What Can I Use As A Candle Wick?

Updated on December 7, 2022

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What Can I Use As A Candle Wick?

Candles are great for creating ambiance at home, especially during the winter months. But if you don't have any candle wicks available, there are plenty of alternatives. Here are some frequently used ones:

There are several alternatives to using a regular candle wick. Some of the most commonly used include paper towel rolls, cotton balls, toothpicks, wooden skewers, straws, string, wire, bamboo sticks, etc. However, be aware that they may not burn cleanly. It is generally recommended that you only use these types of wicks in emergencies, such as a power failure.

What Kinds Of Things Can I Use As Candle Wicks?

Here is a list of some good items to be used as candle wicks:


Toothpicks are great for making candles. You'll need toothpicks that are long enough to reach the height of your candle. You may also need a metal base to keep your candle upright.

You can also use chopsticks as wooden wicks. Chopsticks are ideal for creating pillar candles. Just remember that they won't work well for containers or molds.

Popsicle sticks are another option. Popsicle sticks are usually made out of plastic, so they won't burn very well. However, they can still be used as finished wicks.

Yarn, Cotton String, Or Twine

Candle wicks come in various forms. Some are made out of natural materials, such as cotton strings, while others are made out of synthetic materials, such as polyester. Yarn is another option, but it needs to be stiffened with borax. Borax is a chemical compound that makes yarns stiffer and stronger.

You may also find that certain types of yarns are dyed or bleached. These types of yarns won't work well as larger candle wicks. Instead, try using a cotton string or twine instead.

A cotton thread or cotton twine is a great alternative to yarn. It requires no special treatment, and it works perfectly fine as a candle wick. However, it does require a stiffening agent, such as boracic acid, to keep it from breaking during burning.

Borax is a common household item that comes in powder form. Simply mix it with water until it dissolves completely. Then apply the solution directly onto the cotton string or twine. Let it dry overnight, and you'll have a strong, flexible candle wick.


You can use almost anything as a candle wick. You can use regular copy paper, notebook paper, or construction paper. Just remember to soak it in borax and melted wax before lighting it. Borax is used to prevent the wick from burning through the paper.

Once soaked, place the wick inside the center of the paper and light it. As soon as the flame goes out, remove the wick and let it cool completely. Then, cut off the end of the wick and discard it.

This method works great if you want to make candles at home. However, if you want to make a large batch of candles, you'll probably want to buy a roll of wicks instead of making them yourself.

Strips Of Cotton

You can use strips of cotton from an old shirt to make a cotton wick for a candle. All you need is cotton strips and a container to hold the melted wax. Start by cutting off the sleeves and legs of an old t-shirt. Then cut the remaining fabric into strips approximately 1/4 inch wide.

Place the strips into a glass jar and pour melted paraffin wax onto the strips. Let the wax cool until hard enough to handle. Remove the strips from the jar and place them into a candle mold. Light the candle and enjoy its soothing aroma.

The cotton string wick works well if you only need a small number of candles. However, if you plan to sell candles at craft fairs or online, you'll need to find a more efficient way to produce large quantities of candles.

Strand Of An Old Mop

You can use any kind of cotton string, rope, or anything else that can be shaped into cleaner wicks. You'll find that most candles come with an entire chunky wick already attached, but if yours doesn't, you can easily attach one yourself. Simply cut off a piece of cotton string, tie it at the end, and place it inside the jar.

Cotton strings are inexpensive, so you won't break the bank using this method. Plus, you can reuse the same base wick material every time you light your candle. Just remember to do the homemade or pre-made candle wick trimming so it burns evenly.

How To Make Candles With DIY Candle Wicks

Here is the complete process to produce candles using DIY candle wicks:

Melt Wax

Candle wax melts down easily if you heat it slowly. You can melt it using a hot plate or stovetop burner. Once melted, pour the wax into a container and let it cool. Then cut off any excess wax at the bottom of the container.

To make a candle mold, simply place the wax inside a toilet paper roll tube. Let the wax harden overnight. Remove the wax from the toilet paper roll tube and trim away any excess wax. Now you have a beautiful candle mold.

Center Wicks

Once the candle has hardened, it’ll be time to stabilize the pre-made wick. To do so, use one of the salt-treated wicks supports to hold the wick in place.

Remove Molds

Toilet paper rolls are great for making candles. You'll find that they come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. After you've made your candles, you'll want to remove the toilet paper rolls from the mold. Here's how to do it.

First, cut off the bottom of the toilet paper roll. Then, carefully pull the sides away from the center until you can easily lift the entire piece out of the mold. Now, you can either save the pieces for future projects or throw them away.

Trim Wicks

If the candles need trimming, use a pair of sharp kitchen shears to cut them off.


Candle wicks come in a variety of materials, including cotton string, hemp rope, paper towel rolls, and even old shoelaces. All of them work well, but there are advantages and disadvantages to using each material.

For instance, cotton string burns brighter than hemp rope, but hemp rope lasts longer. Paper towel rolls burn hotter than cotton string, but they last less. Old shoelaces burn slower than cotton string, but the flame is steadier.

To make homemade candle wicks, simply cut lengths of cotton string or hemp rope to fit inside the jar. Add enough wax to cover the wick completely. Let the mixture cool and harden. Once hardened, trim the excess wax away from the wick.

Once you've trimmed the homemade wick, place it in the center of the jar and light it. As the candle burns, the wick should draw up the melted wax and form a cone shape.

After the candle burns out, remove the wick by pulling it straight out of the jar.

Smell is one of the human senses which can flow through the whole body. I am the Founder of NeoCandle.com where we talk all about scented candles. Known as Candace the Candle Girl, I know pretty much all there is to know about scented candles. I make and sell them on Etsy and Ebay - so be sure to ask if you have any burning questions :) (pun intended ;) )

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