Wedding ideas: Create your own personalized stationary for thank you notes
How to use sealing wax to create customized thank you notes, including basic and advanced techniques.
Sealing the Deal:
Custom Thank You Notes
You’ve made it. The engagement is over. The wedding ceremony was beautiful. The honeymoon was romantic. The gifts were thoughtful and you got so much more than you were expecting. Now you and your new spouse are supposed to be thinking about thank you notes, and you want them to be as classy and memorable as the rest of the wedding. Customizing stationary for your thank you notes can be a simple and painless process that births beautiful results.
Wax was the traditional method of sealing envelopes until the onset of the gummed envelope. Hot wax was dripped or poured over the folded edges of a document and pressed down until the wax hardened. The influential had specially designed seals to press into the hot wax, leaving behind an image that identified them personally, by family, or by business.
You can use the same tools to create a classy effect on the front flap of a blank note card. Pre-folded cards can be purchased in a variety of colors at your local craft store or stationer. If you cannot find a color or pattern to please you, 8 by 10 card stock can be split long-ways then folded to make nice note cards as well.
You will need sealing wax and a seal. Sealing wax is easiest to find in sticks that resemble runty square candles, though it is also available in pellets. It comes in dozens of colors, including metallics and glittered wax. Wax costs between two and eight dollars per stick, depending on the brand and location.
Wax seals are deeply engraved metal stamps attached to long handles. These can be found with patterns, symbols, and capital letters. They cost as little as five dollars and can take upward of twelve. For thank you notes, it is traditional to use the husband’s initial to monogram stationary. Craft, stationary, and art supply stores are the likeliest sources for wax and seals.
It will take a bit of practice to perfect using your seal, so try a few times on a sheet of typing paper before you start on you note cards. Also, each seal and stick of wax is different, so remember to practice at least once when starting with a new seal or type of wax.
Wax embossing is a simple process. First, rub a very small amount of vegetable oil on the face of the seal and wipe of the excess. Then light the wick of the wax stick, or melt the pellets in a spoon over a candle or hotplate. If you are using the stick type wax, hold the stick upright for a few seconds to melt the wax, then tip it over above the center of the front flap of the card to be embossed. A half inch diameter seal will take about ten drops of wax. If you are using the pellets, just pour a few drops in the center of the card.
Quickly, while the wax is still hot, press the seal into the puddle of wax and hold it there until the wax hardens. Gently lift the seal away from the paper to see your finished product. If the seal sticks, then rock it gently back and forth until it pops free. The card can be written and mailed immediately.
For a fancier look, try pressing the seal into a silver ink pad before setting it in the wax. This will leave behind a lighter background for your pattern, calling more attention to the initial or pattern you chose. For lighter colored wax, this same effect works well with a corresponding dark ink. For example, use pale green wax and forest green ink on ivory stationary.
An even more advanced technique is to use a crossed loop of ribbon under the wax. Loop the ribbon the way you would if you were wearing it to support a cause (like pink ribbons to support breast cancer cure research) and hold it to the paper with you finger on the loop. Drip wax over the crossed part of the ribbon and on the paper to either side then seal it as usual.
Now that you have the basic techniques down, try combining them to create stationary that will be both elegant and memorable. Remember, with our current postal technology, you’ll want you seal to be on the stationary, not the envelope. The Postal sorting machines will scrape the seal off, leaving the folks who receive it wondering about the odd stain on the envelope.