17 natural materials to make DIY candle wicks - historical embroidery (2023)

17 natural materials you can use to create your own highlights at home! Learn how to make your own candle wicks from natural materials. The following 17 handmade candle wicks are all natural, sustainable, non-toxic (not treated with chemicals like store-bought candle wicks), easy to make, inexpensive, readily available, and of course, work just like wicks in lamps. in the oil! You probably have the materials for your homemade candle wicks lying around at home or you can just collect them from nature.

I love making homemade candles and oil lamps with homemade wicks!

Related:3 Ways to Make Homemade Candle Wicks Using Cotton Thread - wikiHow

After making homemade candle wicks from cotton yarn, lamp wicks from sugar cane wicks and cooking oil, and homemade candles from tallow and beeswax, I've now experimented with which natural materials work as wicks and which don't.

Related:6 ways to make candles - homemade beeswax candles

After using rushes as natural wicks for the first time, I was amazed at how well they work as homemade candle wicks. No wonder cane wicks have been used since ancient times! Reed wicks do not smell, do not soot and burn with a constant flame for a long time. So rushed wicks inspired me to experiment with different natural materials to make wicks for DIY candles.


“It seems that the word cane was used as a synonym for wick in the past. Thus Baret, writing in 1580, speaks of "the week of the reeds or matches that keep the light in the lamp".Gärtnerchronik y nuevo horticultor, 1874)

You can make homemade candle wicks from all sorts of natural materials such as wood, reed, nettles, cotton, moss or safflower! I tried 26 natural materials to make DIY candle wicks, but only 17 of the natural candle wicks worked! My favorite homemade natural candle wicks are reeds, twisted cotton cord, and cotton-wrapped wood shavings for wax candles; and moss, thistle down, and rush down for oil lamps.

You can use the DIY natural candle wicks for homemade beeswax candles, tallow candles, oil lamps or emergency candles.

Natural wax candle wicks vs. oil lamps

Twisted wicks for wax candles

After gathering your natural candle wick materials, start making your own candle wicks. All of the following natural homemade candle wicks, except for reeds, wood shavings and orange pulp, are twisted together into a simple 3 strand braid. Twisted wicks are better for wax candles because twisted wicks burn better than twisted wicks alone. Plus, twisted wicks are also self-burning, which means you don't have to trim candle wicks with scissors.

"A flat wick" gives "a much better and clearer light with less smoke than a round wick using the same amount of oil". (An Encyclopedia of Housekeeping, 1855)

Before braiding, you need to prepare some of the natural candle wick materials: e.g. You need to cut paper and bark into strips or twist fluffy fibers into ropes. See below for detailed instructions.

Natural wicks for lamps

Some of the natural candle wick materials such as moss, thistle down and cattail down cannot be made into braided wicks. However, you can still use the puff pastry as a wick in a DIY oil lamp. These natural oil lamp wicks burn with an even flame that doesn't soot.

Related:How to make a simple can oil lamp

But of course you can also use all other natural candle wicks in oil lamps. Twisted cotton yarn and cane wicks are my favorite homemade oil lamp wicks.

How thick should I make DIY candle wicks?

To find out what the best wick strength is, you should do a few test candles. When in doubt, it is better to make the wick too thin than too thick.

The thickness of the wick depends on whether you want the candle to burn quickly or slowly. [...] the candles should burn faster or slower and thus give more or less light [...] then I use more or less strands in each strand of the platinum wick [...] it will be If you start with a strand , it's best to try a few candles first to see if the combined wick is too strong or too weak.Treatise on the chemistry of making candles and soap, 1856).

"If the wick is large, a large quantity of coal vapor remains unburned in the flame and rises in the form of smoke [...] The smaller the wick, the brighter and whiter the flame." (An Encyclopedia of Housekeeping, 1855).

How to make 17 natural handmade wicks for candles

Some of the following natural materials are not suitable for DIY candle wicks, such as pine needles, cotton-free wood, and orange pulp. However, for the sake of completeness, I've listed how I made them.

cotton cord, sisal yarn, linen yarn, etc.

  • Cotton, jute, linen, sisal, silk, wool, coconut

If the rope is thick, unwind a piece of rope. Braid some of the strands together into a 3-strand braid.

"The finer the cotton, the more capillary tubes the threads form" (Treatise on the chemistry of making candles and soap, 1856)

grass, straw, pine needles, etc.

Braid three blades of grass (pine needles, etc.) together.


  • nettle fiber, blackberry fiber, lime

Prepare the fibers as you would make a bead. If you don't know how to do this, there are many videos online on how to do it.Esfor the preparation of mulberry fibers. Twist the nettle fibers into a rope. You can use the other fibers as is. Then braid three small strands together.


Cut the paper into thin strips. Rotate the strips. Then braid three twisted strips of paper together.


  • Birch bark, mullein bark

peel shell. Cut the bark into thin strips and braid three strips together.


