Sealing Wax: All You Need to Know

Sealing Wax: All You Need to Know

letter with sealing wax

This article reviews the history of sealing wax and all you need to know! Whether you’re just curious about sealing wax or looking to make your own, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll respond to frequently asked questions including whether or not you can use a candle in place of sealing wax.

Even with email and text messaging at the forefront of communication, there are still a number of hobbyists who enjoy sending handwritten letters and adding their personal touch. It’s a popular way to include a unique element to letters, Christmas cards and even wedding invitations.

Do you find this topic interesting? You might find Best Stamps for Sealing Wax to be a good read!

History of Sealing Wax

Wax seals, beginning in the Middle Ages, were first used as a way to mark ownership of certain documents or whatever they were attached to. Each person had their own seal which often depicted, though not limited to, their social prominence or the work they did. For example, if you were a butcher in the middle ages, you might have a seal depicting a cow or pig.

Made out of beeswax and resin, the first recipe had no color added to it. Later, red (colored with cinnabar) and black (colored with soot from burning the resin) wax were commonly used. From the 16th century on, it made out of a variety of substances and often combined varying materials.

Another early use of seals was to denote a sign of power or authority. The sealing wax was pressed with either a handheld seal or with a signet ring. Signet rings often symbolized greater authority and were often kissed by visiting diplomats as a sign of allegiance to the ring wearer.

Later, the use of wax seals on letters or important documents being sent elsewhere was an important way to know if the letter had been tampered with or not. Seals provided a sure sign to whoever received the letter that no one had opened it up.

Fountain pen on paper

Today, most ceremonial sealing waxes once used in governments or with other prominent officials have been replaced with the modern stamp and ink. However, sealing wax continues to be used on envelopes and other items to denote ownership as a way to add a unique element of interest.

Why Use Sealing Wax

So why do some people prefer sealing wax over licking an envelope closed? Simply because there’s not really a more beautiful or distinctive way to enclose a letter than with a personalized wax seal. The act of sending a handwritten letter is definitely more intimate and exciting than receiving an electronic message. With hand-lettering and fountain pens becoming so popular, wax seals are the “cherry on top” to your personal letters, wedding invitations, or even Christmas cards.

Best Sealing Wax Kits for beginners

  1. This Custom Wax Seal Stamp Kit on Amazon is perfect for creating your own custom name stamp. This kit comes with a custom stamp and two rods of sealing wax! It’s perfect for sealing anything from wedding invitations to your own personal letters.
  1. If you’re looking for more stamp options, this Multi Wax Seal Kit with Wood Handle, 3 Dies & Sealing Wax from Nostalgic Impressions lets you pick one initial and two other brass symbols. It also comes with three different colored rods of wax. This kit would make the perfect gift! Or if you’re just dipping your toes in, it’s a great starter kit!
  1. When sealing a large number of envelopes, for a wedding or other big event, using a glue gun is the quickest way to get it done! This Sealing Wax Glue Gun Set is the perfect kit to get your envelopes sealed in a timely manner. Letterseals.com has top-notch items and great customer service.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is sealing wax made out of?

Traditionally, sealing wax was made from beeswax and resin. It held well, but when broken to open the letter, it would break into a million pieces and make a mess. The composition of modern sealing wax is dependent on the type of wax you purchase. For example, some sealing waxes are more flexible with satin finishes and don’t break easily. Other, more traditional sealing waxes, have a glossier finish, but break easily and shouldn’t be mailed.

Can I use a regular candle?

Candle wax will work to seal your envelope. However, because candle wax lacks resin, it won’t be adhesive to the paper. This may cause it to fall off. Because of this, it’s not recommended that you use a regular candle to seal an envelope. After all, the envelope will be extensively handled while being sent through the mailing system. Chances are the seal will come off by the time it reaches its destination.

Will wax seals melt in the mail?

Wax seals won’t necessarily melt in the mail. Truthfully, it depends on the type you use. Use the wrong kind? It may not make it to its destination in one piece. Modern sealing wax, which is more pliable and adhesive, can be sent through the mail. And it will most likely make it fully intact. Modern sealing wax includes glue gun stick, bead, and flexible with a wick.

Traditional sealing wax, which is closer to the original formula, should not be mailed. t is more likely to chip and make a mess. If used, the wax seal should be placed inside another envelope or shipping package so as to protect it from the damage it may undergo during the mailing process.

How to make your own

If you’re looking to make a quick and simple sealing wax, you’re at the right place.

What you need:

  • Crayons
  • Grater
  • Silicone Mold
  • Candle Wicks

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grate the crayon color of choice and place half the shavings into the silicone mold.
  3. Place the silicone mold into the oven for 10 minutes or until the shavings have melted.
  4. Remove the mold and place a wick inside the mold, and then the rest of the shavings on top. Make sure the end of the wick sticks out!
  5. Pop the mold back in the oven until the shavings have all melted.
  6. Remove the mold from the oven. Let it cool!

Sources:

Make Simple Sealing Wax
Wax Seals: A History and How-To
Beginners Guide to History of Wax Seals
Sealing Wax
About Sealing Wax

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