Can You Use a Toothpick as a Candle Wick?

This is a guide covering toothpicks and candles.

Are you big on DIY? Is your favorite hobby candle-making?

If so, you might have wondered what materials can be used as wicks.

Wicks play such an important role in the efficient burning of the candle.

A good candlewick will help the candle last longer and burn brighter.

You might have seen candles with wood wicks in your favorite candle store. It was like a lightbulb moment.

You would have wondered if you can fashion a candlewick out of a toothpick.

After all, toothpicks are usually made of wood. So, why not!

Can You Use a Toothpick as a Candle Wick?

To answer your question, yes, you can use a toothpick as a candlewick. But it takes some work to make this DIY hack work better.

toothpick for candle wick

How Do You Make a Candle Wick Out of a Toothpick?

If the wick of your candle is too short for your candle size, don’t discard the candle as it doesn’t burn properly.

Awaken your inner DIY warrior and fix it using a toothpick.

To use a toothpick as a candle wick, all you need are a candle, a toothpick, and a pair of pliers.

Measure the length of the candlewick. Cut the toothpick 5 mm longer than the length of the candlewick.

With the help of the pair of pliers, push the toothpick into the softer wax, right beside the wick. Push the pointy end inside.

Light the toothpick once you place it inside the wax. Since it’s combustible, it gets extinguished easily. That’s okay.

The point of using a toothpick is to let the candle burn more efficiently as the shorter wick doesn’t produce a bright flame.

As the wax melts, the toothpick gets coated in molten wax and burns brighter.

Voila, you salvaged the shorter wick situation like a hero!

You can use the same hack when you have a candle with multiple wicks and it’s burning unevenly.

Place the toothpicks beside the wicks and employ the same method. Works wonders!

Problems of Using a Toothpick as a Candle Wick

Before discussing the problems of using a toothpick as a candle wick, let us explain to you how a wick works and how a candle burns.

Wicks are usually made of woven or braided cotton threads. Sometimes, thin paper filaments are interwoven with cotton for a more consistent burn.

They are supposed to be porous to help transport the liquid wax to the top. The wick absorbs the molten wax at the bottom and transports it to the top. The heat of the flame vaporizes the wax and the candle gets burned.

Considering a toothpick as a candle wick, the major problem is that the toothpick is not porous. If you are aiming to use a toothpick as a standalone candle wick, you have a problem.

The question is how the toothpick would transport the molten wax to the top.

If a toothpick is burned, soot forms around the toothpick. The layer of ash deposited around the toothpick is porous enough to transport the wax.

But this is not a practical solution as the soot may fall into the wax and ruin the candle.

Another disadvantage is that the flame won’t last long as the soot will be very thin.

Another option is to dip the toothpick in molten wax as the wax coating on the toothpick makes it burn longer.

But, when compared to traditional wicks, even the toothpick with the wax coating will last for a shorter duration.

So, if you need to burn a candle for longer durations using a toothpick as a standalone candle wick, you must use multiple toothpicks together to create a sustainable flame.

Using multiple toothpicks is riskier as they are combustible. The flame might be larger than the usual candle flame.

You must constantly keep an eye on the flame to prevent any fire hazards.

What Else Can be Used as a Candle Wick?

Barbecue Skewers, Popsicle Sticks, Chopsticks

Since barbeque skewers, popsicle sticks, and chopsticks are made of wood, they make suitable candlewick materials when your wick is buried in the wax.

Toothpicks are not suitable for longer candles such as pillar candles and tapered candles as the length won’t be suitable.

In such cases, barbeque skewers, popsicle sticks, and chopsticks work well.

barbecue skewers
barbecue skewers

Paper, Twine, Yarn

Paper, twine, and yarn can be good alternatives for cotton candle wicks.

But they must be dipped in borax first to stiffen them.

You can place them in the wax once they are dipped and dried.

Threads of a Cotton Shirt

Since candle wicks are traditionally made of cotton, this seems like a good option.

But we have our doubts regarding this.

The cotton threads from an old tee are not interwoven like a candle wick.

Probably, if you braid a few threads together, this might work.

Old Mop Strings

Old mop string is a great DIY option for a candlewick.

As the mop strings are also made of braided or woven cotton, they are the closest alternative for a candlewick.


Although Q-tips are not great options for making DIY candle wicks, they can be used when you are in a survival situation.

So many survival guides and Reddit users have mentioned Q-tips to make makeshift candles or wicks by bundling a bunch of them together with an elastic and lighting them up.

You can also use Q-tips when the wick is buried in the wax and you don’t want to throw away the candle.

You must exercise caution while burning Q-tips as they might produce bigger flames.

Be mindful of the material of the Q-tips.

If they are made of plastic, it’s better if you don’t use them.

Some of them are made of cotton, paper, or wood.

They can be used for a DIY candlewick.

Final Remarks

Although using toothpicks as candle wicks sounds like a promising alternative for candle wicks, the flame is not sustainable.

They can be used to support the cotton candle wicks to get a better flame.

If you are planning to use them as standalone candle wicks, you have to keep coating them in wax or lighting them multiple times.

Both of these options are impractical.

This is our final verdict on using toothpicks as candle wicks.

Let us know if you have ever fashioned some household material into a candle wick and how efficient it was.