What Are Wooden Candle Wicks Made From? Discover the Eco-Crackle Science

Have you ever wondered what makes woodwick candles so unique? It’s the woodwick! Woodwick candles have been made using trees for centuries, but it wasn’t until recently that they gained popularity. These days, varnish-coated woodwicks are a favorite among candle makers who love to use jars and scented candle enthusiasts alike.

One of the most significant advantages of using wooden wicks in woodwick candles is their ability to create a cozy ambiance with their soft crackling sound. Unlike cotton or hemp wicks, which burn quickly and can produce soot, wooden candle wicks provide a cleaner burn with less smoke and heat. Choosing the right wooden wick for scented candles is crucial for optimal performance and to enhance the overall ambience.

So sit back, light up your favorite scented candles with wooden wicks made of ply from sustainable trees, and let’s dive into the world of how these wicks handle heat!

What are Wooden Candle Wicks Made of?

If you’re looking for a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to cotton or paper wicks, wooden candle wicks, also known as woodwick candles, may be just what you need. But what exactly are wooden candle wicks made of? Let’s dive into the different types of trees used, such as hemp, their benefits, and how they compare to traditional wick materials. Additionally, some wooden candle wicks are coated with varnish for added durability.

Different Types of Wood Used for Making Wicks

Pure wood is the primary material used for making wooden candle wicks, especially in woodwick candles. However, not all trees provide suitable wood for wicks. Balsa wood, for example, is too soft and lightweight to make a good wick for jars. Instead, most manufacturers use harder woods like cherry or maple ply.

Some candle makers even use exotic woods like coconut or bamboo for their unique properties in making woodwick candles. Coconut wood has natural air pockets that allow it to burn more slowly than other trees, while bamboo is known for its exceptional strength and durability. These woodwick candles are made with a cotton wick for a cleaner burn.

Chemical-free and Eco-friendly Nature of Wooden Wicks

One significant advantage of wooden candle wicks, commonly used in woodwick candles, is their chemical-free nature. Traditional cotton or paper wicks often contain chemicals like bleach or zinc that can release harmful fumes when burned. In contrast, wooden wicks made from trees are pure wood without any added chemicals, making them a great choice for candle jars.

Wooden wicks, also known as woodwicks, are a popular choice among candle makers. They are much more environmentally friendly than traditional alternatives since they come from renewable resources. Additionally, they are perfect for use in jars and do not produce any harmful byproducts when burned.

Comparison with Traditional Cotton or Paper Wicks

Compared to traditional cotton or paper wicks, woodwick candles offer several benefits, especially when used in jars.

  • Longer Burn Time: Wooden wicks have a slower burn rate than cotton or paper ones due to their thickness, making them perfect for jars.
  • Crackling Sound: Many people love the crackling sound that burning wooden candles with cotton wicks, hemp wicks, or booster wicks make.
  • Better Scent Throw: Using booster wicks with wooden candles can help increase the heat and spread fragrance even further throughout your home.
  • Unique Appearance: The natural wood grain of wooden wicks adds a unique touch to your candles.

However, there are also some downsides to using wooden candle wicks. They can be more challenging to light than cotton or paper ones, and the thickness of the wick can cause issues with uneven burning if not trimmed correctly.

How Thickness and Width Affect Performance

The thickness and width of a wooden candle wick play a significant role in its performance. Thicker wicks burn for longer periods but require more wax to keep them lit. Wider wicks create larger flames that produce more heat, which can help spread fragrance further throughout your home.

It’s essential to choose the right size and type of wooden wick for your specific candle-making needs. Some manufacturers offer sizing charts or recommendations based on the diameter of your container and desired burn time.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Wooden Wicks in Candles:

Advantages of Using Wooden Wicks

Wooden wicks are becoming increasingly popular in candle-making due to their unique flame, longer burning time, and scent throw. Below are some benefits of using wooden wicks in candles:

  • Longer Burning Time: Compared to cotton wicks, wooden wicks have a slower burn rate which means they last longer. This is because the wood is more dense than cotton and burns at a lower temperature.
  • Unique Flame: Wooden wicks produce a crackling sound reminiscent of a fireplace, creating an ambiance that makes them perfect for cozy nights. The flame produced by wooden wicks is also broader and taller than cotton wicks, providing better light.
  • Scent Throw: Wooden wicks allow for better distribution of fragrance oils throughout the candle wax. This results in stronger scent throw compared to cotton or other types of candle wicks.

