How to Extend a Candle Wick

How to Extend a Candle Wick

We've all been there—you go to light your favorite candle, only to find that the wick is covered in wax. But don't throw out that candle just yet! If you can still see the wick but it's too short to light, try adding a makeshift paper or wooden wick to burn off some of the wax. If the wick is completely covered with wax, replace the wick to save your candle!

Method 1 of 2:
Adding to a Short Wick

1
Dig out the wick if it's covered in a little wax. If the wick is buried just under the surface of the wax, use a spoon or a butter knife to carefully scrape away the wax until the wick is exposed. You could also use a lighter or a hair dryer to melt the wax—just pour the excess wax into a separate heat-safe container. [1] X Research source The new wick needs to sit right beside the old one, which is why it's important to dig the existing wick out from underneath the wax. Don't just try to dig a deep enough hole to burn the wick—the candle will just burn down in a tunnel, and the wax will eventually drown the wick again.[2] X Research source
2
Melt some candle wax in a wax warmer or double boiler. The easiest way to melt wax is to put it in a wax warmer, but if you don't have one, set up a double-boiler—fill one pot with water and put it on to boil, then sit a metal bowl or another pot inside the first one so it's just touching the boiling water. Place the wax inside the second bowl and stir it frequently until it melts. [3] X Research source Use the wax you scraped or melted out of your candle, or scrape some wax out of another old candle if you have one on hand. No matter which type of wick you're making, it's best to dip it in wax first. This will help it burn more slowly and evenly.
3
Make a paper wick if you just need a little extra length. For a quick way to fix a short wick, take a scrap of paper and roll it up tightly. Choose a thicker paper, like notebook or copy paper, since it will burn more slowly. [4] X Research source You can even use toilet paper or a paper towel if that's all you have on hand.[5] X Research source However, avoid using colored paper or a page from a magazine—the fumes from the ink can be toxic.[6] X Research source You'll only need the wick to be about 1⁄4–1⁄2 in (0.64–1.27 cm), but it's okay to roll it longer if it's easier. You can trim it down later.
Image titled Extend a Candle Wick Step 4
4
Opt for a wooden wick if the old wick is very short. If your wick is just barely sticking up, you'll need a sturdier wooden wick so you can push it deeper down into the wax. Use a toothpick, matchstick, wooden skewer—whatever thin piece of wood you have on hand. You can also cut a popsicle stick lengthwise into halves or thirds to use as a wick, if you'd like.
5
Use tweezers to dip the wick into the melted wax. Carefully lower your paper or wooden wick into the bowl with your melted wax. Use the tweezers to turn the wick back and forth, ensuring it's completely coated. [7] X Research source If you're using a paper wick, keep a grip on it with the tweezers so it doesn't come unrolled. Once the wick is coated in the wax, remove it and let it cool for about 5 minutes or until the wax hardens.
6
Use a lighter or hair dryer to soften the surface of the candle. You don't have to melt the wax all the way. Just heat it up a little so the wax starts to soften. [8] X Research source This will make it easier to push the wick into the candle.
7
Press the wick into the candle wax. If you're using a paper wick, wrap it around the existing wick, then gently press just the very bottom into the softened wax. If you have a wooden wick, place it beside the old wick and push it deep down into the candle. [9] X Research source If you need help pushing the wooden wick into the candle, try tapping it lightly with a mallet or hammer. Use sharp shears to trim the wick so it's only about 1⁄4 in (0.64 cm) long.[10] X Research source
8
Light the wick, then pour off the wax once it melts. Try to let your new wick burn long enough for the wax to melt all the way across the surface of the candle. Then, pour the melted wax into the same container you used to melt your wax earlier. Keep doing that until the old wick is long enough to use again! [11] X Research source Using the same wax container will make cleanup easier! Just let the wax cool until it hardens, then scrape it out of the bowl or pot. If you'd like, save the wax to use in a wax warmer or another project—or simply toss it in the trash if you don't think you'll use it again.
Advertisement

