I own a lot of impractical teacups. The problem with pretty teacups is that they often make bad tea. Bowl shaped cups cool too quickly, tiny cups make tiny serves and impractical handles suit no one. This is one of many beautiful unused tea sets, that are sitting around, filled with origami.
So I decided to try a current yuppie fad, wood wick candles. After much googling, I discovered that no one seems to know what species of wood is used. I did a bit of experimentation and discovered that pine works well if you soak it in wax first. Pine is also extremely easy to buy, I bought long matches and icecream sticks. You can buy purpose made wooden wicks on eBay, but they are shockingly expensive.
You will need:
A sacrificial pot or stainless steel bowl. Don’t use one you plan to use again for other purposes, buy an opshop one.
Wax. You can buy this in the form of cheap candles, but buy container candles not pillars, as the wax will be more volatile. Tea lights are perfect.
Wicks. Craft stores have all sorts of little pieces of pine and the reeds that come with oil defusers work well too.
Containers. Any bowl shaped heat resistant container is fine.
Essential oils. The oils are what makes your flame crackle.
Melt wax in your cheap pan over low heat. Add essential oil. To make a good crackle you will need a significant proportion of oil, 6%-10%.
Soak your wicks in the liquid wax until they stop releasing bubbles. This should take a couple of minutes. Then lay them out to cool.
Pour the wax into containers.
Cut or break wicks to the correct length. Leave enough for 15-20mm of wick above the surface.
When the wax is a soft opaque solid, push in the wicks. I found that a wooden wick makes a slightly smaller melt pool than a cotton one, some containers may need multiple wicks. Remember, you don’t have to light them all at once.
If you are using large containers, the wax may sink significantly in the centre, this can simply be filled with more wax once the candle is cold.
When you light these, put the flame low to melt a little pool of wax beside the wick, this helps the wicks last longer.
Wooden wicks smoulder for longer than cotton ones, creating more smoke, so keep an extra wick lying around, and after blowing them out, put a drip of liquid wax on the wick to put it out.