What Is The Difference Between Candlewick And Boopie?

Candlewick and boopie are both lightweight, open-weave fabrics often used for home furnishings like bedspreads, curtains, and upholstery. Though they share some similarities, candlewick and boopie have distinct histories, compositions, textures, and uses.

Candlewick gets its name from the crisp texture resembling wax candle drippings. It originated in 18th century New England as a homespun fabric handwoven on colonial looms. Boopie also has a textured finish but with a looped or blistered effect rather than a candlewick look. It emerged later in the 20th century and tends to contain synthetic fibers rather than natural materials.

While both fabrics are known for their casual, cottage-like appeal, candlewick and boopie each have their own aesthetic properties and applications. Understanding the origins and key differences allows for selecting the most suitable fabric for a given project or design.


Candlewick has its origins in the 18th century in New England. It was originally woven tightly on hand looms using unmercerized cotton yarn. The crisp texture resembled candle wicks, hence the name. Candlewick bedspreads were prized for their lightweight warmth. The fabric was woven in colonial America before the Revolutionary War.

Boopie also emerged in 18th century America, but as a knitted rather than woven fabric. Early forms of boopie were made from wool yarns and produced by hand on knitting boards. The loosely knitted loops resembled tiny bumps or bobbins, leading to the name boopie, meaning “little knob” in French. Boopie grew popular for knitted shawls, blankets and baby clothes.


Candlewick fabric is composed of a cotton or cotton-blend base or ground fabric with an additional thickly spun cotton weft yarn giving it the characteristic bumpy texture. The specialized weft yarn is loosely spun and thick, almost like a candle wick, hence the name candlewick. This extra fluffy yarn lies on top of the ground fabric and creates the textured feel and look of candlewick.

Boopie fabric is composed of 100% polyester, lending it a soft and flexible feel. The yarns used to weave boopie are textured and usually quite thick, which gives the fabric its characteristic bumpy, almost blistered surface. While it contains no natural fibers like cotton, boopie’s synthetic polyester composition allows it to hold its textured shape well and resist wrinkles.


Candlewick and boopie differ in how they are constructed. Candlewick is a lightweight cotton fabric with a nubby texture that is woven on special looms. The weave features thicker warp yarns that create the nubs, while finer weft yarns fill in between. This gives candlewick its distinctive textured look and feel.

In contrast, boopie is a knitted fabric rather than a woven one. It is made using a double knitting technique where two layers are knitted together at the same time with a sponge yarn between them. This trapping of the sponge yarn is what gives boopie its characteristic bumpy texture. While candlewick’s texture comes from its weave, boopie’s comes from this knitting method.


The texture and feel of candlewick and boopie fabrics differ quite significantly from one another. Candlewick has a distinctive crisp texture with raised tufted dots covering the surface. It feels thick and plush, yet maintains a structured, geometric appearance from the grid-like arrangement of the tufts. The tufted dots add visual interest and create a nubby texture with lots of loft and dimension.

In contrast, boopie has a much softer, flatter texture without any raised elements. It feels smooth, lightweight, and finely woven. Boopie drapes fluidly without adding bulk or stiffness. While candlewick actively draws attention with its textured dots, boopie’s smooth surface acts more as a subtle backdrop. The textures make them suitable for different uses – candlewick for adding cozy texture and boopie for draping softly without distracting texture.


Both candlewick and boopie fabrics have some similar uses as well as some differences. Here are the common uses for each fabric:


  • Bedding – Candlewick is commonly used for bedspreads, coverlets, duvet covers due to its soft texture.
  • Home decor – The distinctive bumpy texture makes candlewick well-suited for pillows, table linens, curtains.
  • Clothing – Candlewick can be used to make robes, jackets and other loungewear where softness is desirable.


  • Upholstery – Boopie is well-suited for upholstering furniture like couches or chairs thanks to its durability.
  • Bedspreads – Like candlewick, boopie’s texture makes it a good choice for bedspreads and coverlets.
  • Crafts – Crafters sometimes use boopie for projects like dolls, stuffed animals, pillows or small bags.


Both candlewick and boopie fabrics can feature a variety of distinctive patterns. Candlewick often has a lattice or diamond pattern on its textured surface. These diamond shapes are created during the manufacturing process when the yarn loops are cut. Traditional candlewick patterns tend to be understated and geometric. Boopie, on the other hand, typically has much busier and colorful patterns. Florals, paisleys, and abstract shapes are common boopie designs. The patterns are woven or printed onto the smooth surface of the boopie fabric. While both fabrics can feature patterns, boopie’s patterns tend to be more ornate and vivid compared to the subtle motifs seen on most candlewicks.


Both candlewick and boopie fabrics require some special care when washing and drying to maintain their texture and feel. Here are some tips for keeping them looking their best:

Washing: Wash in cold water on a gentle cycle. Avoid hot water, which can cause the fibers to shrink or become brittle. Use a gentle laundry detergent and do not use fabric softener, as it can coat the fibers and diminish absorbency.

Drying: Lay flat to dry or tumble dry on low heat. Allowing to air dry is ideal to prevent shrinking. If machine drying, remove immediately and lay flat or hang to maintain shape and texture.

Ironing: Iron on a low heat setting if needed, but avoid ironing directly on any textures or loops, as it can crush the pile. Instead, iron on the backside of the fabric.

Storing: Fold or hang to store, avoiding any creasing or compression that could imprint on the fabric. Keeping in breathable cotton storage bags can help protect the fibers.

With proper care, both candlewick and boopie can maintain their characteristic texture and comfort for many years of use and enjoyment.

Cost Differences Between the Fabrics

Candlewick and boopie fabrics have noticeable differences when it comes to cost. Candlewick tends to be more expensive than boopie for a few reasons:

– Candlewick uses a higher thread count during manufacturing, which requires more raw materials and labor. The intricate woven texture of candlewick demands expertise during production.

– Candlewick often contains cotton which is pricier than the synthetic fibers in boopie. Natural fibers like cotton cost more to harvest and process.

– As a lighter weight fabric, candlewick requires more yardage to make items like bedding. You may need 2-3 yards of candlewick to equate the thickness of 1 yard of boopie.

– Candlewick is sold by high-end textile brands, commanding a premium price. Boopie is mass-produced as a budget fabric.

– The soft drape and sheen of candlewick make it desirable for apparel and home decor. This demand allows candlewick to retail higher versus boopie’s discount price point.

With its intricate weave and lightweight feel, candlewick delivers a luxurious look and feel. For many, candlewick’s beauty and versatility justify its higher cost over cheaper boopie fabric.


In summary, the key differences between candlewick and boopie are in their composition, construction, texture, patterns, and cost. Candlewick is a lightweight cotton fabric with a high thread count, originally used for bedspreads and curtains. It has a crisp texture and is woven in small geometric or floral patterns. Boopie is a medium-weight rayon blend fabric with a soft, smooth texture, often used for clothing. It drapes well and is printed with large, bold contemporary prints. While both fabrics can work for home décor or apparel, candlewick is cheaper but less durable than boopie. Candlewick’s crisp patterns suit traditional style, while boopie’s bold prints suit modern style. When deciding between the two, consider the texture, drape, and patterns you desire, as well as your budget.

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