Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated with the wax seal. Whether it was shown in a historical drama or at a museum, the tools and pressed letters always captivated me. I have long since used it in my craft as a safeguard, a seal of protection if you will.
What is a Wax Seal?
The wax seal is made up of wax and a stamp to impress the wax. The wax seal were used in the 16th century and was even predated by another material. The oldest material: Bitumen; was used by the Romans and is loosely based on asphalt. The bees wax and was later used and colored by various additives like turpentine or chalk to pigment the wax. These additives are considered harmful to our health like (red) lead and (green) turpentine. Now we color with harmless colors in it’s place. These colors signified the purpose of the document to the receiver as well. Sometimes, these wax seals even smelled of perfumes! Old world perfumer’s bases like ambergris paired with a musk or floral scent were mixed in the beeswax to keep the smell lasting longer for a lover’s letter.
Alongside the wax color, the seal would have a insignia that reveals the sender’s identity to the receiver. This would sometimes be a capital letter of a family name. For example, if the family name were Williams, it would show in a Large W or with a coat of arms depending on the lineage of the person sending it.
Here are some examples:
A seal sometimes was attached to a handle, however the seal was highly regarded as a signature of an important individual and was thus guarded for authenticity. This means that the seal was usually worn by the sender as a ring to keep the seal safe from any impostors that might try to send something under false signature.
The wax seal was the representation of security and confidential information.
-With this said of coarse, one could break the seal and breach this sensitive information, but you would know if was intercepted. I find this important in my craft because if you impress upon the wax on a book, a bottle, or best of all a letter, it has incredible significance towards the trust towards another that you have extended your thoughts to.
I tend to use mine to mark my notebooks, magick bottles, and my letters to my friends, but they can be used for so much more.
Bottles tend to either be marked as completely sealed by wax on the cap, which would be partially broken in order to open the bottle; or tend to have a loose impression on the cap or the side of the bottle for protection or for marking as a special ingredient.
Notebooks are usually compact and small enough to fit in a wallet without looking too conspicuous. It travels with me and has a lovely wax spell to go with me, protecting my secrets.
Where Can I Find the Supplies?
Wax seals can come in many forms, I have seen bar wax with a wick and I have used that method many times. There are also bead waxes that you can heat in a spoon to control and pour in a specific area. Glue gun wax and banker’s wax is also available at some shops too. There are even wax seal stickers! These items are available at some craft stores, most likely in the wedding section. I like to shop online as well since they are so easy to find. The local Renaissance Faire shop might have a set too, so keep your eyes peeled! Make sure you have something you want to put the seal on, like an envelope or an object.
(I prefer the bead wax myself and cannot wait to invest in my own collection. I currently have so many seal wax wicks left over from my wedding that need to be used first. Oops!)
Creating a Seal:
Ӂ Wick Wax: Set aside a safe space to start your wick. You can light the wick with a match or a lighter. It is important to turn the wick downwards over where you want the wax to drop as it melts. Do not worry if the wax is still hot enough to be pressed, if the wax is dropping in the same area it should keep the wax hot enough to still be malleable. Blow out the wick and settle it where you do not mind getting a little wax on a surface as it cools. (Upon a spare piece of paper or cardboard is best) Position the seal in a way that you will like your insignia to face and firmly press it upon the wax. Wait for a few moments until the wax feels firm and cool. You can remove the seal with ease afterward if done correctly.
Ӂ Bead Wax: Is very much similar to the Wick wax except the beads are held by a spoon instead. Make sure the wrap the spoon with tin foil to keep it in good shape for easy cleaning. A lighter or match can heat the wax by being placed above or underneath the spoon, Once the wax is melted completely you can tip the spoon over a location you want the seal to go. Once the pool of wax is made, you can press your seal on the wax.
It will take a few tries so do not be discouraged! You can also do this upon a smooth, non flammable surface and peel off later to glue on something if you don’t feel very confident. Practice with be your friend, so please have at the craft of wax seals!
These waxes can be flammable and might catch fire depending on the the wick quality. Do not worry! It is a good idea to set aside a space where you can use this without worries of getting wax everywhere. If the wax does catch fire, I try to let the wax drip where I want it, and then use the seal to smother the flame and blow out the sealing stick.
This can be dangerous if not done correctly, so if you are looking to practice, it is a good idea to have an adult to help and/or something to smother the fire if something should go wrong.
How Do You Charm a Wax Seal?
Ӂ Intention: You need an intention to tether to an object. What this means is, you have to have a thought you want to immerse in your wax seal when you create it. You could think of a lock and key, or a diary with a latch that keeps it safe. This intention will impress upon what you are writing and will deter those who are not welcome from opening it.
I must admit, the advantage of these types of seals is that many are not familiar with it and will not want to damage the seal by touching it, so it is less likely that they will open it anyway.