Disadvantages of Using Wooden Wicks

While there are many benefits to using wooden wicks in candles, there are also some drawbacks that should be considered before choosing this type of wick:

  • Higher Cost: Wooden wicks cost more than traditional cotton or zinc-core candle wicks. This is because they require more preparation before use and are made from natural materials.
  • Potential Difficulty in Lighting: Wooden wick candles may require multiple attempts before lighting because the wood needs to be completely dry before it can ignite. If the wood becomes too charred during burning, it may extinguish itself.
  • Maintenance Requirements: To ensure optimal performance from wooden-wick candles, you need to keep them trimmed properly after each use. You must trim them to 1/8 inch above the wax surface every time you relight your candle.

Comparison with Other Types of Candle Wicks

When comparing wooden wick candles with other types of candles, it is essential to consider the benefits and drawbacks of each. Below are some comparisons:

  • Cotton Wicks: Cotton wicks are less expensive than wooden wicks but have a shorter burn time and weaker scent throw. They also tend to produce smaller flames.
  • Zinc-Core Wicks: Zinc-core wicks have a longer burn time than cotton wicks but can produce soot that may discolor the candle jar. They may contain lead, which is hazardous to health.

Tips for Maximizing Benefits while Minimizing Drawbacks

To maximize the benefits of using wooden-wick candles while minimizing their drawbacks, follow these tips:

  • Choose high-quality wooden wicks that have been processed correctly.
  • Light your wood wick candle on a flat surface away from drafts or fans. Wood wicks made of pure wood are recommended for a cleaner burn.
  • Keep your candle with wood wicks free of debris and trim the pure wood wick before each use.
  • Burn your wood wick candles for at least two hours to ensure even melting and prevent tunneling. Wood wicks are recommended for optimal results.
  • Extinguish your wood wick candle by using a snuffer or gently blowing it out instead of harshly blowing it out.

Understanding the Crackling in Woodwick Candles:

The Science behind the Crackling Sound

Wooden candle wicks are made from a blend of organic and synthetic materials, including wood pulp, cotton, and paper. When lit, these wicks burn differently than traditional cotton wicks, producing a unique crackling sound that adds to the ambiance of the candle.

The crackling sound comes from tiny pockets of air that are trapped inside the wooden wick as it burns. As heat is generated by the flame, these pockets of air expand rapidly and produce a popping or cracking sound. This process is known as thermal expansion and contraction.

Factors that Influence the Intensity and Frequency

Several factors can influence the intensity and frequency of the crackling sound in woodwick candles. One of these factors is humidity levels. High humidity can cause moisture to build up on the surface of the wax, which can interfere with airflow around the wick and reduce its ability to produce a strong crackle.

Another factor that affects crackle intensity is candle wick and wax composition. Wood wick candles with soy wax tend to produce a stronger crackle than paraffin wax due to its lower melting point. This is because wood wicks provide a unique burning experience that creates a soothing sound when the flame hits the wood wicks. Therefore, if you’re looking for a more intense crackling sound, consider choosing wood wicks for your soy wax candles.

Finally, candle size can also play a role in how loud or frequent your woodwick candle will crackle. Smaller candles tend to have less airflow around their wooden wicks than larger ones, resulting in quieter or less frequent cracking sounds.

Relation between Crackling Sound and Candle Scent

The scent of your woodwick candle can also affect how it cracks when burning. Stronger fragrances tend to mask some of the subtle nuances in a candle’s aroma profile, making it harder for you to detect individual notes or scents.

On the other hand, lighter scents may allow you to better appreciate each note as it unfolds throughout your wood wick candle burn experience. Certain scents may complement or enhance specific types of wood wick crackles (e.g., spicy scents with a strong, popping wood wick sound).

Significance for Creating a Cozy Ambiance

The crackling sound of woodwick candles can add an extra layer of ambiance to any room. The warm glow of the flame combined with the gentle popping and cracking sounds creates a cozy atmosphere that can help you relax and unwind.

Whether you’re reading a book, taking a bath, or simply enjoying some quiet time alone, lighting a woodwick candle can make all the difference in creating a peaceful and inviting space.

Types of Core Wicks: Polyester, Cotton, and Paper:

One crucial aspect is choosing the right type of wick. Wooden wicks are becoming increasingly popular due to their unique crackling sound and aesthetic appeal. However, other core types like polyester, cotton, and paper also have their own set of characteristics that make them suitable for different types of candles.