Method 2 of 2:
Replacing a Lost Wick

1
Melt a little wax in a double boiler. If you have a dedicated double boiler, use that. If you don't, it's easy to make your own! You'll either need 2 pots or a pot and a metal bowl—either way, the second pot or bowl should rest on the sides of the first pot without touching the bottom. Fill the bottom pot with water and bring it to a boil, then place the wax in the second pot or bowl and stir it frequently until it melts. [12] X Research source Make sure the pot or bowl doesn't touch the bottom of the first pot. If it does, the wax will scorch! Scrape some of the wax out of the candle you're replacing, use another old candle, or melt a small tealight or taper candle. You don't need much—just enough to coat the wick.
2
Dip 100% cotton cord into the melted wax. Cut a length of cord that's at least 2–3 in (5.1–7.6 cm) longer than the height of your candle jar. Use tweezers or tongs to carefully place the cord into the wax. Hold it there for about 30 seconds, stirring it around with the tweezers to ensure it's completely saturated with the wax. [13] X Research source Cord is typically thicker than string, so it will burn more slowly. Butcher's twine is a good option for this—it's about 2mm in diameter and is already braided.[14] X Research source If all you have is string, try braiding 3 strands together to create a thicker cord.[15] X Research source The wax will help the cord burn slowly and evenly.
Image titled Extend a Candle Wick Step 11
3
Allow the cord to dry completely. Remove the cord from the wax and stretch it out so it's completely straight. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes, or until the wax is dry and the cord feels stiff. [16] X Research source If you need to, cut the cord into shorter lengths once it's dry.[17] X Research source
4
Place the candle inside your double boiler to melt the wax. Carefully lower the candle jar into your double-boiler. Let it sit there for about 10-15 minutes, or until the wax starts to soften. You can also use your oven to melt the wax, if you prefer. Place your candle upside-down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then put it in an oven that's been heated to 180 °F (82 °C) for about 15 minutes.
5
Remove the wax from the candle and place it in the double boiler. Once the wax is soft enough, use a butter knife to scoop it out of the jar. Then, place the wax inside the bowl or pot you were using until it melts completely. [18] X Research source If you melted the wax in the oven, carefully pour it from the sheet pan into the double-boiler to keep it warm until you're ready to use it again.
6
Thread the new wick through the metal-bottom. Use tweezers to carefully grab the old wick and metal-bottom (the metal piece that holds the wick in place) from the melted wax. Then, squeeze the top of the metal piece with needle-nose pliers to open it. Pull out the old wick and discard it, then thread the new wick through the same hole and pinch it closed again with the pliers. [19] X Research source If you don't want to reuse the metal-bottom, use hot glue to attach your new wick to the bottom of your candle container.
7
Use a stick to center the new wick in the candle. Wrap the loose end of the wick around a pencil or popsicle stick, then drop the other end into the bottom of the candle container. Make sure the metal-bottom is laying flat on the bottom of the candle jar. Rest the pencil or stick across the mouth of the container—this will ensure the wick stays centered as the candle hardens. [20] X Research source
8
Pour the melted wax back into the candle jar. Grab a couple of pot holders, then carefully pour the melted wax back into its original container. Be sure not to bump the wick as you do this—you want it to stay perfectly in the middle of the jar! [21] X Research source Be very careful so you don't burn yourself on the hot bowl or wax.
Image titled Extend a Candle Wick Step 17
9
Let the wax cool until it's completely hardened. For the best results, give your candle at least 3 days to cure before you light it again. However, some candle experts recommend letting the candle cure for at least 1-2 weeks. [22] X Research source Once the candle has fully cured, trim the wick to 1⁄8–1⁄4 in (0.32–0.64 cm) before you light it.[23] X Research source
Advertisement

Method 1 of 2:
Adding to a Short Wick

1
Dig out the wick if it's covered in a little wax. If the wick is buried just under the surface of the wax, use a spoon or a butter knife to carefully scrape away the wax until the wick is exposed. You could also use a lighter or a hair dryer to melt the wax—just pour the excess wax into a separate heat-safe container. [1] X Research source The new wick needs to sit right beside the old one, which is why it's important to dig the existing wick out from underneath the wax. Don't just try to dig a deep enough hole to burn the wick—the candle will just burn down in a tunnel, and the wax will eventually drown the wick again.[2] X Research source
2
Melt some candle wax in a wax warmer or double boiler. The easiest way to melt wax is to put it in a wax warmer, but if you don't have one, set up a double-boiler—fill one pot with water and put it on to boil, then sit a metal bowl or another pot inside the first one so it's just touching the boiling water. Place the wax inside the second bowl and stir it frequently until it melts. [3] X Research source Use the wax you scraped or melted out of your candle, or scrape some wax out of another old candle if you have one on hand. No matter which type of wick you're making, it's best to dip it in wax first. This will help it burn more slowly and evenly.
3
Make a paper wick if you just need a little extra length. For a quick way to fix a short wick, take a scrap of paper and roll it up tightly. Choose a thicker paper, like notebook or copy paper, since it will burn more slowly. [4] X Research source You can even use toilet paper or a paper towel if that's all you have on hand.[5] X Research source However, avoid using colored paper or a page from a magazine—the fumes from the ink can be toxic.[6] X Research source You'll only need the wick to be about 1⁄4–1⁄2 in (0.64–1.27 cm), but it's okay to roll it longer if it's easier. You can trim it down later.
Image titled Extend a Candle Wick Step 4
4
Opt for a wooden wick if the old wick is very short. If your wick is just barely sticking up, you'll need a sturdier wooden wick so you can push it deeper down into the wax. Use a toothpick, matchstick, wooden skewer—whatever thin piece of wood you have on hand. You can also cut a popsicle stick lengthwise into halves or thirds to use as a wick, if you'd like.
5
Use tweezers to dip the wick into the melted wax. Carefully lower your paper or wooden wick into the bowl with your melted wax. Use the tweezers to turn the wick back and forth, ensuring it's completely coated. [7] X Research source If you're using a paper wick, keep a grip on it with the tweezers so it doesn't come unrolled. Once the wick is coated in the wax, remove it and let it cool for about 5 minutes or until the wax hardens.
6
Use a lighter or hair dryer to soften the surface of the candle. You don't have to melt the wax all the way. Just heat it up a little so the wax starts to soften. [8] X Research source This will make it easier to push the wick into the candle.
7
Press the wick into the candle wax. If you're using a paper wick, wrap it around the existing wick, then gently press just the very bottom into the softened wax. If you have a wooden wick, place it beside the old wick and push it deep down into the candle. [9] X Research source If you need help pushing the wooden wick into the candle, try tapping it lightly with a mallet or hammer. Use sharp shears to trim the wick so it's only about 1⁄4 in (0.64 cm) long.[10] X Research source
8
Light the wick, then pour off the wax once it melts. Try to let your new wick burn long enough for the wax to melt all the way across the surface of the candle. Then, pour the melted wax into the same container you used to melt your wax earlier. Keep doing that until the old wick is long enough to use again! [11] X Research source Using the same wax container will make cleanup easier! Just let the wax cool until it hardens, then scrape it out of the bowl or pot. If you'd like, save the wax to use in a wax warmer or another project—or simply toss it in the trash if you don't think you'll use it again.
Advertisement

