Tag Archives: Sealing Wax

How to Make a Wax Seal

In case you missed it, we started carrying J. Herbin wax seal supplies in the shop a few weeks ago – I did a blog post on it, with more pictures of the different coloured wax in seal form. In that blog post, it was more about the final product than how to make the actual wax seal, so here’s a post to help you out if you’re not certain about what to do.

J Herbin Sealing Wax Brass

I had to enlist the help of Vanna (i.e. Jon) to help me with this post. If you receive a letter from us in the next few days that has an odd looking wax seal, it’s because we used your envelope as our demonstration, and we had some “timing issues” with the pressure of wax cooling and me trying to take a photo. One day we’re going to do a behind-the-scenes post of how these how-to blogs get done, with the dog sniffing the wax and the baby bobbling in the background and me trying to stop wax from cooling and Jon saying “Liz, this one is ruined.”

It’s actually not too hard to do this. The idea is, you melt the wax onto the envelope, and you press your brass stamp into the wax before it cools, making an impression.

You need:
Sealing wax (available in different colours)
Brass stamp (often people use a letter in their name or a symbol)
Your envelope
Heat source – here, a candle

J. Herbin Wax Seal Wonder Pens

Step one: Hold the wax over the candle and rotate so too much wax doesn’t drip into the candle.

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Step 2: Gently but firmly rub the melted end into the paper in a circle.

J. Herbin Wax Seal How-To Wonder Pens

It won’t be pretty, but that’s okay, because you’re going to be putting more wax on it. It may also be a bit tacky or sticky as you rub, but don’t worry about it. 

J. Herbin Sealing Wax Tutorial WonderPens.ca

Step 3: Bring the wax seal back over the flame and repeat. The bit of wax on the envelope will be cooling while you are re-warming the wax stick, and that’s okay. It’s the first “layer” of wax, so when you press your stamp on, you don’t press all the way to the paper, and you also get a nice, thick wax seal.

When you add more wax to the bit on the envelope, use your stick to gently move the wax around to form a bit of a circle, preparing for the brass stamp.

J. Herbin Wax Seal Tutorial Wonder Pens

 

Your second glob of wax will look something like this – it takes a bit of trial and error to figure out about how much wax you like to have in your seal.

J. Herbin Sealing Wax Wonderpens.ca

Step 4: Wait just a bit, until the wax is just matte (and no longer shiny). Then, press your stamp into the wax firmly, and hold it for a bit, maybe around 5 seconds. If you press right away and the wax is too hot, it will be too soft and won’t make a good, crisp impression.

J. Herbin Wax Seals Wonderpens.ca

Lift carefully, and you’ll have your seal!

J Herbin Wax Seal Anchor Wonder Pens

In addition to being able to use a candle, you can use a lighter with a long handle (like a barbecue lighter) or a torch type lighter. You can hold the wax directly onto the paper while holding the flame to the tip, and wait for the wax to drip drip drip onto the envelope. You may have to wait a bit longer for the wax to cool, don’t rush it! (But don’t take too long, or you won’t be able to get your stamp into it).

The reason for the second layer of wax is because if you don’t get enough, it ends up looking a bit thin. You want the wax to come around all of the edges.

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You can also consider making a mark on your stamp itself so you always know which way is the top when you go to press it on – seconds make a big difference in the wax cooling!

Sealing Wax Tips & Tricks Wonderpens

Tip 1: When you’re near the end of your wax stick, melt the end and stick it onto the end of a fresh stick.

Tip 2: If you’re new to this, always put the the wax seal on the envelope before you put on the postage stamp, so if you mess up, you don’t waste the postage. Don’t worry about getting it perfect, though 🙂

We carry the sealing wax regularly in the shop – you can either try a stick of a colour, or if you know you like it, get a pack of four sticks. The brass stamp (either a letter or symbol) and the handle – purchased separately – are special order: if you’re interested, send us an email (info at wonderpens.ca). You can see more details here.

