View Full Version : *PLEASE HELP! Wax Seals tearing off of Letters*

January 15th, 2014, 08:47 AM
Hello FPGeeks!

I'm hoping someone can help with with an issue I just learned about last night with my wax seals. They're tearing/ripping off of the envelopes!

I am very new to all things FP, wax sealing included - I only received my J. Herbin supple wax & seal early last week from the Goulets. I've watched the video Brian Goulet has on his site as well as Stephen Brown's youtube. I understand the technique of applying the wax, what I'm unsure of what can I do differently so it's not ripped off in transit to its destination ha!

Before sending, this is what the seal looks like (still working on angels and centering etc.):


And this is a picture I was sent last night of one of the letters with the seal ripped and smeared:


Has anyone else has this same issue with supple wax? If so, did you find a simple solution? I'm open to any ideas and suggestions.



January 15th, 2014, 08:58 AM
I would advise watching Stephen Brown's video on wax seals: http://youtu.be/wMM97sH4tbE He talks about the difference between brittle and supple wax. I don't use wax seals myself but I thought of this video. Hope that helps. :)

January 15th, 2014, 09:05 AM
Thanks - watching the video now...

January 15th, 2014, 09:12 AM
Brittle wax gets destroyed in automated mail machines

January 15th, 2014, 09:14 AM
Thanks - watching the video now...

Even with the supple K.Herbin wax getting a seal through the postal service is at best a 50-50 proposition. Using as little wax as possible helps. Experiment with how little you can use and still get a decent impression.

January 15th, 2014, 10:37 AM
Brittle wax gets destroyed in automated mail machines

This. I thought that wax seals would be neat, and then quickly heard about how much trouble they give the automatic mail sorters. A great idea that suffers from the intrusion of technology. The only method that I have heard of that works even close to reliably is to use another envelope over the sealed one.

January 15th, 2014, 10:50 AM
Thanks - watching the video now...

Even with the supple K.Herbin wax getting a seal through the postal service is at best a 50-50 proposition. Using as little wax as possible helps. Experiment with how little you can use and still get a decent impression.

I find this too. If I use a lot, they don't survive so well. I use a gismo thing (for lighting the bbq) to heat the wax, meaning it heats fast and I seem to need less to make the impression.

January 15th, 2014, 12:18 PM
Yup, with the auto sorting machines these days wax seals are... iffy. And frankly with the supple wax I'm sure the post office gets really, really unhappy when it smears all over the machine and then the next letters in line. I'd use a wax seal on an INNER envelope, put the whole thing in a larger outer envelope for a better chance in the machinery.

January 15th, 2014, 12:33 PM
Yeah, if you send a wax seal through the mail system, unless you put it in another envelope, it is pretty much the luck of the draw if it makes it.

I am glad these made it to Texas unscathed. Actually, those are the only ones that made it out of probably a dozen or so I have received.:

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3706/11327707293_8517b1baf5_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivan_romero/11327707293/)
Incoming #snailmail How cool is that wax seal? Very. #pirate #jollyroger #calicojackrackham (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivan_romero/11327707293/) by IvanRomero (http://www.flickr.com/people/ivan_romero/), on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7422/8939402160_7c6f7bddeb_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivan_romero/8939402160/)
Another wax seal that made it through the USPS. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivan_romero/8939402160/) by IvanRomero (http://www.flickr.com/people/ivan_romero/), on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7283/8739583776_34deafe3b4_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivan_romero/8739583776/)
That is a cool wax seal. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivan_romero/8739583776/) by IvanRomero (http://www.flickr.com/people/ivan_romero/), on Flickr

January 15th, 2014, 03:46 PM
This one recently made it all the way to Australia unscathed. The photocopier has cleverly completely edited the envelope out:confused:

Some times all that remains of the wax seals is a smear of colour across the envelope with not even a remnant of wax.

It will be interesting to see how wax seals fare in Australian letterboxes this summer with temperatures above 40C.

Tracy Lee
January 15th, 2014, 05:17 PM
One of my pen pals and I have done some experimenting to see where the machines hit, and of course that would differ country to country. Writingrav's seals (see IF Stone above) usually make it to me and many of his envelopes open at the skinny end rather than the center. US machines seem to hit inside the edges by a few inches and hard at dead center. I use a template of Writingrav's envelope to make my own and I am pretty sure that pirate seal above I put on one of those shaped envelopes. It is likely all just chance, but seals off dead center or "typical placement" have survived better and more often to my house than otherwise. The supple wax is good, but in some ways to me it lacks character and looks more like a plastic blob than a traditional seal. I keep several different kinds, including supple, on hand and take my chances they will arrive okay.

Sent from my Xoom using Tapatalk

January 16th, 2014, 04:58 PM
Interesting, regarding off center seals. I'll keep that in mind.

I usually use Atelier Gargoyle, and I haven't heard of any not making it through the mails, yet. I have a supply of traditional, as well, but there is not a chance it would make it through the mails. I use it for hand delivered cards or notes; it's more ceremonious, if you will.

January 17th, 2014, 07:21 PM
Makes me wonder what people actually get when my letters show up. Lately, I've switched to using a novelty postage stamp as my "seal" just because I've begun to enjoy the stamps themselves...

January 19th, 2014, 01:04 PM
Friends and I recently sent some sealed letters to ourselves. We have a convenient mailbox half a block away. They showed up looking as if someone had tried to scrape the wax off the envelope, just a small, thin portion of the wax's centre remained. Interestingly, too, though these were sent regular mail in canada, they were delivered days later with the mail, but with "priority courier" stamp stamped on the front. Very interesting. Hope that helps.

January 29th, 2014, 09:22 AM
Just arrived back from the Post Office in downtown Denver - I had a pile of letters to drop off to kickstart InCoWriMo (I know, I'm a few days early) all of which had a SMALL wax seal on the back (thought I'd try and use 50% less wax to see if that made a difference.

I asked the nice worker at the desk about wax seals and machines etc. His answer surprised me. In the US at least, EVERY letter goes through the machines unless it's Registered Mail (which cost's minimum $14 per letter), AND, ANY changes to the shape, size, or overall uniformity of any envelope comes with an additional $0.21 charge. Meaning, he said, technically all of the letters I've been sending out should have come back to me saying 'additional postage needed.'

I told him to go ahead and send the letters anyways.

Looks like I'll be using the wax seals on the letters themselves now vs the envelops...Pity, looks so cool to have the seals on the outside...

Has anyone else asked a similar question to a postal worker and received a different response? Just curious...

January 29th, 2014, 10:26 AM
I have just had a letter returned with a seal on but not due to the seal but a wrong address. Interestingly it has been all the way to the USA and back and the seal is suprisingly intact, it is now inside another envelope to send it back with the correct address.