How To Make Homemade Wicks: A Guide

Candle wicks come in various shapes, sizes, and even materials. Now that you have been making your own homemade candles, why not extend your DIY abilities and make your own candle wicks? But how do you make your own homemade wicks? 

You can make candle wicks using one of several methods. While candle wicks are generally inexpensive, making them at home is even more economical and gives you better control over the overall candle process. Here are some kinds of candle wicks you can make at home:

  • Waxed Cotton Wicks
  • Wooden Wicks
  • Salted Wicks
  • Braided Wicks
  • Hemp Wicks

These top five wicks are easy to make at home. Mastering wicks is as simple as mastering homemade candles. You only need to know the principles of how wicks work to understand how to make them,  

Why Should I Make My Own Candle Wicks?

I’m not saying you should make all your own candle wicks, but every candlemaker should try it at least once or twice. Even though candle wicks aren’t expensive, if you own your own business, you can substantially cut costs that way. 

And if you like making candles as a relaxing hobby for gifts, why not broaden your horizons by taking your vocation one step further?

If you’ve read this far, you’re at least interested in the prospect. So, read on to find out how to make five kinds of candle wicks in your own home. 

Waxed Single-Thread Cotton Wicks

Waxed single-thread candle wicks are the easiest type of wick to make. I recommend you master these before moving on to other wicks.


How To Make Homemade Wicks: A Guide

All you need is wax, the same thing you plan to use in your candle, and cotton string. You can use any cotton string, but make sure it is 100% cotton and is not dyed. While some dyes and other additives might be safe to use in a burning candle, any additive will affect how the wick burns. 

The next thing you need is wick tabs. Wick tabs are small metal discs with a collar that you will use to anchor your wick to the bottom of the candle. As you make your wicks, you may want to go ahead and attach them to the wick tabs, so they are ready to use when you are prepared to make your candle. 

When making my own wicks, I use these 20×6 wicks by Candle Science. I like them because you can use them for any size wick (including the braided ones we’ll talk about later). They have a higher neck than standard wick tabs, which prevents the bottom of the candle container from getting too hot. 

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How to Prepare Waxed Wicks

First, you want to cut your string to the proper length. I recommend leaving at least an inch of clearance above the lip of the container you plan to use. 

For example, if your jar is nine inches tall, you want to have a wick that is ten inches. This is sufficient length, so you can use a wick clip or clothespin to hold your wick upright as your candle cools. 

Next, you want to melt your wax in the same container you use to melt wax for candles. Remember, a double boiler system is best for ensuring you achieve consistent heat without the wax burning. 

Use a pair of tongs to dip the wick until thoroughly covered in wax. Then use parchment paper or some other surface that wax will not bind with and stretch your waxed string into a straight line. As the wax hardens, your wick will stiffen. 

Next, you want to attach your wick tab to the wick. You will need a pair of needle-nose pliers to gently squeeze the neck of the wick tab around the wick until it is secure. You can test this by holding the wick tab upside down. If the wick falls out, you need to reattach and squeeze the wick tab tighter. 

Success! Now you’ve made your first wick. Keep reading to discover what other kinds of wicks you could make. 

Wooden Wicks

Wooden wicks are the ever-popular wicks that put the crackle into crackle candles. If you buy wooden wicks, you can hardly do better than online vendors like Makesy, but you can make your own, too, if you’re up to the challenge. 


You need olive oil, balsa wood, and base clips to make wooden wicks. Base clips are like wick tabs but specifically shaped for wooden wicks, which are thin and flat instead of round like corded candles. In addition to wooden wicks, you can also purchase base clips from Makesy. 

You can also buy the balsa wood online or head to your local craft store. 

How to Prepare Wooden Wicks

Once you’ve assembled your materials, you are ready to make your wooden wicks. Balsa wood is not only inexpensive, but it is soft so that you can cut it with scissors. As with the cotton wicks, make sure they are at least an inch longer than the height of the container you will be using.

Now you are ready to soak your wicks in the olive oil. Use a bowl and enough oil so that the balsa wicks can be entirely submerged in the oil. Soak the wood in the olive oil for 25 minutes. Then pull out the wooden wicks and wipe them down.

For the last step, push your wooden wick into the base clip and tighten with pliers (if necessary). Voilà! You are ready to make your own crackle candle!

Salted Wicks

You can also use salt instead of wax to make cotton string candle wicks. This takes a bit more planning as you will need to make these wicks at least a day before you plan to make your candle. 


How To Make Homemade Wicks: A Guide

For salted wicks, you need cotton string, salt, water, and wick tabs. 

As when making waxed wicks, the cotton should be pure and free of dyes. 

How to Make Salted Wicks

Salt is another way of stiffening cotton to be used in candle wicks. Start by cutting your strings to the proper length. 

Use one tablespoon of wax per cup of water. Bring the salted water to a boil and use tongs to place the pre-cut cotton strings into the water. Boil for about two minutes and allow cooling. 

Lay the wicks out on paper towels or another absorbent material and allow them to dry at least overnight. Then attach the wicks to the wick tabs. They are now ready to use in your next candle!

Braided Wicks

If the diameter of your candle container is on the larger side, you may need a thicker wick. You will also know this if you conducted a burn test on a candle with a single-strand wick, and your flame was insufficient, then you can try the same candle with a braided wick.

How to Make Braided Wicks

I found a tutorial on how to make braided candles at Martha Stewart. This helped me make my first braided candle wick.

First, cut three strings to the proper length. If you look at the tutorial, you will see they are using different colored strings, but I still recommend using un-dyed cotton. Then tie a knot using the tops of the three strings and masking tape to secure that knot to a surface, like a countertop. This will hold the strings in place while you braid them.

Braid the strings, left over right, then right over left, until the wick is entirely braided. Use the pliers to secure the wick into the wick tab on the end opposite the knot. 

The three-string braided wick is sturdier than one strand of cotton string, so you do not need to coat the braided wick with wax or soak in oil.

Hemp Wicks

Did you know you can use hemp to make candle wicks? Hemp is naturally stiff and slow-burning, so it is the perfect wick for candles made from harder waxes like beeswax. 

Hemp is also economical. You can buy 400 feet of hemp cord for less than $14. That’s enough hemp to wick more than a thousand candles.  

How to Make a Hemp Wick

Hemp wicks are prepared the same way as single-strand waxed wicks. First, cut the hemp to the desired length. Then dip into the heated wax. Next, dry on a flat surface, making sure you stretch out the hemp cord so the wax hardens into a straight wick. 

Now that you have made your own hemp wicks, why not pair them with beeswax candles? This video tutorial by Twisted Bee, which also sells beeswax, will show you how to make a beeswax candle with a hemp wick.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Why do wooden wicks need to be soaked in olive oil?

There is only one drawback to using wooden wicks in candles—they can be hard to light and harder to re-light. The oil is an accelerant to the flame, so you ensure a wick that will ignite quickly and have a stable burn. 

Will burning a hemp wick cause me to fail a drug test? 

No, the amount of THC in hemp is very low, federally mandated at less than 0.3%. This is not enough to cause you to fail a drug test or have psychoactive effects from burning the wick.  

Looking to start your own candle making business, check out my startup documents here

Please note that the contents of this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any action taken based on the information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Additionally, all images used in this blog are generated under the CC0 license of Creative Commons, which means they are free to use for any purpose without attribution.