Finding alternative sources for candle wicks?

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Original Post

Hope I didn't miss this in my search through the forums, but I'm pretty sure this is a new topic...

So I'm interested in reusing candle wax and glass containers to make my own candles, and I'm wondering if anyone has tried using something for their candle wicks that they didn't originally come from a craft store. Has anyone ever tried using cotton packing string as a candle wick? I regularly come across stuff like this at my work office, for example, and would love to repurpose it:

Posted at 10:35pm Jul 26, 2009 EDT


I think that would burn for about 2 seconds. Why don't you want to use wicks that are made just for candles?

Posted at 10:40pm Jul 26, 2009 EDT

I figured as much!

One big reason I enjoy making stuff by hand these days is that I have the choice of repurposing things that may have otherwise gone in the trash. I used to love shopping at those mega crafting stores for materials, but it just doesn't make much sense to me anymore--all the little knick knacks in their plastic packaging produced en masse, possibly produced using environmentally damaging methods, that will probably be thrown out at the end of a season if they can't get rid of the overstock. At least for me, the excess of it all seems to go against the point of handmade.

I know I'm painting a picture of the extreme. And, making something out of crappy materials makes no sense either.

Posted at 11:05pm Jul 26, 2009 EDT

crochetgal says

I would never even think of using string as a candle wick. I just did a candlemaking / soap making weekend and we were told that under no circumstances were we to use anything other than candle wicking for a candle. Basically its a safety thing.

Posted at 11:33pm Jul 26, 2009 EDT

Hm, I just found instructions for candle wick making online!

I already have Borax for cleaning the bathroom, so I might give this a try at some point.

Posted at 11:53pm Jul 26, 2009 EDT

I reuse glass containers to make my candles that I sell, (and have reused wax from pillar candles for my own purposes), but I never thought about the possibility of making my own wicks. I would hesitate to do that, though, because having the right wick size for the container you use is soooooo vital to how well the candle burns, and it would be very tricky to create the right wick size on your own. The smallest change in size of the wick effects the burn.

Are you meaning to make these candles just for your own purposes, or do you intend to sell them? If you are just making them for yourself, I would say give it a shot! That tutorial that theveryfiber posted looks like fun.

Posted at 1:04pm Jul 27, 2009 EDT

Haha, yes, I did post an answer to my own question!

I'd be making them for myself, then maybe friends/family if they turn out well. I wouldn't have even thought much about the size of the wick affecting the burn that much despite seeing wick size mentioned a few times online, so thanks for mentioning that!

I happen to have a bunch of candles lying around at home, so I'm going to inspect their wicks to get an idea of what size I should be aiming for as I experiment.

Love your teacup/mug candles, btw.

Posted at 9:02pm Jul 27, 2009 EDT

SuperBad says

Please research wicks thoroughly and containers as well. Not all glass is suitable for candles or the heat they put out. You could end up with a mess of hot wax or worst burning down your house.

For real.

I'm sure some chandlers here will chime in with some good websites to start your research.

Posted at 9:27pm Jul 27, 2009 EDT

Thanks for the advice! Maybe I'll start with my used glass candle containers and tin cans to play it safe.

Posted at 10:41pm Jul 27, 2009 EDT

I believe that a candle wicks has to be a braided structure (not spun like string or yarn).

Here is a reference chart on wick sizes:

Yes! Be safe - use only heat-proof type glass. And always melt wax in a double boiler.

Posted at 9:57am Jul 28, 2009 EDT

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