How to Make a Seal Stamp

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An envelope sealed with a personalized wax stamp makes a card stand out in a pile.
An envelope sealed with a personalized wax stamp makes a card stand out in a pile. (Image: Max Oppenheim/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Wax seal stamps add a creative, old-fashioned accent to your sealed envelopes. Apply wax seals to invitations, thank-you notes or any letter or card that has a special purpose. While many stamps are made of metal, it is possible to make your own from inexpensive wooden dowels and a wood-burning tool. Keep the wood stamp in a safe place -- it can be a family heirloom to pass down through generations. You can also make stamps to give as gifts.

Things You'll Need

  • Sealing wax
  • Wooden dowels (of any size)
  • 150- and 220-grit sandpaper
  • Wood burner
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • X-Acto knife
  • Vegetable oil
  • Wood stain
  • Envelope
  • Pie tin or tin foil

Make a Wooden Seal Stamp

Pre-sand the dowel that will become your seal with 150-grit sandpaper, then again with 220-grit sandpaper. Sanding your dowel will make it extremely smooth and will remove any imperfections that might appear in your stamped insignia.

Take the exact measurement of the dowel end into which you will burn your insignia. While dowel measurements are usually indicated on their packaging or at the hardware store, these measurements are rarely precise.

Recreate a circle of that exact size on a piece of paper. Draw the design you would like for your insignia, or print one from your computer. Keep the design simple, unless you are a pro with a wood-burning tool. Cut out your final design with an X-Acto knife.

Flip the design so it reads backwards and trace it on the stamp end of the dowel with a sharp pencil.

Burn out the design with the wood burner, maintaining a consistent depth.

Stain the stamp. Dip it in wood stain or wipe on the stain with a rag. Allow it to dry for at least 8 hours before continuing your project. Staining will seal the wood and prevent wax from becoming embedded in your insignia and ruining the stamp.

Make a Seal

Melt sealing wax into a tiny puddle. You can do this several ways, but holding a lighter or match flame to the end of the wax stick works well. As the wax gets hot, it will drip onto the paper, so position it where you want the wax to fall.

Use the stick of the wax as a stirring tool. Shape the puddle into the shape of your seal (in this case it is round, but you can make other shapes as well). Allow the wax to cool for 15 seconds.

Dip the end of your wooden stamp in vegetable oil and dry it with a paper towel while the wax sets up. Use caution when applying the oil. Too much oil will cause a loss of detail in the impression, but you have little risk of that if you have made a simple design.

Press the stamp into the wax. Let the wax dry before gently wiggling the stamp to remove it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Because you are dealing with hot wax, you might light paper on fire. If this concerns you, make several stamps on an aluminum pie plate or a sheet of tin foil. When the stamps have cooled, collect them and keep them someplace cool and dry. When you are ready to use them, simply glue them on the envelope.

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