Earlier this week, I wrapped up the event design for a ”Great Gatsby” themed party. Everything from the invitations to the gifts at the end of the evening needed to be themed. So I taught myself how to create a wax seal, to close up the envelopes. Follow the link for step by step instructions on how to make your own! Below is a step by step tutorial on how I created the wax seals for the Gatsby theme party invitations.
1. CREATE THE SEAL
You'll need some Sculpey clay (one of my favorite mediums), and some sort of charm to create the impression. In my case, I purchased a charm letter "g" for "Gatsby." I molded the Sculpey into the shape of the stamp so it was easy to handle. The most important part of this is to make your "impression" surface flat and small. If it's too big of a flat surface, it's going to spread and push the hot wax all over the paper. A smaller stamp makes a better seal. Once you've got the Sculpey in the right shape, press your emblem or charm into the flat surface of the Sculpey. You'll need a pin or something similar to dig out the charm without causing a deformity in your seal. Now put the Sculpey in the oven, according to the instructions on the package. You need the seal to be tough when pressing down on the wax. (P.S., mine is black in the picture because I took this image after making 200 invitations, so it's been burned quite a bit! Fresh out of the oven, the Sculpey will be the same color as the handle of the stamp.)
2. HOT WAX
Any color candle will do, but tapered candles work best for accurate dripping. Take a burning candle and turn it on its side and start dripping the melting wax onto the paper surface you want to seal. I like to put a few drops under the invitation flap to make sure the seal doesn't pop loose later. About 25-30 droplets of wax makes a good sized wax seal. Let your wax sit for about a minute (this completely depends on the temperature in the room you're working in!)
3. THE IMPRESSION
Take your "stamp" that you created and gently press down onto the wax blob you've put onto the invitation. You'll get a feel for how long the wax needs to sit. If it sits too long, the stamp won't make a dent in the wax. If it doesn't sit long enough, the melted wax will squish into the crevases of your stamp, and potentially all over the paper. If you time it just right, then voila! You have your beautiful wax seal! If you don't time it just right, just look through the handy dandy tips below on how to fix it.
HANDY DANDY TIPS:
- If you're using letters or numbers as emblems. . .remember that you will need to press the charm into the Sculpey in a mirror image of what you want the impression to look like!
- If you put your stamp to the wax too soon, and it squishes everywhere, that's ok. Just use your finger to move any large blobs of wax back into the working area (a non-perfect wax drip makes the invitation look more legit), then use your lighter to melt those blobs back into the original form. Let it sit, and try again. If you need to add wax, that's ok -- just drip some more!
- If you wait too long to stamp the wax, take the lighter to your "stamp" and hold it there for about 30 seconds. The sculpey will turn black and look charred, but it's ok -- it retains its shape! Use the hot stamp and press down slowly onto the hard wax. It should melt some of the wax and leave a small impression. It's not as impressive of a seal as when you time it perfect, but it still gets the job done, and shows that you did it by hand!
- Never. Ever. Ever. EVER. Ever leave the invitations in a warm place. It's wax, afterall, so it WILL melt. ALL OVER THE PLACE. It's a recipe for disaster, especially after you paid money for your paper invitations!
- Find sturdy objects to place on top of your invitations while you wax seal them. That way, the flaps of the invitations stay in place, and it makes for a much faster assembly line. Once you get the hang of this, you can do 100 invitations in an hour!