Simple Paraffin Candle - Choosing Wicks

In this short tutorial, we will show you how to choose and test wicks using SASOL 6213 paraffin wax.  You will make 6 candles in all, with some colour and fragrance added.

Although we will use a specific fragrance and dye in this tutorial, please feel free to change the fragrance or dye as required, as this won't change the aim of the tutorial, which is to work through the process of choosing and testing candle wicks.

This is a great beginners exercise for a number of reasons. 

Firstly: we are using paraffin wax with only 5% fragrance, so the candles are relatively easy to make.  This formulation has also been tested in our lab.

Secondly: vegetable or blended wax candles can be far more difficult to get right, so this is a great confidence booster for those new to the craft, or those who dived straight in with vegetable waxes.  

Finally: by the end of this tutorial, you should have a working knowledge of how to choose initial wicks for a new formula, how to fully test your preferred wick and what records to keep. 

As a bonus, the tutorial also shares tools for choosing wax and fragrance quantities, wick selection and burn testing.

You will also have made some candles that look nice, smell nice (hopefully) and burn well.  Not bad for a first attempt.

After completing this tutorial, you can then extend what you have learned with different vessels, fragrances and colours.

Wick Selection

Before diving into candle making, it is important that we have an understanding of how we will choose wicks for the candle(s).  A great start point for this is the Wedo Wick Configurator.

Into the configurator, I have added the candle type (container candle), wax (100% paraffin) and have set the diameter to 74mm (20cl tin).  This is the 'inside' diameter of the tin.  

As you change these inputs, the configurator makes wick suggestions.  For this example, we will choose 3 wicks to try from those listed: LX14, VRL9 and V10.

The wick configurator usually suggests two types of wicks.  Those for easy to wick formulations (left column), and those for more challenging formulations (right).  For highly scented candles (7%+), you will generally require wicks from the right column, whereas for less challenging blends (lower fragrance), you can often get away with those in the left column.  It is always worth trying wicks from both initially, unless you have direct experience to the contrary.

Our candle will contain 0.2% colour and 5% fragrance and have a net fill weight of around 180g.  To determine how much fragrance to use, we can use an online candle calculator. 

To use the calculator, we add the vessel fill (180g), the number of candles we intend to make (6) and the percentage of fragrance (5%).  This is shown below...

Once we enter this information, the bottom half of the calculator will provide details on the amount of wax and perfume required to make the candles...

So, to make 6 candles, we will require 1.03kg of wax and 54g of fragrance.  If you are buying supplies specifically for this tutorial, we can round these down to 1kg and 50g, as we generally over-fill our perfume bottles by 3-4 grams.

In addition to fragrance, we want to dye these candles.  For this, we will use Bekro dye, which is typically used at 0.2%.  So, for 1kg of wax, we will need approximately 2g of dye.  We will be using Violet (60/1127), but please feel free to experiment with other Bekro dyes should you prefer a different colour.

Component List

1kg SASOL 621350g

Damson Plum, Rose and Patchouli fragrance oil (or choose your own)

10 x V10 wicks

10 x LX14 wicks

10 x VRL9 wicks

6 x 20cl Silver tins

10 x Wick Pads

1 x 10g bag of Violet (60/1127) Bekro dye (or choose your own)

3 x WickClaw for 20cl Tin (or 30cl Jar)

Two Stages

In the second stage, we will burn three more candles, using exactly the same wick, to ensure we have the wick selection correct.

Making the first three candles

1.  Melt 500g of the SASOL 6213 in a double boiler until it reaches 65-70 Deg. C.