Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Tuesday 19th June 2012 - Handmade Wax Seal

I'm a student. One bonus about being a student is: I'm poor.

As it happens i'm an Illustration student. One bonus about being an Illustration student is: I'm creative.

And the bonus of being creative? I can cut corners, inventively, come up with cheap solutions, and be one up at the end of the day.


The most recent corner-cutting-creative-solution-finding-endeavour of mine is: Wax Seals.

I think they look damn cool, and being able to seal CVs, letters and correspondence as such I thought would be damn cool. So set about making one.

I didn't need much;
A handle/base for the seal itself: (A cork.)
A malleable surface upon which to work my design: (fimo modelling clay.)
A design:
And a way to stick it all together: (Super glue.)

After sticking the 2 pence piece to the cork (a flat, metal surface for purposes of heat conduction and flat working surface), and filling the sides with clay, I then layered a 5mm thick sheet of fimo over the entire end of the cork.

Once done, I loosely marked in my desired design with a sharpie.

Using my clay/etching/engraving tool, I dug into the design, trying to keep it as smooth as possible, in some places using a scalpel to get a clean and smooth surface.

As well as making a seal, I decided to make a quick magnet of a sweet looking bottle cap I found attatched to a christmas present - as easy as filling the hollow in with clay, inserting a magnet and holding it with superglue.

I also took this time to paint a watered down layer of PVA on my wax seal, to try and smooth it some more. In hindsight, this was a stupid idea - it reacted with the wax, and made the seal stick to the wax, in a bad way.

The final, baked piece. Once baked, I carved into the surface with a scalpel, to refine the edges. I then took some sandpaper to the top, to get a flat, even surface. Ideal for waxing. Or sealing. I'm unsure of the proper verb.


I thought I was out of the woods then, and having never actually watched anybody use a wax seal before, I didn't realize there were... well... any, complications. I think some of them may have arisen from the seal not being metal, but either way needed to work around it.

The work around I found was to let the wax cool to almost set, then apply more pressure than is necessary and leave for about 15 seconds, doing anything other than that may lead to any of the issues snapped here: Cracked seals, broken seals, part set seals, etc.


So yeah, a work around for a bespoke wax seal. The cost for a similar size, cast in metal would be close to £40 - £45. This cost me less than £3.

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