I think wax seals are some of the most under-appreciated elements of stationery - they’re quite tactile, add a touch of luxe and although they can take a little bit of time to get right they can also be pretty budget friendly too.
To celebrate there being a new range of designs now available in the shop I figured now was as good a time as any to do a proper FAQs about them, which will hopefully make them seem a little more daunting and encourage you to give them a go!
There are, of course, likely to be questions you might have that I’ve missed though, so if that’s the case do drop me an email and I’ll be happy to help.
Can I get my business logo on a stamp?
Yes. And no. Anything with tiny or very delicate detail, like small letters, won’t be picked up by a wax seal like they would be on a stamp as the wax can’t get into the small details in the same way. Whereas a more simple image, larger monogram etc should show up ok. Wax Seals can be a great addition and finishing touch to business branding and stationery, but they’re not great if you have detailed information to share with customers or clients.
Are your wax seals made of Brass like traditional ones?
I use a polymer gel to make my seals, just like I do the stamps. It works just as well as the brass and will still give you lovely crisp lines but is quicker, easier and more cost effective than making them in brass, which is good for me and you. Once made the seals are then mounted on wooden handles too which are more than long enough to keep fingers away from the hot wax but still giving you easy control over placement and pressure.
How long do they take you to make?
Because they’re made of the same polymer as the stamps, and I make them in the same batches as the stamps, they usually take about 5-7 working days to turnaround. BUT there are two really important points to make here though.
The first is that the turnaround time is from when the artwork has been approved as not every image is workable in wax. The best first thing to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org with what you’d like and I can let you know if I think it would work, or what might need tweaking, before you place your order. The second thing is that although turnaround time is pretty quick you need to account for practice time once you’ve received it. Although they make it look quick and easy on TV - and they’re right that it isn’t complicated - it does take a little getting used to.
How much wax do I need?
You need approx 1/2 -1 tablespoon for a standard 1inch stamp. It very much depends on what sort of wax you're using and how it comes though. If you know how many you’re going to need, e.g. how many invitations you’re sealing, then just drop me a note and I can help guide you.
How long does it take to stamp a wax seal?
Not long, but longer than you might think. There’s a few stages of the process - melting the wax, carefully pouring, the pressing and then initial surface drying. I’d estimate for each seal you probably need approximately 5 minutes, although if you're doing lots all at once it might be quicker as you can batch do certain tasks and be more efficient. The main reason it’s a bit longer is that it’s not a quick press and then it’s done. Once the stamp is on the seal you need to leave it for a minute or two for a thin film to form over the wax before removing the stamp. After that you can take the stamp off but the seal will need a bit longer to thoroughly dry.
Do I have to do them direct on to the paper, or can I make them in advance?
You can absolutely do them in advance - in fact that’s what I do a lot of the time if I’ve got quite a few that need doing. You’ll need to have some double sided tape, or something else sticky, to attach them with once they’ve dried. I find double sided tape the easiest and cleanest way, but other adhesives will work (just give them a quick test run first as some aren’t always compatible with the wax).
To make them it’s exactly the same process but I’d suggest doing them on to baking parchment, or something else that is smooth and relatively heat resistant, and which they can sit on a while to thoroughly dry before you store or use them.
Can I mix wax colours?
Yes you can. If you're wanting a marble effect choose two highly contrasting colours for the best effect. If you're wanting to make a new colour you'll need to try a few times to get the proportions right but it can be done.
Can I decorate a wax seal?
Absolutely - you can stick things in/to it when wet (although not too much and not too heavy or it won't hold), and when dry you can gently colour on to the surface (depending on the wax some inks may not take so it’s a bit trial and error here too).
Is it complicated to order a seal, and what comes with it and what else do I need?
It’s not that complicated at all!
If you’re ordering a standard type you’ll enter the details I need as part of the order process (do check spellings, punctuation etc as I won’t be able to correct them). If you want to order a personalised seal then the best first step is to send me an email to email@example.com with what you think you’d like on a seal so I can advise whether it’ll work as is or need to be simplified. There’s a downloadable template on the website too so you can try a few different options as well.
Once the order has been submitted I’ll get to work making and mounting it ready to send out to you. When you receive your seal stamp it’ll be wrapped in a paper bag (ready to gift) and will come with a card of tips and a size guide to help you practice.
My wax seals don’t come with wax so you’ll also need to order whichever colour you want to go with it. I also sell melting spoons or, a different alternative would be a hot wax gun (like a hot glue gun), however those are more of an investment if you’re not going to be doing lots regularly. You don’t necessarily need a wax melting spoon but the width and depth of the spoon make it effective for the wax melting and then being easy to pour - a normal spoon isn’t deep enough and the more wide/thinly spread the wax is the harder it is to get a consistent temperature across them.
Have I missed anything? It's always tricky with FAQs to cover everything off so, if you do have a question I've not answered, do just drop me a message and I'd be happy to help.