What Are Wicks?
Wicks are a bundle of fibers or a loosely twisted, braided, or woven cord, tape, or tube usually of soft spun cotton threads that by capillary attraction draws up to be burned a steady supply of the oil in lamps or the melted tallow or wax in candles. (Merriam-Webster)
Are There More Than One Type Of Wick?
Oh Yes! There are hundreds of different types and sizes of wicks. Based off of the type of wax, fragrance or essential oil, size and shape of your candle container, your wick choice will be different.
In general, wicks can be divided into the following major types:
- Flat Wicks. These flat-plaited or knitted wicks, usually made from three bundles of fiber, are very consistent in their burning and curl in the flame for a self-trimming effect. They are the most commonly used wicks, and are often found in taper and pillar candles.
- Square Wicks. These braided or knitted wicks also curl in the flame, but are more rounded and a bit more robust than flat wicks. They are preferred for beeswax applications and can help inhibit clogging of the wick, which can occur with certain types of wax formulations, pigments or fragrances.
- Cored Wicks. These braided or knitted wicks use a core material to keep the wick straight or upright while burning. The wicks have a round cross section, and the use of different core materials provides a range of stiffness effects. The most common core materials for wicks are cotton, paper, zinc or tin. Cored wicks can be found in jar candles, pillars, votives and devotional lights.
- Wooden Wicks. Wooden wicks have become popular in recent years for the visual aesthetic they create and the soft crackling sound they create. Wooden wicks are available as single-ply, multi-layered, curved and decorative shaped wicks made from 100% wood, semi-wood, fibrous material or cotton and wood combinations.
- Specialty Wicks. These wicks are specially designed to meet the burn characteristics of specific candle applications, such as oil lamps and insect-repelling candles.
How Important Is It To Have The Right Wick?
A wick's purpose is to fuel a flame to allow the wax in your candle to liquify and burn. Choosing the wrong wick for your candle can end up having your candle either burn to fast or not at all. On occasion, a wick can be a dud, however; that is unknown until the wick is actually lit.