Cut small wood chips with a utility knife. For a candle sized candle, make the chips as big or smaller than a matchstick. I used fir for the wicks of my wooden candles, but you can use other woods as well.

wood + cotton

Unwind a piece of cotton thread. Wrap a piece of cotton string around a small piece of wood.

Wooden wicks consist of very thin pieces of wood bound around a considerable thickness with not very fine cotton, but in such a way that the size of the wick does not greatly exceed that of an ordinary candle wick. (The Family Encyclopedia of Useful Knowledge and General Literature, 1834).


Peel the green outer husk from the pulp of the white cane. Leave a small strip of green bark on the pulp as this will stabilize the wick. Once dry, use the core of the reed as a wick.

Related:How to make homemade wicks for candles with reeds

orange colored corn

After drying, use the orange pulp as a wick.

Moss, lichen, thistles and cattail fluff

These four materials can only be used as wicks for oil lamps. There shouldn't be much soil in the moss. Allow all materials to dry at room temperature. When completely dry, use a small handful as a wick in oil lamps. You can also twist cattail fluff into thick threads and use it as a wick for an oil lamp.

Can I use my natural wicks for DIY candles right away?

Before you can use your homemade natural wicks for candles and oil lamps, you need to let them dry completely.

Dried natural homemade locks

Depending on the material and climate, allow natural wick materials to dry for a few days to weeks. All natural wicks must be completely dry before being used as wicks for DIY candles and lamps.

By the way, you can braid most natural wicking materials before or after drying. But it is better to braid brittle materials like pine needles and grass before drying.

Related:3 Ways to Make Homemade Candle Molds - wikiHow

Natural candle wicks in history.

What natural materials were used for candle wicks in the past?

The following ancient text mentions reeds, nettles, mullein, flax, hemp, papyrus, cotton, hopstalks, moss, silk, straw, and wood as natural wicks for candles.

Related:How to make a medieval spiral candle - tutorial

“The wick of a lamp serves only to lift the oil [or wax] and thus provide a constant supply of the required amount of flame. There is no part of light by the combustion of its own substance; because the quantity consumed is too small to merit attention, and is generally covered with a hard deposit of carbonaceous matter, unable to burn for want of air access; He actually flames her and keeps the fuse away from her.' (An Encyclopedia of Housekeeping, 1855)

“The ancients used the stems of many different plants for the wicks of their candles and lamps. The peeled cane was so widely used for this purpose by them and by us; and they also used nettle, [...] mullein, and many other plants, the stalks of which were made of hard filaments, for the same purpose; crush them like hemp and, when dry, dip them in molten resin and other combustible substances.' (Enzyklopädie Britannica, 1817)


I cannot say when the cotton wick was introduced. Oakum (Stuppa) and Papyrus (Scirpa) were the ancient substitutes; but most likely our wicks were made of linen, gradually giving way to cotton as the material became more popular. (The Photographic News, 1883) The Romans made wax candles with wicks “of papyrus threads or reeds” (An Encyclopedia of Housekeeping, 1855). "Hops stalks or stalks were also used as wicks for candles." (Transactions, 1820) 'The Eskimos make their lamps from a kind of stone vessel [...] Their wicks are made of moss dipped in oil.' (An Encyclopedia of Housekeeping, 1855) For candle wicks I used 'sometimes rags or twine, and sometimes the dry bark of a grass like nettles' (The Life and Amazing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, 1856).

'Trial was also made from different wicks; such as ordinary cotton, sewing thread, reed, silk, straw and wood. Silk, straw, and wood would burn a little till they reached wax, and then they would be gone; of the other three, the thred consumed one-sixth the time faster than the cotten; the next cotten; So Rush was using at least a third of the time slower than Cotton. Because of the size of the flame, the cotton and [linen] thread throw out a very similar flame and the reed much less and weaker.' (The forest of forests, O one natural history en diez siglos,)

Incidentally, animal fibers such as wool and hair are not suitable as wicks because they are inherently flame retardant.

Historical cotton wicks for candles

Cotton wicks have been considered superior to all other wicks since the Middle Ages. As early as the Middle Ages, cotton was “imported” into England for the manufacture of candle wicks. (The Life and Times of Samuel Crompton from Hall-in-the-Wood, 1862) «It seems that cotton is the best material for making wicks; so remarkable is the case that spun cotton from the Levant was imported into England for lamp wicks long before it was used by the weaver. (An Encyclopedia of Housekeeping, 1855)

Since the Victorian era, all candle wicks have generally been made of cotton: "Candle wicks are generally made of cotton, which is considered the best material" (An Encyclopedia of Housekeeping, 1844). “Cotton threads should be fine and evenly spun, white, very clean and odorless [...] The finer the cotton, the more capillary tubes the threads form [...] and the carefully crafted wick, but the more common types, like 'Dips', and the lower grades of 'Casts', can use a cheaper quality thicker wire wick.' (Treatise on the chemistry of making candles and soap, 1856)

Historical wooden wicks for candles

The Munich candle makers have been producing tallow candles with wooden wicks for a number of years. They emit about the same amount of light as a wax candle, burn very evenly and evenly and never crack or drip.

