different wick lengths and discovering what is the perfect one for you.

You should also remember to only trim the wick when the wax is hard and cold - for obvious health and safety reasons, as well as to ensure no charred debris gets stuck in the wax to tarnish your gorgeous candle! You can use wick trimming scissors, or if you're a simple country-girl like me, just a piece of tissue to break away the excess burnt part of the wick. Make sure to trim the wick before every burn as it's a lot more difficult to cut it to your desired length after you have already lit the candle and it has started to form a wax pool.

If you notice that there is smoke or soot coming from your candle, you should trim the wick. Our soy wax candles are natural and clean-burning and therefore should not produce any smoke, unless the wick is too long. If your wood wick candle is made from non-natural waxes such as paraffin, you may get some soot or smoke regardless of your wick length - you may wish to opt for a soy candle or another natural wax candle instead to enjoy the marvellous scent throw without any unwanted smoke!

2. Lighting a wood wick candle

'Instructions on how to light a candle? Seriously?' - I know, I know, but just hear me out on this one! It is easier to light wood wick candles a bit differently from your standard cotton wick candles. Hold the candle at an angle and let the flame draw across the full length of the wick. This is especially useful if your candle has a wide wick or an x-shaped cross-wick, as it helps your wick catch fire evenly and therefore develop a more even wax pool around it.

Don't panic if the flame isn't as big as you'd like it to be when you first light the candle. It will take some time for the wick to start drawing the wax from the candle, however once it gets going, the flame will stay around the same size. This is when you can assess whether you should trim the wick before your next burn or not. Next time you light your candle, it will start burning easier as the wax has already reached the burning point on the wick and will feed the flame from the get-go.

3. Establishing a wax memory

'Does wax really have a memory?' I hear you ask. Yes, it does! And it is extremely important to get it right the first time you burn your candle. Believe me, I know how difficult it is to restrain yourself from trying your candle the moment you receive the package or get home from the shop with it - it's like Christmas morning anytime of the year when you have a new candle to try out - but you will want to make sure that you have enough time to burn the candle for at least 2-4 hours on the first burn (depending on the candle diameter and wick size). You need to make sure the candle has enough time to establish a melted wax pool reaching the edges of the container - this is what we call the wax memory, because when you burn your candle the next time, it will be easier for it to follow the same pattern.

Be cautious if you don't have enough time to let the candle create an even melt pool, as this will promote 'tunnelling'. Tunnelling is when your candle wick doesn't melt all the wax around it and instead starts to melt a smaller wax pool, creating a tunnel of wax walls around it. Not only will your candle's lifespan be cut in half (or worse!) as you have loads of unused wax around the container's edges, it will also prevent oxygen from reaching the flame. Your candle might not be able to burn to the end and just leaves you with a few hours of joyful smells, instead of 30, 40 or 50 hours depending on your candle size.

Developing a wax memory is a good tip for all container candles, not just the ones with wood wicks, however I have included this point here as it is an important one to bear in mind if you want to get the most out of your wood wick candles.

4. If you have tried the above but your candle still tunnels or drowns in wax

If your wick is drowning in too much melted wax, try extinguishing the candle and mopping up some of the melted wax with a tissue. This should allow the wick enough oxygen to burn a bit brighter and avoid starting to drown in wax again.

If you have severe tunnelling with your candle but still want to try and make the most of it, try scooping out the excess wax from the sides of the container until the surface of the candle is smooth and level again, like a new candle. Once you have done that, it is more important than ever to let the wax memory form properly before extinguishing your candle, as otherwise it will keep tunnelling again and again. To avoid losing out on account of the excess wax you have scraped out of the container, you can use it in a wax melt burner instead. This way, you may actually get even more out of your candle as wax melt burners tend to make the scent last longer than a candle. Here's a bonus for all your hard work with a problematic candle!

I hope all the above will help you with your wood wick candles (or any other candles), but if there are any additional issues you have encountered and need help with, please feel free to get in touch below in comments and we can help you solve the problems so you can get back to enjoying your candles!

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