Sometimes, you may need to make a candle with no proper wick, which could lead you to wonder: can you use a toothpick as a candle wick? Knowing what you can and cannot use as a candle wick is helpful if you are in a crisis or want to craft an improvised candle.
You can use a toothpick as a wick. Yet, I only suggest it if it’s necessary, such as during a power outage. A toothpick can burn similarly to a standard wick with the right wax and safeguards. Using a toothpick or other candle wick resorts can be valuable in a crisis, but it can pose many risks.
Keep reading to learn all you need to know about using toothpicks as candle wicks. I have tried this method myself and can tell you what you need to know about using toothpicks as wicks.
Why Use a Toothpick as a Wick?
You can use a toothpick as a wick for various reasons, such as in an emergency, making a candle from scratch, replacing a wick that won’t ignite, or for a candle that doesn’t have a wick.
According to my research, many people use a toothpick as a wick when their power goes out, and they have no source of light at night time. Crafting a makeshift candle out of wax, a jar, and a toothpick can be a lifesaver in fearful situations.
I noticed many people using toothpicks as wicks because they had nothing else to use and simply wanted to make a candle.
How Does Using a Toothpick Compare to a Normal Wick?
A standard wick and toothpicks are similar in terms of burn quality, as a toothpick is solid enough to burn like a regular wick would. However, there are factors in how toothpicks burn compared to a standard wick.
These factors can include the following:
- The type of toothpick. (Wood type, length, etc…)
- The kind of wax burned. (Soy, coconut, etc…)
- The size of your container.
All of these factors can play a huge role in whether using a toothpick as a wick will be effective or not. Different types of wooden toothpicks will naturally burn differently, along with the different types of wax.
Does a Toothpick Burn Like a Normal Wick Would?
As mentioned above, different types of toothpicks will factor into how your makeshift wick burns. With several varieties of toothpicks, there are different types of wood, lengths, thicknesses, etc. Thin and fast-burning wood won’t be as suitable of a wick as a thick and slow-burning toothpick.
That said, toothpicks will not absorb the fragrance and wax as well as a standard wick; this may result in a weaker scent throw. However, depending on your situation, you may be okay with a soft scent throw.
Pros of Using a Toothpick as a Wick
Now that you know why and how a toothpick works as a wick, let’s look deeper into the pros of using toothpicks as a wick:
- They can be a precious resource in an emergency.
- They can replace a wick that won’t ignite in your candle.
- It can slow down a candle that’s burning or melting too fast.
These pros may seem tempting; however, with every pro, there is a con.
Cons of Using a Toothpick as a Wick
Let’s delve deeper into the cons and risks of using toothpicks as wicks. As mentioned earlier, using a toothpick can pose risks.
Those risks could include but are not limited to the following:
- Toothpicks pose a higher fire risk.
- Most toothpicks are too short or thin to use as a wick, resulting in a failed candle attempt.
- Toothpicks may burn too fast for the wax, resulting in the flame going out.
- Toothpicks may not give off a great scent throw.
As you can see, there are more cons than pros to using toothpicks as wicks. No worries, I have come up with a few tips and tricks for you to use when using a toothpick as a wick.
Tips and Tricks to Using Toothpicks as Wicks
As I said, I found a few tips and tricks that can make using toothpicks as wicks a breeze. You can dip or soak your toothpick in melted wax before using it in your candle to help promote a steady burn. A wax-coated toothpick will work better than one that has not been wax coated.
Another thing to mention is to use long and thick toothpicks! As mentioned earlier, thin and brittle toothpicks are less suitable due to how they burn.
How to Use a Toothpick as a Wick
The best way I have found to use toothpicks is by observing the following steps:
- Cut off one end of a toothpick, preferably wooden.
- Ignite the end of the toothpick.
- Once slightly burnt, dip the end into melted wax to ensure your toothpick burns well.
- Let the wax cool completely on the toothpick.
- Trim off the excess wax. With too much wax on the toothpick, you could have trouble placing it.
- Place the wax-dipped end into the middle of the candle, as you would with any other wood wick.
- Pour your wax as usual, let the candle cool, and cure properly.
- Once your candle has cured, light it up!
There you have it, a toothpick as a wick!
What Type of Toothpicks Work Best?
As I said, not all toothpicks are an ideal candle wick choice. A standard toothpick is wooden, commonly bamboo, about 2 1/2 inches long by 3/16 inches (5 mm) wide.
The best toothpick I have found to use is the 7-inch long by 3/16 inch wide. These toothpicks burned evenly and for a long time! They are the most similar wick alternative I have found yet.
What Else Could Be Used as a Candle Wick?
With all this knowledge about toothpicks as candle wicks, you may be left wondering: can I use anything else as a candle wick? That is an excellent question!
You can use many other things as a candle wick; however, I suggest sticking to standard cotton wicks for the best results.
Things you could use as a wick from around your home can include:
- 100% cotton string or strip of fabric from your clothing.
- Bamboo skewers (they are thin and brittle, so they may break)
- Tightly rolled up newspaper or paper towels (Not recommended as paper is highly flammable)
- A popsicle stick.
- A wooden stick from the outdoors.
Some of these options may seem silly, but they will work!
Should You Use a Toothpick as a Wick?
Now that you know you can use a toothpick as a wick, should you? I recommend against using toothpicks as a wick if it is unnecessary. That said, in an emergency, using a toothpick as a wick could be a lifesaver!
It is not the best idea, but it will indeed work! With more risks than advantages, it’s best to stick with standard cotton or paper core wicks.
On the whole, you can certainly use toothpicks as a candle wick. However, I only recommend it if you are in dire need of a candle immediately. Though using a toothpick is possible, it poses more risks than advantages, making it an ineffective wick option.