Wood Wicks For Beginners • Armatage Candle Company (2024)

Published by Kevin Fischer on

Wood wicks are easier to get started with than you think, even if you’re a complete beginner.

Their elusive and unique characteristics appear as a challenge for novice candle makers compared to traditional cotton wicks, but they really aren’t once you understand them.

Building wood wick candles is not terribly different from normal candles. In both cases, you melt and combust wax with a wick in the middle – the only difference being the wick’s design.

Not that choosing a wick is easy, but incorporating wooden wicks follows the same process as before.

Most people crave wooden wicks for their crackling properties and because they’re neat.

Candle makers using them in their product line easily differentiate themselves by offering a trendy and alluring design compared to traditional cotton wicks.

In this guide, we’ll cover the following:

  1. Overview of types
  2. Wood wicks vs cotton wicks
  3. Recommended wax types
  4. How to pick the right wick size
  5. Why wooden wicks crackle

Let’s dive in!

Wood Wicks Overview

Wood wicks aren’t much different than cotton wicks, but they are unique and relatively new.

In the last 5 years or so, their popularity has grown, especially as more and more people are making candles.

Odds are good that if you’re using them, they come from The Wooden Wick Co. because of patents making it difficult for other companies to compete.

Technically Lumetique, Inc owns the patents, however it’s tricky to enter the market as a manufacturer without confronting U.S. patent law.

When you hear candle makers talk about wood wicks, they’re referring to commercially available wicks of the same brand, not just wicks made from wood.

Making your own wicks is possible, but difficult to scale and control quality.

Wicks come from cherry, oak, birch, maple, balsa, rosewood, or some combination (according to the patent’s description), available as one of the following types.

Single Ply Wick (Flat Wick)

The single-ply wick is the de facto wooden wick most people think of.

A single strip of wood characterized by three factors:

  • Crackle type – Whisper (quieter) or Crackling (louder)
  • Thickness – the thinnest dimension. Ranges from 0.02″ to 0.04″ usually.
  • Width – the flat side of the wick. Ranges from 0.375″ to 0.75″ usually.

The Wooden Wick Co. offers custom sizes, but the main factors pretty much remain.

Single-ply wicks perform best in non-natural candle waxes, like paraffin, parasoy, or blends that contain palm or coconut wax. Most natural waxes struggle to maintain consistent performance without a booster strip.

Booster Wick

Booster wicks function a lot like single-ply (flat) except they have an additional strip of wood down the middle.

That’s it.

They have their own patents, and function with a little more oomph than the non-boosted wicks. If you’re trying to integrate wood wicks with natural waxes, boosted wicks offer the capacity and strength required to handle them.

Just like single-ply, you can characterize booster wicks by their crackle type, thickness, and width. Ignore the extra strip and you’ll be fine.

Spiral Wick

The spiral wick is kind of like a core-less cotton wick made from wood.

Shipped in a tube to hold the shape, spiral wicks are essentially just a sheet of wood wrapped into a… spiral. The main difference between them is thickness. Thicker wicks burn hotter, so use them in larger diameter containers.

As far as recommendations, these are fairly difficult to consistently design around and aren’t recommended for any serious candle products unless you’re okay with frequent changes in behavior and test results.

Wood Wicks vs Cotton Wicks


By design, wood wicks operate the same as cotton. Larger cross sectional areas offer greater throughput of wax fluid plus higher thermal energy output by the flame.

The primary difference with wood wicks is you don’t need to choose a type of wood… you simply use the wood wick designed with a booster strip or not (unless you go fancy with a spiral or tube wick).

Cotton wicks exist in many different thread designs and core types – CD, ECO, CSN, HTP, etc.

This offers a lot of flexibility in candle design, because you can manipulate the relative size AND type of wick during testing when you’re deciding which wick to use.

Wood leaves you with… wood.

Some candle makers say it’s easier to select wooden wick while others struggle for any consistency at all.

Your mileage may vary.

Most corrections to wick size are a change in width or thickness, which limits you because there are so few thicknesses.

You can pretty much test about 15-20 wicks in the cotton world for a single candle whereas wood wicks end up being only about 12-15.

Cotton wicks offer more flexibility, but this doesn’t always translate as “ease”.

The only similarity is that some cotton wick types are better for soy than others, similar to how booster wicks play nicer with natural waxes compared to single-ply.

Building amazing candles that burn safely and perform at world-class levels can happen with wood or cotton – it’s all up to your testing.


Today, Atkins & Pearce distributes products on behalf of The Wooden Wick Co.

Any suppliers in America, such as Lone Star Candle Supply, selling wood wicks are most likely distributing the same product as Atkins & Pearce (which they probably bought directly from to begin with).

Companies making and selling wicks marked as “wooden wicks” are often tied up in legal battles with Lumetique, Inc, given the strict and specific patents.

For this reason, if you’re buying wooden wicks with an intention to build a reliable consistent product line, you probably want to purchase from The Wooden Wick Co. If your favorite supplier gets shut down by Lumetique in a battle over patents you’ll need to thrash in order to recover from a supplier snafu.


Ignoring economy of scale and shipping, wood wicks cost more than cotton wicks.

