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Tricks of the Trade: Wooden Wick Candles


We first started our business selling wax melts, but candles of our scents quickly became a request from many of our customers and have become an amazing seller for us. We did a lot of research + development to determine the best type of wax, how much fragrance to use, the vessels we wanted to use, as well as the kind of wick we wanted in our candles. Through our research, we decided upon crackling wood wicks.

What are wooden wicks?

Simply put, wooden wicks are thin slabs or tubes of wood specifically made to be used as a candle wick. They are made of a variety of different types of wood so each wooden wick may appear a bit different.

Why do we use wooden wicks in our candles?

Our whole philosophy here at The Nerf Herder Co. is to provide geek-chic, luxury items using high-quality ingredients and packaging. With this in mind, we've always felt that wooden wicks felt higher quality and were just a lot more fun with the gentle crackling. They are also a bit easier to set-up in the wax since they're rigid and can stand-up without needing to be held by something else while the wax sets. Anything that makes this job easier, the better!

We've also loved the ability to use colored wooden wicks for some of our characters and locations which adds a fun and unique element not often seen!

How do I use a wooden wick?

When lighting the wick, and to help ensure the most even burn, light the entire wick across its entire width rather than focusing on one end and letting the flame crawl across the wood.

Before the next burn, make sure to trim off as much of the blackened wood as possible. We know you won't be able to get it all (if you do, sometimes this might result in a wick that is too short), but do the best you can to avoid soot and/or black smoke.

Overall, the wick needs to be shorter than what you might be used to when using cotton wicks. Wooden wicks pull wax up through the wick due to the heat created by the flame, so if the wick isn't short and as clean as you can get it, the wax is going to struggle to get to the flame and thus melt properly. The optimal length of the wick is 3/16"-1/4" (4.75 mm-6.35 mm).

Last, as with any candle, the first burn is the most important. Wax has a "memory" so if you do not allow the wax to melt in a pool all the way to the edges of the candle vessel, you're going to have uneven burning problems such as tunneling (wholes that form in the wax).

Are there any special tools I need to be able to use a wooden wick?

Strong scissors can be used to cut the wick, but we do find a wick trimmer is helpful when you're further down in your candle and need to trim the wick.

What do I do if my wooden wick won't stay lit?

Make sure that you have trimmed the wick to remove as much of the charred wood as possible. If that still isn't working, it's possible the wick is "drowning" in wax. Follow below on what to do if your wick is now too short and needs some help!

I've cut my wooden wick too short - what do I do?

We've all done it - we've gone a little ham with our scissors or wick trimmer and BAM, you've cut the wooden wick too short so now it won't stay lit since it's now basically "drowning" in the wax. Have no fear, though! Try some of these suggestions below to expose more of your wicks o that it will stay lit again!

  • Melt some of the wax surrounding the wick with a heat gun, hair dyer, or (very carefully) with a lighter. Carefully soak up the melted wax to allow more room for the wick "to breathe." You can also pour the melted wax onto a disposable service but this can get a bit messy

  • Using a butter knife, scrape/scoop out some of the room-temperature wax surrounding the wick

If your wick has been submerged in wax and the other steps simply don't work, it may be time to lift the wick.

  • First, you'll need to take a heat gun, hair dryer, or lighter to melt/soften the wax around the wick.

  • Take a pair of tweezers or pliers (we prefer pliers) to gently pull some of the wick out of the wax. DO THIS SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY!

  • Allow the softened/melted wax to set again

  • Trim off any of the wooden wick that is blackened or trim the wick down if you pulled up a bit too much and the wick won't stay lit

  • With your first burn, at a minimum, ensure the wax melts all the way to the edges before extinguishing the flame

    • Not allowing the wax to evenly melt may cause something called "tunneling" which can result in holes forming in your candle

  • Never burn your candle for longer than 4 hours at a time. Burning longer than this can cause the candle to overheat, resulting in future melting and fragrance issues

  • Before each burn, make sure to trim as much of the blackened wood from the wick as possible

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