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What is Sealing Wax and Where is it Used?

What is Sealing Wax?
Though not common these days, in the days of yore, sealing wax was extensively used to seal letters prior to delivery. In this HomeQuicks article, we take you down memory lane, to give you more information on this unique way of sealing letters.
HomeQuicks Staff
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
The blinds in the room have been drawn and the mahogany table sits in the center occupying an important place in the otherwise empty room. On the chair sits Arita with a pen in her hand and a stack of handmade paper on the desk. Slowly, she puts her signature on one of the sheets, folds it and places it in the envelope. Once she has completed that, she reaches inside her drawer and pulls out the sealing wax stick, then she melts the wax onto the envelope and seals it.

The History of Sealing Wax

Sealing wax actually originated when envelopes did not come with glue on the flap, making them difficult to seal and thus ensure privacy. To solve this problem, a lit candle was tipped over the envelope, allowing a few drops of wax to fall on the flap's side and that was stamped with an inscribed stem, which was called a seal.

In the days of yore this was a method used to ensure that the communication sent was secure and authentic. Unfortunately, it was the coming of the gummed envelopes that led to a decline in the use of this wax, though the ones who are fascinated with it still find an excuse to melt the wax!

Recipes can be generally divided into those before and after the beginning of trade with the Indies. Beeswax that had been melted together with Venice turpentine was typically used in the Middle Ages to make sealing wax. The wax that was manufactured at this time was uncolored. It was after some time that vermilion was used to add some color. It was in the 16th century that sealing wax was compounded from a mixture of various proportions of shellac, resin, turpentine, chalk, plaster, and coloring matter and no actual wax.

Sealing Wax Today

With the changes that have been wrought in the world, new styles of sealing wax, known as faux sealing wax, have entered the market. This wax is slightly rubbery and can bend without breaking. Round wax sticks that fit into standard size glue guns are also available.

Wax seals can be obtained in a range of designs covering initials to animals, flowers, religion and a range of other things. Sealing wax today is used to for scrapbooks, to decorate certificates, and to seal envelopes when sending out invitations.

Where Can I Buy Sealing Wax Sticks?

These sticks are usually available with a variety of sealers at any stationers' or fine paper shop. You can also find it online. Wax sticks are available in colors like gold, silver, red, green, and are about the size and shape of a piece of sidewalk chalk. While at the stationers', remember to check out the new variety available with wicks.

How Do I Use Sealing Wax?

To use the wax:
  • First heat the wax to melt it.
  • Then allow the wax to fall on the place where you require the seal.
  • Once you have achieved the desired blob, put the flame off and impress the seal into the hot wax.
Wax seals collection
Wax Seal