Monday, August 6, 2012

How to Make a Wax Seal Stamp from Sculpey Clay

I was making some test wax seal stamps today for a project and I thought I might write up the instructions to share.

Here's a wax seal stamp of a leaf that I sculpted when I was 17. I've kept it all these years, but for some reason I had never actually used it until today! I can't remember specifically what tool I used to sculpt it. Probably a toothpick, paperclip, pencil, or something similar.

Now I'll show you how to make one using a small item as a mold:

1. Start with Sculpey Clay. You can find it at most craft stores. It's $11.99 at Hobby Lobby.

2. Take a lump of clay and warm it up by kneading it in your hand.

3. Roll the clay into a cylinder. Try to get it as perfectly round as you can, ideally 3/4" in diameter.

4. Next pick the item you want to use as your mold. I used these jewelry charms. You could also use interesting buttons, small toys, etc. 

5. Take your item and place it face down on the clay and press it in. Your wax seal will come out in mirror image.

6. Use a pin or toothpick to carefully pull out your item and then smooth down any imperfections in the clay.

I made the owl on the opposite side of treble clef. I also made the owl stamp a little more oval.

7. Next bake your clay (or let it air dry, depending on the kind of clay you use). You should bake Sculpey at 275 degrees F for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch of clay. I baked these for 15 minutes.

8. When your wax seal stamp is cool get it nice and lubricated with some oil (I used olive oil). Here are some links to wax seal instructions from Nostalgic Impressions: 
Instruction page here
Instruction video here

9. Let your wax cool a bit longer before stamping than you would with a regular metal wax seal stamp. The first time I stamped it came out mushy, so I tried again letting it cool slightly longer, adding more oil, and also holding the stamp down longer while the wax cooled even further. I'm not not sure which one was the magic ingredient, but it definitely came out better the second time:

Here's the treble clef:

Fun, isn't it? I'm excited to try out more. I'll be making these with my kids for school this coming year. We'll try both sculpting and mold-style wax seal stamps.
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