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New to Candlemaking - Question about container candles

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  • New to Candlemaking - Question about container candles

    Dear fellow candlemakers,

    My name is Juli. I'm a German-Australian living in Oxford and I have recently started making my own candles. Just for fun really, not for selling.

    I have made a few different container candles but have found with all of them that once the flame burns down into the container a little way it starts to flicker a lot. Is that always going to happen with a container candle because of limited oxygen supply down in the container or is there anything I can do about that?

    I'm doing a lot of learning from mistakes at the moment For example I used a square braided wick in a paraffin/stearin pillar candle, not realising at the time that those wicks are meant for beeswax, and the result was a large, flickering, smoking flame. But I guess this is where candlemaking is a very kind hobby to the novice as you can just melt mistakes down again.

    This looks like a great forum and I'm sure I'll be back soon with more questions. I'm about to try making my first scented candles. Wish me luck!

  • #2
    Hi Juli and

    Good luck with the candlemaking and perservere!

    With regards to the container candles you have made, it sounds more like the wick you are using than the container. Assuming you are using a straight-style container (not one that narrows at the top) and it is not too deep then you should aim for a smooth burn all through.

    Firstly try priming your wick before casting the candle (if you have not done so already!!). Soak it in the wax you are to use and press out the air and let it set for a while (whilst the wax cools usually does the trick). I have some bamboo wick holders in my shop that are ideal for doing this (plug plug ).

    A useful wick guide is here to help choose the right type and size of wick;

    Lastly make sure you let the candle cure for 48 hours before testing - that's the difficult part !!

    A few pointers that may help.



    • #3
      Thanks, David. Nice to meet you.

      I have to admit I don't find the wick guide you referenced very helpful. The different types of paraffin wax they have listed don't mean anything to me and also the names of the different types of wick that are suggested don't say what sort of wick or even what size they are. I think I need something a little more basic - that guide is too advanced for me

      I bought some 1.5 inch square wick for beeswax candles from Thorne's, which was a disaster in a paraffin candle (like I mentioned in my first post), but I have made a molded beeswax candle with it now, which is burning fine, except the wick is "mushrooming" (if that is the correct term).

      The other type of wick I've been using for my paraffin container and pillar candles is a multipurpose wick from FullMoons-cauldron. So far none of those candles have burnt perfectly. They always flicker or the flame is too large. Could it be that those multipurpose wicks are not very good?

      What brand of wick have you or others found to be the best for molded beeswax, molded paraffin wax and container candles respectively?


      • #4
        Not sure if you have looked but 4Candles have some basic information on wicks and uses etc try here;

        Not sayng you should buy here but the info is quite useful.

        I use Soy Wax and mainly stick with the LX range which should be OK for Paraffin candles as well. I also use beeswax a lot and use either the NT range or (preferably) square braided wick. Never tried the MP wicks from FMC so cannot comment.

        'Mushrooming' is the candle telling you the wick is too long and needs trimming. However, the reason a candle 'mushrooms' a lot can be for a variety of different reasons including wick, colour, scent, type of wax etc.

        Good luck



        • #5
          Thanks again David.

          I've had a look at 4candles and ordered a sample of LX8, LX20 and NT41 to try. I haven't tried them yet. My aim now is to find the right wick for my beeswax pillars. As I said the one from Thorne's was pretty good, but with a fair bit of mushrooming. (On that note, You said " 'Mushrooming' is the candle telling you the wick is too long and needs trimming". I've never seen this on bought candles. And I've never had to trim a bought candle. Why is that? )

          I have now also tried the FMC multipurpose wick in a beeswax tealight and pillar candle. It starts off burning very nicely but as soon as there is a reasonable pool of melted wax the flame becomes really weak and small. It doesn't go out, but it's pretty pitiful. Does that mean I'm using the wrong size, or is this wick just not suitable for beeswax?

          You said you prefer square braided wick for beeswax? What brand exactly do you use?

          Thank you so much for letting me pick your brain


          PS. I've had a look at your website. How do you get your lovely beeswax candles looking so shiny? Mine seem to turn out looking rather dull.
          Last edited by Juli; 21-03-2011, 08:55 PM. Reason: additional question


          • #6

            I usually find the 'bought' candles are not great when it comes to 'mushrooming' especially when there is a heavy scent/oil load. I tend to accept that all wicks will 'mushroom' to a greater or lesser extent although I would be interested to hear if anyone does not have issues in this area

            Regards the FMC MP wick test you have made, that sounds as though it is too small a wick for the candle you are burning. When I use Pillar Blend Soy Wax I tend to have to use a larger wick than in container blend. Unfortunately it really is trial and error.

            Not sure who makes Square Braided Wick!! - I usually buy mine from Thornes.

            Thank you for your comments regards my Beeswax candles. I really enjoy working with beeswax and the results can be fab. Saying that, BW can be the most difficult (and awkward) wax to work with. I find it's very 'temperature' sensitive and you need to make sure that pouring temps are right, containers pre-heated and the cooling rate is controlled. I still sometimes get cracking, splitting, contraction, mottling etc although not quite as much as I used to thankfully.