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How To Carry Out A Burn Test

Many of our customers at Scents Soaps and Candles ask us what is the correct way to carry out a burn test on your candles. To try and make things easier for you we have put together a quick guide on ‘How to carry out a burn test’.

  1. You should first of all trim back the wick of your candle to 1/4 inch. If you are going to test many different candles remember to make sure that you have labeled each one clearly.
  2. Put your candles on a heat resistant surface that is flat and clean. Make sure that you space your candles at least 3 – 6 inches apart. Ensure that you can see the candles while they are being burnt as it is important that they are not left unattended while lit.
  3. Now carefully light each of the candles and write down the time. It is very important to keep watching the candles when they burn and this is even more critical when you are testing new wicks.
  4. When two hours is up you should write down the details of the melt pool and wick appearance for each candle that you are test burning. The melt pool should have achieved the correct diameter* by this time. If you have not got the correct melt pool it is probably because you are using a wick that is too small. You should also take care to see if there is any mushrooming or soot on the candle wick.
  5. When you have burnt your candles for four hours you should note how the wick and melt pool look before putting out the flame on each candle. After this length of time you should find that the melt pool of a well wicked candle will have reached the correct diameter* and it should now be around 1/2 inch deep. If you discover that the wick is mushrooming, or that the candles are sooting, or that the melt pool is greater than 1/2 inch deep it will be because the wick is probably too large. 
  6. Finally you should let the candles cool for another 5 hours and then repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 and carry on doing this until the candles are fully burned. You will usually find that the burn quality of each candle will change when you burn the whole of the candle. It is important to burn the entire candle before you decide on which is the best candle wick to use. 

Desired Diameter

The desired diameter that you want to achieve will depend upon the type of candle that you are making. Candle makers usually want their container candles to burn right up to the edge of the candle glass and not leave any wax touching the glass sides. When making pillar candles you may decide to leave a 1/4 inch of side-wall as this will help prevent any spillage.