If you’re interested in making your own candles (or perhaps fancy trying our how to make beeswax candles tutorial), then you may be interested in learning how to make your own DIY candle wick too! There are plenty of options for buying pre-made candle wicks, but you can also make your own candle wicks with some simple 100% cotton string or yarn.
You should only ever use un-dyed 100% cotton string or yarn for your DIY candle wick, as burning dyed string or synthetic yarns such as acrylic can give off nasty chemicals. We’d advise against using Mercerised cotton yarns for your DIY candle wick, as although mercerisation is a non-toxic process and we couldn’t find any evidence that it would give off any harmful chemicals, our research suggests that it could create a smokier flame or a darker ash once the wick is burned – meaning your candle will quickly start to look dirty if this gets in the wax. It is more likely that a yarn will tell you that it is mercerised rather than saying that it isn’t, but as a rule; if it’s slightly glossy and smooth – it’s mercerised… if it’s matte and has a slightly rough/fluffy feel – it’s not mercerised!
If you’re looking for some suitable cotton yarn for your DIY candle wick, you could try any of these.
You can use a single strand of cotton yarn or twine, but most candle wicks are made with strands that are braided together to make a more substantial wick that will burn better. If you would like to combine multiple strands, plaiting three strands together is an easy option…
… or if you have a crochet hook to hand, you can try making a tight crochet chain (find out how to crochet chain stitch here).
The benefit of both of these methods is that you’re making a wick that is more solid and should burn better than just a single strand. It is also a great way of making chunky wicks for if you are using your candles outdoors.
You can technically use cotton string wicks as they are without the need for any more preparation, although this will often lead to the wick burning faster. Many people will dip their wicks in melted wax to help solidify them, and pre-made wicks normally come with a wax coating already on them – this will mean your wicks will burn slower, but it can be a bit messy and tricky to coat them fully while also getting them straight without using a deep pan of melted wax. You may see some people online suggesting using Borax powder for their DIY candle wicks, but this is not readily available in the UK and it’s toxic properties are subject of debate across various countries – so we’d advise sticking clear of that!
However, one of the best ways of preparing your DIY candle wick is by using the salting technique, which not only helps to solidify the wicks but also seems to make them burn better and for longer – and only uses simple table salt We’ll show you how!
You Will Need
- Cotton thread
- Table salt
Put enough water in a pan to cover all of your wicks, then add approx 2-4 tablespoons of salt (the more salt, the stiffer the wicks will be). Bring to the boil and stir until the salt completely dissolves, much like if you were making a brine.
When the salt has completely dissolved, turn off the heat and add your wicks.
Leave to soak for 5-10 minutes, then remove from the pan (use a spoon or tongs, remember the water will still be hot), and place them somewhere safe to dry flat overnight.
And that’s how to make a candle wick! Your DIY candle wick should be fully dry and a lot firmer than before salting, ready to make candles!
We do love making our own craft supplies, but we understand it’s not for everyone. If you’d rather just buy some pre-made candle wicks, you could try these 100 pre waxed candle wicks plus wick holder that come with 2 different sized wicks.
Why not try using candle wick to try our how to make beeswax candles tutorial or our our how to make pink ombre candles tutorial. Or if you want to save yourself the hassle of gathering all of your materials, you could always check out our list of the best candlemaking kits!