Want to add a fun and unique touch to your snail mail, invitations, packages, etc.? Wax seals are a beautiful way to add a personal touch to any of these things!
There are many different ways to create a wax seal and today, I want to show you the different ways you can create them.
Traditional sealing wax is brittle and will crack or crumble when sent through the mail and when you open a letter. This was purposefully done so that you knew that the letter had not been opened or messed with in transit. You can still purchase traditional sealing wax although now there are more flexible varieties of wax available as well. I would recommend using the flexible sealing wax as it is much easier to work with and holds up well in mailing.
You can purchase this flexible sealing wax in several different forms:
- Wax beads:
- Many retailers now sell the flexible sealing wax in bead form and it is my favorite form of wax to work with. There are many color options available and the beads themselves are so cute! When you use these beads, you will also need to use a melting spoon to melt the wax over a small flame (a candle works perfectly). It can vary with the size of the wax beads but typically, you will need 2-3 wax beads to create a standard size seal. You can also mix colors of beads when using this method to make different shades of colors or to create marbled effects. You can see this process in the video below:
- Glue gun wax sticks
- This is a really easy to make wax seals and is best used when you need to create many wax seals at once. This could come in handy if you are using wax seals on wedding invitations or if you are making wax seals ahead of time to later be adhered to an envelope or package. There are several ways you can later adhere the wax to an envelope if you make them in advance. I have some adhesive stickers that are made specifically for wax seals (found here). You could also glue the seal to the envelope using a heavy duty craft glue. If you have had success with anything else, I would love to hear! These wax sticks fit into a ½” (0.44) standard glue gun (not mini glue guns). You can see this process in the video below:
- Wax sticks with a wick
- I find these wax sticks the hardest to work with. To use them, you light the wick and hold the stick at a careful 20 degree angle (lit end down) to your paper and watch as the wax slowly drips off of the stick. This can take a while and you can also end up with some ash from the wick in your seal if you are not careful. You can see this process in the video below:
Aside from the wax itself, you will also need a seal to stamp into the hot wax. You can find all kinds of seals online, everything from monograms, to fun messages, to custom designs.
Once your wax is on the surface on which you want to stamp, you simply place the stamp on the hot wax and let it sit for several seconds, giving the wax time to set. If you are making multiple wax seals at once, it is important to have a small bowl of ice nearby. Between each seal, you will need to cool the stamp on the ice (make sure you dry the stamp thoroughly before stamping again) so that it works properly on your next seal. The wax hardens pretty quickly but do be careful not to touch it too early!
Mailing envelopes with wax seals:
To be completely honest, I have had mixed luck with mailing envelopes with wax seals. Sometimes my envelopes with wax seals have made it to the recipient completely intact, other times, they are missing or broken. If you want to air on the safe side, it is recommended to use the wax seal on an inner envelope. Often times, the culprit for missing or broken wax seals are the machines that envelopes go through at the post office. Envelopes need to fit through a small slot in the machines used for sorting at the post office and wax seals make the envelopes too bulky to fit through these machines. To avoid this you can ask for your mail to be hand cancelled (sorted by hand). Some post offices will provide this service for free so it is best to check with your local post office. Most of the time there is an additional “non-machinable” postage fee for envelopes to be hand cancelled. When using wax seals, it is recommended that you add an additional $0.21 of postage per envelope for the hand cancelling process.
As a reminder, here are the current postage prices by weight (2018):
- 0-1 ounces: $0.50
- 1-2 ounces: $0.71
- 2-3 ounces: $0.92
- 3-3.5 ounces: $1.13
- Postcard: $0.35
- Square envelopes: Also require the additional $0.21 surcharge
Have fun experimenting with wax seals! I love creating them and hope you do too.