Everyone has had that experience in a calming environment, listening to a candle crackling off in another room. What makes candles crackle, though, and how can you make that happen with your own homemade candles?
How to make your candles crackle
Candles crackle due to the type of wick; using a wooden wick in your homemade candle will create a crackle noise. Using soy wax works best with a wooden wick and picking the right size wick for your container will help make that crackle noise.
Why does a wooden wick cause that crackle noise, though, and what can make your candle crackle more? How do you make your candle so it crackles? Read on to find out more.
What causes that crackle noise?
When you’re making your candles and experimenting with different waxes and wicks, you may fall into this discovery—the crackle is all about the wick. There are many options for wicks, including zinc core, which tend to be the most popular. You could also use a paper core wick, but it burns very hot and should only be used in larger container candles.
The type of wick you want is a wood wick. A newer addition to the candle making industry, wooden wicks come in two types—hard wood and soft wood wicks. When you make your candle with the intention of having it crackle, you will want to use a soft wood wick. Essentially, these wicks are two pieces of wood pressed together, creating a dual wick. A dual wick is the best to use for natural waxes and for candles with more fragrance oil. Wooden wicks are not used for pillar candles or votives and work best in container candles.
Why does it make that crackle sound? Wooden wicks are made of a softer wood, like maple or balsa wood. When they are being prepared to be used as candle wicks, the moisture is removed from the wood, creating gaps in the existing wood and leaving behind molecular pockets of water.
As you burn a wooden wick, that water still within the wick starts to boil and creates steam. When the steam becomes trapped within the wick, the pressure is too great and makes the wood give. When that steam is finally released, it creates a small burst of flame and that coveted crackle noise.
What affects that crackle sound?
There are several things that could affect the creation of the crackle noise. One of them is the type of wax you are using. Because wooden wicks tend to work best with more natural waxes, you should avoid using something like paraffin wax or a mixture. Using beeswax or soy wax tends to be the best to use with a wooden wick, and therefore make it the best for creating that crackle noise.
You may see the myth that wooden wicks and soy wax do not work well together, but that usually comes down to the size of the wick. If you use the proper width and thickness for your soy candles, it will burn very well.
The amount of fragrance oil you use in your candle can also affect the amount of crackle noise you get. That water you find in your wick does not just have to be from the creation of the wick—any chemicals or moisture within the wax could cause that crackle noise when it is heated up. That means if you have a lot of fragrance oil in your candle, it could crackle even more. But be aware, the more you add, the harder it is to mix, so follow the candle wax instructions on the amount of fragrance to add per pound of wax.
The size of the wooden wick can also affect the amount of crackles. Make sure you find the right size wick for your container.
How do I make a wooden wick candle?
The process is identical to how you would make any other sort of candle, but with more specific supplies. As mentioned previously, you should use a natural wax like soy wax or beeswax, and you will need to make sure you have wooden wicks on hand before you start making your candle. You will also want a wooden wick clip, as they are different from your fabric wicks.
You should not have to soak your wooden wicks in any olive oil or other oils. When you purchase your wooden wicks, they will already be treated properly to be placed in your candle.
Gather your ingredients and supplies, including all your wax, fragrances, wooden wicks, and the container you plan on using. You should use a stove top or hot plate to heat up your wax, and make sure to protect your workspace with newspaper or parchment paper.
Place your wooden wick in your container. Be sure to use the wooden wick clip and choose a wick that properly fits in your container and will burn the candle evenly. Don’t be afraid to use a dot of glue to keep it in place.
Heat up your wax and evenly add colorant and fragrance. Transfer the wax into your final container, and when it is cooled completely, you can cut your wick down to size. When it burns, because of that wooden wick and soy wax, it should crackle just the way you want it to!
What happens if it stops crackling?
Just like other wicks, you may need to cut down the wooden wick to make sure the flame is getting to the wax. A wick that is too long may mean your candle flame goes out, as it cannot reach the wax in which to burn. Trim down your wooden wick and get rid of any charred material before relighting to make sure the wax can be drawn up to the flame.
Finding that candle that crackles isn’t a complicated one—if you know what you’re looking for. Making one is just as easy, as you can follow the same process as you have when making cotton or zinc core wick candles. Make sure you have the proper size wooden wick for your container and use a natural wax, and you’ll be enjoying the sound of a crackling fire as soon as you let that candle wax cool.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make my candles appear crackled?
If you’re trying to make your candles have the appearance of crackles along the wax, fill a pillar candle mold as you would regularly, then remove it from the mold without cutting the wick. Place the completely cooled candle in very hot water, and then immediately dip it into the cold water. Repeat this if necessary to get the desired look for your candle. Soy wax is not preferable for this project, while pre-blended waxes are harder to crack. Paraffin wax is the best to use in this case.
What should I look for in a candle wick?
You have several options for candle wicks, including a zinc core wick, paper wick, or wooden wick. The zinc core wick is the most popular and the most versatile. Paper core wicks are best for larger candles, as they burn very hot. Wood wicks are great with natural waxes. Whatever wax or wick you use, you should find a wick that burns consistently, slowly, and does not produce smoke.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a wooden wick?
Because the flame sometimes can be extinguished with a wooden wick, it is advisable not to burn them outside or in a drafty room. They can be difficult to re-light once put out. Wooden wicks tend to burn much cleaner than other types of candles, not producing any smoke like other wicks do. Wooden wicks also last much longer than other types of wicks. Many also report that wood wicks burn better and more efficiently than other wicks—due to their size, they have more contact with the wax, which means they burn better.
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Meet Shawn Chun: Entrepreneur and Candle Business Fan.
I’m a happy individual who happens to be an entrepreneur. I have owned several types of businesses in my life from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now I create online candle business resources for those interested in starting new ventures. It’s demanding work but I love it. I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. That’s why when I meet a candle business owner at a craft fair, farmers market, retail location or anywhere else I see myself. I know how hard the struggle is to obtain and retain clients, finding good employees all while trying to stay competitive. That’s why I created Candle Business Boss: I want to help candle business owners like you build a thriving business that brings you endless joy and supports your ideal lifestyle.