Related:How to make tallow candles

These wicks are made from very thin pieces of wood joined together with very fine unspun cotton of considerable thickness, but in such a way that the size of the wick does not significantly exceed that of an ordinary candle wick. […] made of pine, willow and other types of wood, but most commonly made of fir.

Some take shoots from the annual pine [...] and scrape off the bark and shred it to the size of a small straw; then they rub these sticks with wax or tallow [...] and then roll them on a smooth table in very finely carded cotton [...] These wicks are placed right in the center of the mold and so held in place; and then a good fresh tallow is poured over it [...] therefore [...] These candles not only burn more than ordinary ones, they don't burn at all' (The Family Encyclopedia of Useful Knowledge and General Literature, 1834).

26 natural homemade candle wicks - the result

The best natural craft wicks for candles

My favorite homemade natural candle wicks are reeds, twisted cotton cord, and cotton-wrapped wood shavings for wax candles; and moss, thistle down, and rush down for oil lamps.

Which natural materials have proven themselves as DIY candle wicks?

  • Cotton
  • run
  • Linoleum
  • Million
  • nettle fibers
  • wood + cotton
  • Birch bark
  • Sisal
  • The
  • grated lemon
  • verbasco
  • Mora Phases
  • Grammatik
  • Stroh
  • Moos
  • thistle down
  • fluffy cattail

Cotton, wood+cotton, and cane wicks are easy to light and burn with a large, even, bright flame.

Linen, jute, and nettle wicks also burn with a large, even, bright flame, but are a bit more difficult to light.

Silk, birch bark and sisal wicks are also suitable as home wicks - they burn with a bright, even flame. Despite being an animal fiber like wool, which is naturally fire retardant, silk also burns well, especially after a second ignition. Birch bark burns poorly when lit, but burns normally after a second or two. And sisal is a little harder to whiten.

The grass, straw, hawthorn, mullein, and lemon wicks burn with a smaller but steady flame. Grass (hay) and straw (usually stalks of wheat) are obviously similar, but behave differently as wicks. I used houndstooth (dactylis glomerata), but you can use other grasses as well. Grass is a bit more difficult to light. And you should be careful when using a straw wick, especially indoors, because a straw wick can occasionally spark! Probably because the straw is very hard and the ends of the wick are too far apart when burning (seen in the video).

Dried moss, safflower fluff, and cattail fluff make equally good DIY wicks for oil lamps. All are easy to light and burn with a large, steady, bright flame that is odorless and soot free.

Which natural materials have not proven themselves as wicks for candles?

  • wood chips (no cotton)
  • over there
  • Papier
  • hopstalk
  • The dental part
  • plantago fibers
  • The coconut phase
  • orange core
  • Fled

I've read online that other people are using the wick-like core in an orange as a DIY wick replacement. However, I have tried twice to use this orange pulp wick in a wax candle and oil lamp. And both times it didn't work!

And I also read on the internet that other people use DIY paper wicks for their candles. However, one must be very careful with paper wicks, as paper wicks burn for a long time and quickly after being lit. Paper wicks for wax candles are very dangerous in my opinion! But as always, don't believe everything you read on the internet!

Dried hopstalks partially worked as DIY wicks, but the hopstalk wick burns with a very small flame.

Pine needles, wood shavings (not cotton), wool wicks, plantago fibers and coconut fibers extinguish immediately after lighting. I wasn't surprised that wool didn't work as a wick, because wool is inherently flame retardant. That's why people used to wear woolen clothing when cooking on an open fire! But I was a bit surprised that coir didn't work. I was also surprised that wood shavings didn't work as wicks like you can buy wooden wicks for candles! This means that these wooden candle wicks have to be treated with chemicals.

Unlike moss, dried lichen did not work as a wick for oil lamps: the flame went out after lighting.

Safety precautions for DIY candle wicks

If you want to try these natural homemade locks, follow a few safety precautions. Because these locks are made from natural materials, your locks may behave completely differently than mine!

  • Light the candles on a fireproof surface.
  • Keep a pitcher of water handy in case you need to put out the flame quickly!

I followed the same safety precautions when testing my candles. I lit the wax candles and oil lamps on a fireproof base. And I also kept a jug of water and wool rags (wool is fire retardant of course) nearby to put out the flame immediately if needed!

Please fix!


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Carlyn Walter

Last Updated: 29/12/2023

Views: 6106

Rating: 5 / 5 (70 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Carlyn Walter

Birthday: 1996-01-03

Address: Suite 452 40815 Denyse Extensions, Sengermouth, OR 42374

Phone: +8501809515404

Job: Manufacturing Technician

Hobby: Table tennis, Archery, Vacation, Metal detecting, Yo-yoing, Crocheting, Creative writing

Introduction: My name is Carlyn Walter, I am a lively, glamorous, healthy, clean, powerful, calm, combative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.