Candlemaking 101 - Test Burn...

After your candle has properly cooled and you've waited at least 24 hours, then you can begin your first candle test burn. Some things you'll want to record in your notes when you do your test burn could include:

  • whether you trimmed the wicks before lighting
  • date and time you first lit your candle
  • how deep your meltpool got
  • the strength of the scent throw
  • how the wicks are burning (see troubleshooting section)
  • the time you extinguished your candle
  • total hours you burned your candle

You'll want to repeat these notes for each time you burn your candle so you can keep track of the total burn time of your candle as well as make a decision on if the fragrance oil/wicks/wax combo is working out for you. If you're unhappy with your results, then it's back to the drawing board to create a new candle.

Correct wicking is so important not only for safety reasons, but also to achieve a good scent throw in your candles. If the wick is too small and doesn't create a large enough meltpool you will not get a very good scent throw. However, if your candle is wicked too large, then you risk the container breaking from the heat of the wicks, or you will also drastically descrease your candle burn time.

As stated in other areas of our site, the larger the meltpool, the greater the scent throw will be, in most cases. So you need to be realistic about your expectations on how large of an area you want your candle to throw. A 4" diameter jar will usually smell stronger than a small 2" votive candle.

  • Wicking Container Candles - A general rule of thumb for figuring out your wick size is using the 1" per hour rule. For instance, if your candle jar is 4" in diameter, you will want your candle to reach a proper meltpool within 4 hours. A proper meltpool is usually 1/4" - 1/2" deep and should reach all sides of your container.

  • Wicking Pillars - If you are creating a pillar, the rules are different because you do not want your meltpool to reach the edge of the pillar or it will drip all over the place and create a huge mess. So you would want your meltpool to leave a 1/4" - 1/2" shell.

  • Wicking Votives - Votive candles will need to be burned in tight fitting votive containers, and you will want your meltpool to reach the edges of your votive container, but you will not need the meltpool to be very deep in order for it to properly burn.

  • Wicking Tea Lights - Tea Lights are actually tiny container type candles and will need to reach a full meltpool to all the edges of the tea light cup. However, you will not want the meltpool to be any deeper than 1/8" - 1/4" or your tea light will burn too fast. A general burn time guidelines for tea lights is 5-7 hours depending on exactly how the tea light is burned.

The main objective of wick testing is to create a candle that will have a strong scent throw and burn without tunneling, but one that will also not burn too fast or cause the jar/container to become too hot.

By taking good notes, you can at least avoid repeating previous mistakes.

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