Candlemaking is my favorite craft right now. Any tips or advise on how to improve my skills?
Carol C., Campton, NH
I wish you’d said if you had a specific style of candle you like making. There are so many styles including votives, pillars, container, rolled, tapered, and tealight. Plus there are a variety of waxes used for candles including beeswax, paraffin, soy, and gel.
One of the most important elements of a candle is the wick. You have Zinc cored, flat braid, square braid, waxed, and pre-tabbed. The tab is the metal piece used as an anchor for the wick. A Zinc cored wick can stand up on its own as will the waxed wick, but the braided wicks don’t have any body or weight and will flap down. Wood wicks are also now available for candlemaking. Pick the right wick for your candle. There are some guidelines on Wikipedia.
The larger in diameter the candle, the more wicks you should consider using to make the candle burn at its best and longest. For example if you have a container or pillar candle that is 10” in diameter, a single wick will end up leaving much unused wax. It’s much better to use more wicks evenly spaced. Always trim the wick of a candle to 1/4” before burning. Excess wick will either mushroom or burn too hot. And speaking of hot, chilling your candles before use will lengthen the burning time of your candle. So keep a few in the refrigerator!
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