 

Above all, have fun with it!

 

J. Herbin Wax Seals – Supple Wax and Brass Seals

J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax Brass Seals at wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada  J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax Brass Seals at wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

We’ve occasionally had thoughts about bringing in sealing wax and supplies from J. Herbin, but we’ve never actually pulled the trigger. So many letters and symbols for the seals, so many colours and types of wax!  In the last few weeks, however, we had a customer special order some sealing wax (Hi, Shannon!), and we figured no time like the present. I’ve been working on responding to a few of the letters we’ve received over InCoWriMo, and seeing some of the beautiful wax seals coming in didn’t hurt either.

We’ve now got a few colours of supple sealing wax from J. Herbin in the shop and online.

J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax Brass Seals at wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

Sealing wax has a wonderful history in securing letters to prevent spies and nosy mother-in-laws (just kidding!) from pouring over your deepest thoughts. It was also used to authenticate or certify things like proclamations – kind of like how you get an embossed seal from a notary public if you need something certified. In ye old days, it was coloured with vermilion, making it waxy and red, which is why red or burgundy is usually the traditional colour we see even today on certificates and wedding invitations.

Nowadays, thanks to the swift and unstoppable Canada Post (and federal laws), wax seals are a bit of a non-issue, and most used for ceremony – again on things like certificates or sending hand written letters.

J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax Brass Seals at wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

The original stuff was meant to crack and break when the letter was opened, and actually today, it’s still available in its earliest formula as “traditional” “Cire Banque” sealing wax from J. Herbin. The boxes have an irresistible vintage flair to them (so irresistible, I had to get a box myself…), but it’s a big box – it comes with ten sticks, each as long as the box. This traditional wax won’t make it through the postal system, so it’s good for hand delivered items, certificates or just decoratively.

For letters going through the mail, you’ll want to use supple sealing wax or flexible sealing wax. This stuff is a bit bendier, so it doesn’t break. I think the postal system uses a lot of rollers to pass envelopes through in sorting, which is why there’s a different rate for letters/papers going through flat, and a big jump to envelopes (parcels) that contain 3D objects, even if they are quite flat, since they can’t be processed mechanically.

J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax Brass Seals at wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

I waffled quite a bit about which seal I wanted. C for Chan? W for Wonder Pens? S for Super?? I ended up with the Anchor. Jon said it’s very reminiscent of the Sailor logo, which is …an anchor, but there’s just something about the romance of something coming from afar and oceans away (even though 95% of my letters are within Canada).

J. Herbin sells the brass seal with the symbol or the letter separately from the handle. If you’re interested special ordering either a brass seal (15$) or handle (14$). Send us an email (info at wonderpens.ca) if you are interested in special ordering one of the seals below.

J. Herbin Brass Seals

J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax Brass Seals at wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

Getting it onto the page is a little bit of trial and error and common sense – you can use a lighter or match to melt the end of the stick as it drips onto the page, or you can hold the wax stick over a candle while rotating wax stick so the melted wax doesn’t drip in, then rub the melty part onto the page. I’ll try to do a how-to post over the next bit, but it does come down to a little practice, getting a feel for how much wax you need, and how long to wait before pressing in the seal.

In the colours of supple sealing wax, we are currently offering this midnight blue (my favourite!), burgundy, ivory and gold. You can purchase an individual stick or a full box of four hereWe’re hoping to carry a few more colours of the supple wax in the next little while.

J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax Brass Seals at wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

In my current daily life involving diapers, mashing bits of food that apparently aren’t tasty, and trying to keep the dog from licking the baby, playing around with sealing wax was one of the highlights of my day. Here is one of many possible combinations of mixed wax – ivory and gold.
  J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax Brass Seals at wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax Brass Seals at wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

 

This is just another way to add a bit of old world to your letter writing, a bit of flourish and thoughtfulness. To take the time to write to a friend, to create a wax seal, to take a walk to the post office – this is just a way to pause in our lives and say hello.