Characteristics of each type

Polyester core wicks are known for their stability and rigidity. They are often used in container candles as they can hold up well against the weight of the wax. They work well with fragrances that contain a high percentage of essential oils.

Cotton core wicks are perhaps the most common type used in candle making. They come in various sizes and thicknesses and are suitable for different types of candles. Cotton core wicks tend to burn cleaner than other types since they do not contain any additives or chemicals.

Paper core wicks are an excellent alternative for those who prefer a vegan option or want to avoid animal products altogether. They come in a spiral shape that allows them to absorb more wax than other types of cores. Paper cores also tend to be less expensive than cotton or polyester options.

Pros and cons compared to wooden wicks

While wooden wicks have gained popularity over the years, they may not be suitable for every candle-making project. Here’s how these three core types compare:

  • Wooden wicks provide a unique crackling sound but may require more maintenance.
  • Polyester core wicks offer excellent stability but may not be suitable for all fragrance blends.
  • Cotton core wicks burn cleaner but may require additional trimming during use.
  • Paper core wicks provide an affordable vegan option but may not be as stable as other options.

Suitable wax types for each core type

Choosing the right wax type is just as important as selecting the appropriate core type when making candles with wood wicks. Here is a list of wax types that work well with each core:

  • Polyester core wicks: Soy wax, beeswax, paraffin wax.
  • Cotton core wicks: Soy wax, beeswax, coconut wax.
  • Paper core wicks: Soy wax, palm wax.

Choosing the right core type based on candle size

The size of your candle also plays a role in selecting the appropriate core type, including wood wicks. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Small candles (under 2 inches): Cotton or paper cores, as well as wood wicks, are suitable options.
  • Medium-sized candles (2 to 3 inches): Polyester or cotton cores work well.
  • Large candles (over 3 inches): Wooden wicks may be the best option for stability and sound.

Making Wooden Wicks for Candles: Step-by-step Guide:

Required Materials

Candle making is an art that requires the right products to get the desired results. For wooden wick candles, you will need wood strips, saws, sandpaper, and other tools to make the process easier.

Preparing Wood Strips

The first step in making wooden wicks for candles is preparing the wood strips by cutting them into proper sizes. You can buy pre-cut wood strips or cut them yourself using a saw. The length and width of the strip depend on the size of your candle jar.

Once you have cut the strips, use sandpaper to smoothen out any rough edges and ensure that it fits perfectly into your candle jar.

Sanding Process

Sanding is an important process when making wooden wicks for candles. It helps to create a smooth surface that allows for easy burning of the candle without producing too much smoke or ash.

Start with coarse-grit sandpaper and gradually move to finer grits until you achieve a smooth surface. Be sure to remove any dust particles from the strip before moving on to the next step.

Treating with Natural Oils or Solutions

If necessary, treat your wooden wick with natural oils or solutions before using it in your candle-making process. This helps to prevent it from splintering or breaking while burning.

Some natural oils that work well include coconut oil, olive oil, and soy wax. Apply a small amount of oil evenly along its length and let it dry completely before inserting it into your candle jar.

Advertisement Step

Now that you have prepared your wooden wick for use in your candle-making process, follow these steps:

  1. Place the wooden wick at the center of your candle jar
  2. Use a hot glue gun or adhesive tab to secure it in place
  3. Melt your wax according to instructions
  4. Pour the melted wax into your candle jar
  5. Allow the wax to cool and harden completely before lighting your candle

Time and Amount

The amount of time it takes to make wooden wicks for candles depends on the number of wicks you need and how many strips you have to cut. Generally, it takes about 10-15 minutes per strip.

In terms of the amount, it also depends on how many candles you want to make. It’s always a good idea to buy extra wood strips in case you need more than anticipated.

Best Wax for Wooden Wicks and How They Work:

Compatibility between different wax types and wooden wick

One of the most important factors to consider is compatibility. Not all waxes are created equal, and some may not work well with wooden wicks.

Natural waxes like soy wax, coconut wax, and beeswax are popular choices for candle-making because they are eco-friendly and sustainable. However, these waxes can be challenging to work with when using wooden wicks. The reason being that natural waxes tend to have a lower melting point than paraffin wax.

Paraffin wax has a higher melting point than natural waxes, making it an excellent choice for candles with wooden wicks. The high melting point of paraffin wax ensures that the candle burns evenly and creates a deep melt pool around the wooden wick.