Wick TypeAverage Price per Wick

If you bought about 100 and a wick clip for each, wooden wicks are about $0.50 each. Cotton wicks typically run less than $0.10 each at the same scale, making cotton a far more economical choice from price alone.

If you purchase directly from The Wooden Wick Co., you’ll typically get a better price than from a primary supplier in the United States.

Which Wax Works Best With Wooden Wicks?

Wooden wicks are capable of working with almost every wax.

Use the following chart to find out how compatible your wax is with each type of wooden wick.

WaxCompatible Wood Wicks
ParaffinSingle Ply (Flat)
SoyBooster Wick
ParasoySingle Ply (Flat)
Coco Apricot CremeBooster
Virgin Coconut SoyBooster
Beeswax Coco CremeBooster
Natural Blends with Palm, Coconut, or Apricot OilsSingle Ply (Flat),

Below are the recommended wick sizes for wooden wicks based on your wax type and container diameter:

Use this table as a starting point for sizing your wicks. There are always exceptions to the table, as there is with every wick chart.

How To Size Wood Wicks for Candle Making

Selecting An Initial Wick

Selecting the right wick for a wood wick candle is a multi-step process:

  1. Find the recommended wick size and type for your wax and container diameter
  2. Prepare and LABEL your container with the wick from step one, plus containers for wicks one size larger and one size smaller.
    1. For example, if you’re using paraffin wax in a 3” container, your recommended wick is a 0.02 x 0.5″ Crackling Flat wick (single-ply).
    2. You should also prep a container for one size up (0.02 x 0.625″) and one size down (0.02 x 0.375″)
  3. Create a batch with your wax and fragrance oil and pour into prepared containers
  4. After curing them for the right amount of time (depends on wax), conduct a burn test.

Conducting A Burn Test

A burn test, or wick test, makes sure the wick meets two criteria:

  • Safety
  • Performance (scent throw)

Typically you don’t formally test performance until you lock down a safe wick, which may require several rounds of testing.

Testing wooden wick candles is the same procedure as testing normal cotton wicks with one exception: trim your wick lower than 1/4″ before each burn.

This isn’t a requirement, and it’s technically not in line with ASTM 2417, but if you leave wooden wicks longer they tend to burn too bright and hot. The ideal flame is roughly 1/2” tall.

Repeat the following steps until the candle FAILS or is completely used up:

  1. Place all candles you’re testing on a flat surface in a room with no breeze spaced 8” apart. Make sure the temperature is between 68°F and 86°F (20°C to 30°C).
  2. Trim each wick to about 1/8″ in height.
  3. Light the candles and start a timer for four hours. The test should run for exactly four hours.
  4. Every hour during the test, if any of the following things happen the candle is considered unsafe and you’ll need a new wick:
    1. Outer container temperature is more than 150°F
    2. The container cracks or breaks
    3. Candle tips or spills
    4. You see more than one flame per wick (this is called secondary ignition)
    5. Wick emits black smoke constantly or in excess of what you’re comfortable with
    6. Flame exceeds 3” height
  5. If you make it four hours without any of the above happening, blow out the flame and let the candle sit for 5 to 6 hours to cool back to room temperature before starting a new test.

Wood wick candle wick designs should not be considered complete until it reaches the end of life without failing.

Why Do Wood Wicks Crackle?

The natural aspect of a wood wick means it has a bunch of plant material in it.

If your wooden wick isn’t crackling, it’s probably not legit! Kind of like a campfire, they have cellulose trapped in the structure of the wick.

While it’s burning, cellulose transforms into a gas and tries to escape the wood pores.

But it can’t!

Eventually, the gas expands enough to explode from the pore, completely disrupting the cell walls and causing a crackling sound.

So many people desire this unique aspect of wooden wicked candles, so understanding the science behind it allows you to explain it to customers (or yourself) if you want.

Obtaining a strong crackle depends on a few other factors besides just the wick. You can increase or decrease the impact by paying attention to:

  • Wax type. Soy and higher-density waxes tend to mute the effect more than paraffin and palm.
  • Fragrance oil. Depending on the oil, higher fragrance loads can increase crackle, but the opposite effect occasionally happens too. Whatever you’re trying to achieve, testing will lead you in the right direction.


Honestly, wood wicks are cool. If nothing else, they appear to be a minor disruption to classic cotton wick candles.

One more drawback is they seem somewhat inconsistent.

In the candle making community, many people note their inability to produce consistent results from the wicks, citing the material and quality as the main reasons.

Nonetheless, they work just fine most of the time.

The best recommendation for starting with them is to buy the sample kit from The Wooden Wick Co. and make a bunch of candles with them! They actually label each size per the ruler-based measurement.

Some suppliers classify them as small, medium, or large, which complicates identifying the actual wick you’re using. You can always measure with a ruler, but who has time for that, really?

If you’re interested in building a product line with them, keep in mind that you want to trust whatever you’re creating will behave the way you need it to.

Don’t be hasty in your attempt to “have a wood wick candle” in your shop – safety, performance, and customer satisfaction are incredibly important for your brand.

If you’re making candles from non-The Wooden Wick Co. supplies, everything here applies too.

Wood wicks are a cool disruption to the candle industry and don’t show many signs of slowing down as demand and candle making skills increase!

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Wood Wicks For Beginners • Armatage Candle Company (2024)


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