How to Make a Wax Seal

I Can't Keep the Wick Lit. What do I do?

We're not sure why this happens, but it's a common problem. In cases like this, we hold a lighter under the wax stick to supply some additional heat to melt the wax. Usually after making a seal or two, the wick stays lit. The sealing wax manufacturer says you can use a regular candle instead of a lighter, but we find that awkward to do.

There is Black Soot from the Wick in My Melted Wax. Is this Normal?

Yes, it is normal to have the soot. You can control the amount of soot by changing the angle of the sealing wax stick as you are melting it. Most people like the marble-like effect the soot brings to the seal. However, you can use the back end of the wax stick to stir the melted wax after you have blown out the flame and before you press the seal into the melted wax. This will even out the color.

Will My Wax Seal Survive a Trip Through the Mail?

Wax seals were made to be broken so the letter could be opened easily. Unfortunately the postal sorting machines tend to rip off or crush wax seals on the outside of an envelope. There are a couple of things you can try to improve your odds of the seal making it in one piece. First, you can make sure the seal is not on the outside of the envelope where it would be in contact with the machines. Put the seal on a letter inside the envelope, or if it must be on the envelope, put that envelope inside another envelope. Second, you can put the words "Hand Cancel" on the envelope and hand it to a human being at the post office. There is a chance that they can try to bypass the machine.

The Wax Hardens Before I Can Press the Seal into it. What do I do?

This happens for one of two reasons. Either you waited too long after melting the wax before you pressed the seal into it, or you dripped the wax in one spot. If you waited too long, then next time have the seal nearby and ready to use before you melt the wax. After you have blown out the flame, immediately press your seal into the hot wax and wait about 5 seconds before you pull it out.

If you dripped all the wax in one spot hoping to get a big enough puddle to make a seal, the wax will harden long before you get to that point. Sealing wax is very thick and it doesn't flow quickly like candle wax. See the step by step directions below.

Wax is Stuck to My Seal. How do I get it Out?

Do not try to burn the wax out of the seal, that will damage your seal! Let the wax cool and use a pin to poke out the wax. In the old days, people used to lick the seal or dip it in water before each use. The thin coating of water would keep the hot wax from sticking to the metal. We suggest you lightly spray the metal seal with a non-stick lubricant (e.g. WD40, Pam cooking spray, silicone) to ensure that the wax won't stick to the seal. Pay close attention to the areas where the wax stuck and try to lubricate those areas more thoroughly.

Is There Any Way to Reuse the Wax From My Practice Seals?

Yes, you can reuse the wax! Gather all the wax from the ruined seals together and put it into a pan or a spoon (or something that you can apply heat to without ruining it). Melt the wax under a flame and gently pour it on your paper where you want your seal. Then press the prepared seal into the wax. Presto! You have successfully recycled the wax from earlier attempts.

In days gone by, people used to moisten the seal by licking it or dipping it in water before each use. The thin coating of water would keep the hot wax from sticking to the metal. It is suggested that you lightly spray the metal seal with a non-stick lubricant (e.g. WD40, Pam cooking spray, silicone) to ensure that the wax won't stick to the seal.

If you are using wax seal ink (to make a two-tone seal), do not spray the seal. The pigment in the ink will act as the lubricant.

  1. Light the wax, tilt the stick at an angle, and let the wax drip where you want your seal.
  2. Start by creating a circle of wax slightly larger than your seal.
  3. Next, fill in the circle and blow out the wax stick. You can use the back end of your wax stick to stir the wax if it's not dripped uniformly.
  4. Place the metal seal firmly in the wax while it is still liquid. Wait 5 seconds to allow the wax to harden before pulling the seal from the wax.

To cleanup, wipe the metal seal with a paper towel. If any wax is stuck to the metal, use a pin to poke it out, and next time lubricate that spot more carefully.

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