How to Make Candle Wicks from Cotton Balls: A Step-by-Step Guide

Candles are a popular way to add warmth and ambiance to any room. However, finding the perfect wick for your candle can be a challenge. A good wick is essential for a candle to burn evenly and cleanly. Fortunately, making your candle wicks from cotton balls is a simple and cost-effective solution. Making candle wicks from cotton balls is a simple process. 

Here are the basic steps:

Take a cotton ball and gently pull it apart to create a thin cotton strip.

  1. Stretch and straighten the cotton strip as much as possible.
  2. Cut the cotton strip to the desired length for your candle wick. Ensure it is a little longer than the container height or mold you use.
  3. If the cotton strip is thin, braid a few strands together to create a thicker wick.
  4. Once you have the desired thickness, melt some wax in a double boiler or a heatproof container placed in a pot of water on low heat.
  5. Dip the cotton strip into the melted wax and coat it completely. You can use a wick holder or a clothespin to hold the wick while dipping it in wax.
  6. Remove the wick from the wax and let it cool and harden. Repeat the dipping process a few times to ensure the wick is fully coated.
  7. Let the wick dry and harden for a few hours before using it in your candle.


Making candle wicks from cotton balls is a simple process that requires only a few materials. Here are the materials you’ll need to get started:

  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton string or twine
  • Candle wax
  • Scissors
  • A double boiler or a heat-safe container and a pot of water
  • A skewer or pencil

It’s important to use 100% cotton materials for your wicks, as synthetic fibers like nylon can release harmful chemicals when burned, according to Science Direct. Cotton balls are a convenient choice, as they are widely available and easy to work with.

The cotton string or twine will serve as the core of your wick, providing the structure and stability needed to burn evenly. Choose a thickness that matches the size of your candle and cut it to the desired length.

Candle wax can be purchased from craft stores or online retailers in flake or block form. Be sure to choose a wax appropriate for the type of candle you want to make (e.g., soy wax for soy candles). Scissors will cut the cotton string or twine to the appropriate length, while a skewer or pencil can center the wick in the candle as it cools.

Preparing the Cotton Balls

Before making candle wicks from cotton balls, it is important to prepare the cotton properly. The following steps can be taken to prepare the cotton balls:

  1. Obtain high-quality cotton balls. The cotton balls should be 100% cotton without any mixed synthetic fibers.
  2. Unroll the cotton balls. Carefully unroll the cotton balls into long strips of cotton. This will help to ensure that the wick burns evenly.
  3. Spin the cotton. Take the long strips of cotton and twist them together to create a thicker strand. This will help the wick burn more slowly and evenly.
  4. Soak the cotton in a borax solution. Mix borax and water in a bowl and soak the cotton in the solution for at least 24 hours. This will help to strengthen the cotton and make it burn longer.
  5. Dry the cotton. After soaking the cotton, please remove it from the solution and let it dry completely. The cotton should be completely dry before using it to make candle wicks.

Following these steps will help ensure that the cotton is prepared properly and that the resulting candle wicks burn evenly and for a longer period.

Benefits of Using Candle Wicks from Cotton Balls

Easy to Find

Based on observation, cotton balls are easy to find as they are commonly found in households and are available at most drug stores, grocery stores, and general merchandise stores. This makes it a convenient and accessible option for making candle wicks at home without purchasing special materials.


Cotton wicks made from cotton balls are eco-friendly as cotton is a natural and biodegradable material. This means it can decompose naturally and not contribute to environmental pollution. 

In contrast, synthetic wicks made from nylon or polyester can release harmful chemicals when burned, contributing to indoor air pollution. Using eco-friendly materials such as cotton is a more sustainable choice for candle making, which is better for the environment and our health.


Making candle wicks from cotton balls is a cost-effective option. Cotton balls are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased in bulk cheaply. In addition, you can make multiple wicks from a single cotton ball, making it a cost-effective option compared to purchasing pre-made wicks. 

By making your cotton wicks, you can save money on candle-making supplies and create high-quality candles at a lower cost. This makes cotton wicks a great option for those looking to make candles on a budget or as a hobby.


Making candle wicks from cotton balls is customizable. You can adjust the size of the cotton ball to make wicks of different sizes or multiple braid strands together to make thicker wicks. This allows you to create custom-sized wicks that suit your specific candle-making needs. 

In addition, you can experiment with different braiding techniques to create unique designs and patterns in your candles. Customizing your wicks gives you more creative control over your candle-making process and allows you to make truly unique candles.

Absorbs Wax Well

Cotton wicks made from cotton balls absorb wax well because cotton is a natural, porous fiber, allowing it to absorb the wax evenly throughout the wick. When a cotton wick absorbs wax, it becomes saturated and swells, which helps to keep the flame steady and burning evenly. 

Photo by Yan Krukau from Pexels

This results in a consistent burn time for your candle and reduces the likelihood of uneven melting or tunneling. Cotton wicks are known for their superior wax absorption properties and are popular among candle makers.