Method 2 of 2:
Replacing a Lost Wick

1
Melt a little wax in a double boiler. If you have a dedicated double boiler, use that. If you don't, it's easy to make your own! You'll either need 2 pots or a pot and a metal bowl—either way, the second pot or bowl should rest on the sides of the first pot without touching the bottom. Fill the bottom pot with water and bring it to a boil, then place the wax in the second pot or bowl and stir it frequently until it melts. [12] X Research source Make sure the pot or bowl doesn't touch the bottom of the first pot. If it does, the wax will scorch! Scrape some of the wax out of the candle you're replacing, use another old candle, or melt a small tealight or taper candle. You don't need much—just enough to coat the wick.
2
Dip 100% cotton cord into the melted wax. Cut a length of cord that's at least 2–3 in (5.1–7.6 cm) longer than the height of your candle jar. Use tweezers or tongs to carefully place the cord into the wax. Hold it there for about 30 seconds, stirring it around with the tweezers to ensure it's completely saturated with the wax. [13] X Research source Cord is typically thicker than string, so it will burn more slowly. Butcher's twine is a good option for this—it's about 2mm in diameter and is already braided.[14] X Research source If all you have is string, try braiding 3 strands together to create a thicker cord.[15] X Research source The wax will help the cord burn slowly and evenly.
Image titled Extend a Candle Wick Step 11
3
Allow the cord to dry completely. Remove the cord from the wax and stretch it out so it's completely straight. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes, or until the wax is dry and the cord feels stiff. [16] X Research source If you need to, cut the cord into shorter lengths once it's dry.[17] X Research source
4
Place the candle inside your double boiler to melt the wax. Carefully lower the candle jar into your double-boiler. Let it sit there for about 10-15 minutes, or until the wax starts to soften. You can also use your oven to melt the wax, if you prefer. Place your candle upside-down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then put it in an oven that's been heated to 180 °F (82 °C) for about 15 minutes.
5
Remove the wax from the candle and place it in the double boiler. Once the wax is soft enough, use a butter knife to scoop it out of the jar. Then, place the wax inside the bowl or pot you were using until it melts completely. [18] X Research source If you melted the wax in the oven, carefully pour it from the sheet pan into the double-boiler to keep it warm until you're ready to use it again.
6
Thread the new wick through the metal-bottom. Use tweezers to carefully grab the old wick and metal-bottom (the metal piece that holds the wick in place) from the melted wax. Then, squeeze the top of the metal piece with needle-nose pliers to open it. Pull out the old wick and discard it, then thread the new wick through the same hole and pinch it closed again with the pliers. [19] X Research source If you don't want to reuse the metal-bottom, use hot glue to attach your new wick to the bottom of your candle container.
7
Use a stick to center the new wick in the candle. Wrap the loose end of the wick around a pencil or popsicle stick, then drop the other end into the bottom of the candle container. Make sure the metal-bottom is laying flat on the bottom of the candle jar. Rest the pencil or stick across the mouth of the container—this will ensure the wick stays centered as the candle hardens. [20] X Research source
8
Pour the melted wax back into the candle jar. Grab a couple of pot holders, then carefully pour the melted wax back into its original container. Be sure not to bump the wick as you do this—you want it to stay perfectly in the middle of the jar! [21] X Research source Be very careful so you don't burn yourself on the hot bowl or wax.
Image titled Extend a Candle Wick Step 17
9
Let the wax cool until it's completely hardened. For the best results, give your candle at least 3 days to cure before you light it again. However, some candle experts recommend letting the candle cure for at least 1-2 weeks. [22] X Research source Once the candle has fully cured, trim the wick to 1⁄8–1⁄4 in (0.32–0.64 cm) before you light it.[23] X Research source
Advertisement