Wax Seals - Practice Makes Perfect

care instructions Craft Idea DIY FAQ Wax Seal

Wax Seals are a really lovely and budget friendly way to add gorgeous details to stationery and gifts.  But they can also seem a bit daunting, and it’s true that they're perhaps a little trickier and more time-taking than some tutorials make out.  It's not that they're hard to do, just that you do need to practice and be patient when doing them. 


While I can’t advise on speeding up the process, or on improving patience, I can certainly help with making sure your preparation is on point so you’re ready to go when your wax, seal stamp and other kit arrive. 


To start with here’s a little run down of what you get when you order from me.  You’ll get your seal stamp, personalised or standard, handmade especially for you.  You’ll get your chosen wax (with or without a wick) if you ordered some and you’ll get a card with instructions, tips and - and this is key - practice space for your seal. I give you space for 6 seals which is usually enough to get the hang of a seal stamp, although if you have more than one design you might want to get some extra practice paper/card.  And of course any other accessories you may have ordered too. 

Equipment for melting, making and stamping wax seals

Other things you’ll find helpful to have to hand are:

🕯  a candle or lighter to melt the wax, 

🥄 something to give it a little stir with (think thin like a skewer or toothpick), 

🤧 kitchen paper or tissues to clean the melting spoon (if you’re using one).  

🔥 A heat-proof mat that you can withstand the heat and is easily wiped (or cold wax won’t stick too too much) is also really useful, again for the spoon or the wax stick,

📄 I put down a sheet of paper under what I’m doing to protect my work surface, which can be easily swapped in/out if I make a mess when I’m doing a few in a row.   

✏ And let’s be honest spare paper, pencil and scissors should always be close to hand too just incase. 


The most important thing to remember before you start is that this isn’t a super speedy craft and you’ll need to do one at a time - certainly until you get good and confident. So get yourself a drink, make sure you’re set up somewhere with a decent sized clear space and have a comfy seat.  And if you’re going to be doing quite a few, for example sealing a set of invitations, this would be the perfect time to catch up on your favourite podcast/audio-book.  Get everything laid out ready before you light the wick as it’s so much easier than trying to do it all in a rush one handed. 


On your first try you’re going to light the wick/turn on your wax gun, wait for the wax to start melting and it may feel like the slowest few moments but once it ‘goes’ it really does go so be ready to stir the spoon or hold it ready to drip in to place.  The circles marked on the card are the perfect size for one of the Mint Maker seals so once you’ve got a good amount in the middle - and remember it will spread once you’ve applied the seal and some pressure - press  the seal onto the puddle gently and firmly AND DON’T MOVE IT. If you press too quickly the wax will spurt, but do make sure you’re pressing on so your chosen design will be crisp. 

4 step process for practicising making a wax seal stamp from Mint Maker Studio
The number one cause of seals not working is not giving them long enough to set properly.  The wax does cool quickly, but it’s not instant.  Give it 30 seconds or so and then maybe give it a little wiggle seeing whether the wax gives way or moves more solidly with the stamp.  Another good way to tell is whether the shine on the wax has gone and it’s turned matte - once it’s not liquid the shine dims, as you can see on the images below. Do remember though that it might still be a little warm and melty in the middle so combine both these checks for your first few, and then you’ll get a feel for how your wax and design act together. 
Just poured and just dried wax - glossy shine and matte finish
                                                                      

Some other tips for you: 


If you’ve got a wax with it’s own wick, be careful when blowing it out not to do so over your newly made seals or clean stationery - the soot/ashes from the wick can easily mark things. 


You can mix waxes together but again it takes some practice.  For instance when using the spoon I use two ‘bumps’ of wax which is then enough for two seals unless you want a giant one.  Of course contrasting colours show up best, and metallics can be tricky to differentiate but do give a lovely effect. 

Two small pieces of wax melting together in a spoon to create marbled or mixed effect.

 

Two practice stamps using mixed wax method - you can see some mixture between the copper and silver

 

If you’re trying to seal something a bit waxy, a coated envelope for instance, it may be the wax doesn’t stick that well.  But don’t panic.  If you make your seals on greaseproof paper/baking parchment (as shown in the photos) you can then add sticky dots or double sided tape to the back to then attach to your envelope.  If you do use greaseproof paper you will need both hands to carefully separate the wax from the stamp once it’s cooled, as the wax won’t stick to the paper either, but it’s easy to do just take your time. 

You can use greaseproof paper or baking parchment to practice or make your seals to stick on later.

 

If you’re using a spoon and heating it over a candle, and you’re doing lots in a row, you may want to choose a candle that burns quite clean e.g. soy wax.  With the spoon over the flame the bottom can get a bit sooty, and over time that can also start to smell too, so if you’re planning a run of seals something with a clean flame will reduce that. 
The bottom of a melting spoon can get sooty over certain flames    To clean the melting spoon gently reheat and have some kitchen paper on hand to wipe out the leftover wax once its remelted.

 

And finally, cleaning, especially if you’re using a spoon.  Just re-heat it, wipe with some kitchen paper (fold it over a good few times and be careful as it’ll be HOT) and then leave somewhere to cool. 


And that’s it!  As I said it’s not complicated - it just takes patience and practice and the effect at the end is well worth it! Wax is brilliantly versatile so you can add embellishments to it - I’ve even got another blog post about adding stems and leaves to wax seals if you’d like to know more. 


If you’ve got any questions about which wax is best or what size seal you need don’t hesitate to get in touch - either via email or my DMs on social media - but otherwise have fun and just remember, don't rush it and you'll be fine! 


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