How To Make DIY Candle Wicks With Cotton String

Did you know that you can make your own candle wicks with things you already have at home? In this short tutorial I’ll show you how to make DIY candle wicks with cotton string!

DIY Candle Wicks Tutorial

Use your DIY candle wicks for DIY oil lamps or homemade candles. Cotton string candle wicks burn for a long time with a steady flame that doesn’t soot.


How To Make DIY Candle Wicks With Cotton String

You’ll need:

  • 100% cotton string
  • scissor
  • optional: vegetable oil or salt


Use thick cotton string. If the cotton string is too thin, crochet or braid together three thinner cotton strings.

DIY Candle Wicks Salt Cooking Oil

3 Ways To Make DIY Candle Wicks

I tried 3 different ways to make DIY candle wicks. I used:

  • the plain cotton string
  • cotton string soaked in vegetable oil
  • cotton string + salt: I covered the cotton strings with water and added 1 tbsp salt, brought it to a boil, then let the DIY candle wicks dry overnight. Salt stiffens the candle wicks.

DIY Candle Mold

DIY Candles

I made DIY candle molds with an empty toilet paper roll.

diy candle wick candle making
Candle making

For the test candles, I used leftover Christmas tree candles.

diy candle wick candle making diy toilet paper roll candle mold

While the wax hardens, it’s usually necessary to stabilize the DIY wick. Here you can see how stiff the salt made the wick – I used one of the DIY salt-treated wicks to support the wick on the right.

diy candle wick toilet paper roll candle mold
Removing the toilet paper roll candle mold

diy candle wick trim wick

Trim the wick if necessary.

diy candle wick burn test cotton string salt oil

DIY Candle Wicks – Burn Test

All three DIY candle wicks work – note the yellowish flame color of the salt-treated wick. I prefer the oil soaked wick: it’s easy to make and burns with a bright, steady flame.

As you can see, the salt-treated wick is more difficult to light. And salt-treated wicks soot in an oil lamp – a plain cotton string works much better.


DIY Oil Lamp Tutorials


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How To Make DIY Candle Wicks With Cotton String 3 Ways

34 thoughts on “How To Make DIY Candle Wicks With Cotton String

  1. Lina I was just telling my daughter the other day that we should find a way to make a wick for all the wax we have saved up. Your post is very timely!!

    1. The braid and crochet candle wicks in the pictures are actually not white but beige because I used unbleached cotton. I try to use cotton string that is as natural as possible (not bleached and not dyed) because treated wicks can release chemicals into the air when burned.

    2. Because some colours are toxic when burnt, and they all turn black when burnt, If you wasted a coloured look to a candy wick for sale appeal, I would dip the top of the wicks in a strongly coloured wax.

    1. Thank you! 🙂 I haven’t used it for bigger candles yet but I think it should work. Candles with a large diameter require a thicker wick so I’d braid together five or more strands.

  2. How long do you soak the cotton string in the oil and how long until you can use it? Just normal vegetable oil works?

    1. It takes just some seconds until the cotton string has soaked up the oil and you can use it immediately. And yes, normal vegetable oil works such as olive oil, sunflower oil …

  3. Did you use the metal tabs at bottom of candle wax? Sorry, I don’t know what they are called. Thanks for the info! Really helped…….Mechelle.

    1. I used cotton yarn for knitting or crocheting but it doesn’t matter what you use: You can even use shoe laces as long as it’s 100% cotton.

    1. No, wool doesn’t work because wool is naturally fire-retardant. But it probably works with other natural fibers instead of cotton, such as linen or rayon. But I haven’t tried it yet, I’ve only used cotton so far.

    1. I haven’t found enough information yet on whether wicks treated with borax are safe to use or emit toxins when burned. So I haven’t used borax to make candle wicks so far. But the candles burned well even without borax.

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