Wooden wicks are simply divine!! We absolutely love their look, their sound and the ambient feel that emanates from them. They do however burn a bit differently than traditional cotton wicks, and there are a few common issues that cause them to not stay lit. But don’t worry! If you follow just a few important practices, it should be smooth sailing and long clean burns from here on out..

Here are our top 4 tips to get the best results from your wood wick candles:

1) The first burn is the most important - how to do it right..

Allow the wax to pool

Holding your candle on an angle, light the wooden wick at one end and allow the flame to flow naturally across the wick. Make sure that the top surface of the wax melts all the way to the edge of the candle before extinguishing the flame — this may take between 30 and 60 minutes after lighting. A full pool of melted wax will keep the candle from tunneling, or leaving wax on the sides of the vessel.

Your flame height may vary, and may occasionally even appear to self-extinguish. Even a low flame will continue to heat, and the flame height should return shortly. Your candle performs best when kept lit for 3 to 4 hours.

Believe it or not, your jar candles have a kind of “wax-memory,” and once a burning pattern has been established, it can be hard to change.

Believe it or not, your jar candles have a kind of “wax-memory,” and once a burning pattern has been established, it can be hard to change.

If you don’t allow your candle enough time to form a full melt pool on the first burn, a little depression or “tunnel” may start to form around the wick.

This will make it more difficult for the wax around the edges of the jar to melt, causing the tunneling effect to continue with each burn.

Eventually the tunnel will become too deep for fresh oxygen to flow in, and your candle will have trouble staying lit for more than short periods of time.

To prevent this issue, make sure to give your candle enough time to develop a melted wax pool that goes all the way to the edge of the container the first time you use it.

(This is a good practice for all jar candles, not just those with wooden wicks!)

This melt pool can take a up to few hours to form, depending on the candle size, so wait to light up your new candle until you have some time to “burn” … sorry, I couldn’t help it! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

After the first use, you don’t have to let a full wax pool form every single time, but it is ideal if you want to get the most life out of your candle. Just make sure you give your jar candles a nice long burn every so often to “reset” the wax memory and prevent any tunneling.

This will keep your candle looking great, smelling great, burning evenly, and all the other great things you want!


(By lighting a wood wick candle on its side, the wick is able to evenly ignite and begin to draw the wax up to fuel a healthy flame.)

2) Keep your wood wick trimmed short and free of charred bits

Keep your wood wick trimmed to about half a centimeter after each use, and clean off any burnt wood from previous use. 

Other than the tunneling problem, if your wood wick candle won’t stay lit it’s probably because the wick is too long, or it needs to be trimmed clean of charred material.

Remember it’s not the wood fueling your candle’s flame, it’s the wax. The flame is drawing the wax upwards through the wick, so if it’s not trimmed short and clean, the wax can’t make it to the flame. 

For optimal burn, keep your wood wick trimmed to about 1/2 cm - this is shorter than you might think the wick should be - Also burning the candle with the black debris will create black soot.

For trimming, we’ve always found an old set of nail clippers or wire cutters to work great. In a pinch, you can always use a napkin and your fingers to gently break off the burnt parts of the wick.

Just make sure to let your candle cool before trimming, as you don’t want any bits of ash or wick material left in the wax when you’re done. It’s much easier to clean this up when the wax is hard and cool!

It is also recommended to allow 2 hours between each burning of a candle to allow the wax to fully cool down. A fully cool wax candle will allow for optimal and even burning the next time round.

(Always ensure you trim your wicks prior to lighting your candles. This prevents smoke, blackening of the jar and a healthy sized flame.)

3) How to fix a candle that’s tunneling:

If your wood wick or jar candle has developed some tunneling from shorter burns, you can usually fix it - here’s how:

First and best option: if your candle will stay lit, give it a good long burn until all the wax is melted to the edge of the jar, and you’ve effectively “reset” the memory of the wax. The flame height may vary when you do this, but as long as there is still a burn, it should continue to create a melt pool, just be patient.

Tunneling candle

(Pictured: A candle with 'Tunneling')

4) What if my wooden wick wont stay lit?

No worries! This can be an issue on the rare occasion with wood wick candles and can be resolved.

If you are experiencing a wood wick's flame that dwindles, flickers or burns out – you may be experiencing the wood wick reaching a knot or discrepancy in the timber. These discrepancies in the wood aren’t always visible and can cause the wax to be less effectively drawn through the grain of the wooden wick. 

So, how do I fix it?

In a standard lighting situation, wood wicks can take a few goes to get started but once lit, should burn beautifully.

For relighting, tip the candle and relight on an angle. This will allow the flame to slowly reach across the wick and they start drawing the wax up to fuel it.

If your candle won’t stay lit because it is “drowning” in a wax pool, try using a paper towel or napkin to soak up some of the excess wax.

Then wait for a minute or so, relight your candle, and repeat until your wick has room to breathe!

If the above two won’t work, you may try scraping out the wax near the edge of the jar with a wooden spoon or plastic knife (try to avoid metal as there is a higher chance of scratching the jar with super sharp implements), or even creating a little dome of aluminum foil around the rim of the container to help melt the hard wax at the edges.

Those are both last resort options though - so no guarantees!

Remember, prevention is better than cure - and if you follow the 3 best practices mentioned above, your wood wick candles should burn beautifully.


Important Safety Tips:

Candles are meant to be enjoyed, but it is important that you follow some common sense safety rules when burning them.

  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Extinguish all candles when you leave a room or before going to sleep.
  • Follow the 2-foot rule - don't place a burning candle within two feet of clothing, books, curtains or anything flammable.
  • Keep lit candles away from draughts, ceiling fans and any air currents. Any form of air current can cause uneven burning, smoking, diminish the scent throw and even decrease the burn time.
  • Trim the wick to ½ a centimeter prior to each lighting of the candle. This helps prevent the flame from getting too large and ensure a wooden wick is short enough to draw up wax to keep alight.
  • Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.
  • Place candle holders on a stable, heat-resistant surface that is sturdy and large enough to catch any melted wax.
  • Always read and follow manufacturers' directions for use and safety, and extinguish a candle if the flame gets too close to the candle holder or container.
  • Place burning candles at least 10cm apart from one another.
  • A burning candle should not be used as a nightlight.
  • A candle should not be burned for more than four hours at a time.
  • Do not burn the candle if the container is cracked, chipped, scratched or damaged in any way.
  • Never move your candle while it is burning or still hot. Only move it once the flame is extinguished and the wax has cooled. Pouring or removing liquid wax from the vessel may cause the wick to extinguish and affect the future burn quality of the candle.

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