Importance of melt pool depth

Melt pool depth refers to how deep the melted wax is in your candle jar or container. A shallow melt pool can cause tunneling in your candle, which means that the outer edges of your candle will not burn correctly.

The depth of your melt pool depends on several factors such as the size of your container, fragrance oil percentage, and type of wax you use.

To achieve an optimal melt pool depth when using wooden wicks, it’s essential to choose a larger container size than what you would typically use for cotton or paper core wicks. This allows enough space for proper airflow around the flame.

Role played by fragrance oil percentage

Fragrance oils can affect how well your candle burns with a wooden wick. When using too much fragrance oil in your candles, it can clog up the pores in your woodwick resulting in an uneven burn or no burn at all.

It’s essential to follow recommended guidelines for fragrance oil usage based on the wax you choose. Generally, a fragrance load of 6-10% is recommended for natural waxes, while paraffin wax can handle up to 12%.

Tips for achieving the best results

Here are some tips to help you achieve the best results when using wooden wicks with different types of wax:

  • Use a larger container size than what you would typically use for cotton or paper core wicks.
  • Choose paraffin wax if possible because it has a higher melting point and works well with wooden wicks.
  • Follow recommended guidelines for fragrance oil usage based on the type of wax you choose.
  • Trim your wooden wick to about 1/4 inch before lighting it.
  • Allow your candle to burn for at least two hours during the first burn to create an optimal melt pool depth.

Compostability and Disposal of Wooden Wicks:

Biodegradability of wooden wicks

One of the main benefits of using wooden wicks for candles is their biodegradability. Unlike cotton or metal wicks, which can take years to decompose in landfills, wooden wicks are made from natural materials that break down quickly. When you’re finished burning your candle, you can simply remove the remaining wax and toss the wooden wick into your compost bin. The wood will biodegrade over time, leaving behind no harmful residue.

Proper disposal methods

While wooden wicks are biodegradable, it’s important to dispose of them properly to ensure they break down as quickly as possible. Here are some tips for proper disposal:

  • Remove any excess wax from the wick before disposing of it.
  • Cut the wick into smaller pieces to help it decompose more quickly.
  • If you don’t have a compost bin, you can also dispose of wooden wicks in your regular trash bin.

Recycling or reusing options

Another option for disposing of wooden candle wicks is to recycle or reuse them. While recycling options may be limited depending on where you live, some companies specialize in recycling wood products like pallets and furniture. You could also consider repurposing your used wooden wicks for craft projects or DIY fire starters.

Environmental impact compared to other types of wicks

When considering the environmental impact of different types of candle wicks, there are a few factors to keep in mind. Cotton wicks are often treated with chemicals that can be harmful to the environment when disposed of improperly. Metal wicks take much longer to decompose than wooden ones and can contribute to landfill waste. In comparison, wooden candle wicks have a minimal environmental impact due to their biodegradability and natural materials.


In conclusion, wooden candle wicks are made from natural materials such as wood and cotton. They have several benefits, including a longer burn time, unique crackling sounds, and the ability to absorb more fragrance oil than traditional wicks. However, they also have some drawbacks, such as requiring more maintenance during burning and being less consistent in their burn.

If you’re interested in using wooden wicks for your candles, it’s important to choose the right wax and core type for optimal performance. Proper disposal of wooden wicks is essential for environmentally-friendly candle making.

Overall, wooden candle wicks can provide a unique and enjoyable experience for candle enthusiasts who want something different from traditional cotton or paper wicks.


Q: Are wooden candle wicks eco-friendly?

A: Yes! Wooden candle wicks are made from natural materials that are biodegradable and compostable.

Q: Do I need to trim my wooden wick before lighting?

A: Yes! Trimming your wooden wick before each use will ensure a clean burn and prevent excessive smoke or soot.

Q: Can I use any type of wax with wooden candle wicks?

A: No. It’s important to choose a wax that is compatible with the specific type of core used in your wooden wick for optimal performance.

Q: How do I make my own wooden candle wicks?

A: Making your own wooden candle wicks requires some woodworking skills and specialized equipment. Follow a step-by-step guide or consider purchasing pre-made ones instead.

Q: What types of fragrances work best with wooden candle wicks?

A: Wooden candle wicks can handle stronger fragrances than traditional cotton or paper wicks due to their ability to absorb more oil. Experiment with different scents to find what works best for you.