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Everything you need to know about wick testing for DIY at home candle making.
Special thanks to Lonestar Candle Supply for sponsoring this video. head to their website to check out the amazing Master Wick Sample Kit used in the video:
To conduct a proper and thorough wick test:
First gather your supplies (containers, wicks, wax)
Next we are going to conduct a base test using just the straight wax, no dye or fragrance oil at this point.
Consult a wick guide to find the suggested size for the container you are using. In addition to the size the wick guide suggests, we are also going to choose several others that are within a close range, at a minimum the next size up and the next size down from what the guide suggests. It’s always a good idea to choose test wicks from each series of wicks, in later testing we will be narrowing our search down to one from each series to determine optimal hot throw.
Now that you have the wicks you are going to test as your “base test” go ahead and make them in to candles (straight wax only)
Once the have dried begin your test burn. Dont forget the rule of “one inch per hour” For every inch width of your container, allow one hour of burn time to reach proper melt pool. (so a 3 inch candle takes 3 hours, etc…)
Once the time is up examine your base candles for the best performers. A great melt pool will be 1/4 to 1/2 inch with a nice steady non flickering flame and no build up on the tip of the wick.
Now that we’ve seen the best that our base test has to offer, we can choose one or two from each series to test for hot throw.
This part of testing is known as the Performance Test. Now is the point that we bring in our dye and fragrance oil. We make the candles in the same manner that we would if we were going to be making a batch to sell or give as gifts. Once they have dried and cured we can begin our test burns again.
For the first test burn we will go for proper melt pool again, just to ensure nothing has changed drastically by adding dye and fragrance oil. (Remember the rule of one hour per one inch)
Once we have seen that the melt pool is still forming properly, go ahead and move the candles to separate rooms, equal in size if at all possible. We now conduct test burns, in 4 hour increments to judge the hot-throw. This part is fairly subjective. I find it easiest to have a sheet of notebook paper by the candle and every time I walk in the room I will rate the candles’ hot-throw on a scale of 1-10. Friends and family can be a big help at this point as well.
Once the candles have completely burned we will have determined;
1- The wick from the base test still performs with dye and F/O
2- Which test candle has the best hot throw
3- That the candle is performing consistently throughout the entire life of the candle.
At the end of testing, your base test should have given you 4-5 good options to test further. And your performance test should have named a clear cut winner.
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