Outus Sealing Wax and Seal

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Awhile back, one of my blog followers and former colleague, Neil, gave me an Outus sealing wax and seal set.

The Outus brand is made by the Anhui Yashengweige Wangluo Keji Youxian Gongsi company based in Hefei, China. The city of Hefei is one of China’s special economic zones. With a population of 7,869,000 inhabitants it is almost double the population of the whole province of Alberta and makes Canada’s largest city, Toronto, seem like a village with its population of 2,731,571 (even the greater Toronto area only has a population of 5,928,040). It amazed me when I was visiting China just how large and populous a county it is and how little I really knew about it.

This set came with a sturdy brass seal imprinted with a tree on a wooden handle as well as eight sticks of sealing wax. The only kind of sealing wax that I have used before is the type with a wick (for more information, please see this blog post https://margretputspentopaper.wordpress.com/?s=sealing+wax). While two of these sticks have a wick, the rest do not so I had to figure out how to use them.

I tried just using a lighter to melt the stick but I couldn’t comfortably keep the flame going long enough to melt quite enough wax to make a nice looking seal.

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I also tried heating the wax stick over a candle and then just smooshing it onto the envelope in a circle but again I couldn’t get enough wax on the paper to make a nice seal. The end result looking like squashed bubble gum (I was using the bright pink) and was so unappealing I didn’t even take a picture.

Next, I attempted using a candle but I had to hold it at an angle and the candle wax started to drip. The resulting seal ended up being a combination of blue candle wax and silver sealing wax with some soot from the smoking candle mixed in.

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After that I thought I should consult the internet. It turns out that the non-wicked type of sealing wax is the traditional type. Sometimes it is sold with a little ladle-like spoon meant to be heated over a candle with a small chunk of the wax in it. While this set didn’t come with a spoon, I had a cheap teaspoon from our camping gear I didn’t mind experimenting with. I cut off a piece of wax (I could have used a smaller amount), put it on the spoon, and heated it with a small candle.

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It didn’t take long to melt and I was easily able to pour the wax onto the envelope.

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Success!

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If the Outus sealing wax and seal set was a person they would be hard to get to know but once you googled them you would see a whole new dimension.

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Sealing wax

The use of seals goes way back into ancient times but originally these were made out of clay or, in the case of the Romans, bitumen. Wax started being used for seals in medieval times. Originally, they were a way for someone like a bishop or monarch to authenticate decrees and documents by having a distinct seal that they would press into wax. Later, wax seals were used to seal letters closed and while this is no longer necessary (just like handwritten letters), that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. For one, it looks great, and secondly, you get to play with molten wax. While it is possible to use any kind of wax, sealing wax has been specially developed for the job so works the best.

There are different kinds of sealing wax, those with a wick (the only kind I have tried) and those without. I have also heard of a sealing wax manufacturer based in Victoria, B.C. called Kings Wax that have invented a glue gun style wax as well as making traditional sealing wax. While squirting wax on with a glue gun is no doubt easier than traditional sealing wax, there is no flame involved. Where is the joy in that?

My red sealing wax and rose seal were gifts from my daughter. Red is a traditional colour for sealing wax. I also tried my sister’s gold coloured sealing wax and seal. Her seal is a fancy capital E and has a wooden handle while mine is smaller and all brass. Although the packaging is different, the wax sticks look like they were made in the same mold as the size and design are identical. I couldn’t find a brand name or a country of origin on the gold wax package but there was a website for Nostalgic Impressions, a company based in Naples, Florida. My package said that the wax stick was made in China but the paper insert said that the company had been using the same Scottish factory for 300 years. Again, I saw the Nostalgic Impressions website listed so I am just not sure where these were made.20170506_164524

Both wax sticks came with instructions which basically are as follows:

  1. Melt wax and start dripping it onto the envelope. It really helps to use a lighter for this. It takes a bit of practice to know just how much wax to drip onto the envelope and I was too skimpy when using the gold wax. It doesn’t bother me if there are a few stray drops as I think they add to the charm.                                                                  20170430_105530
  2. Once you have a good size blob, huff onto the brass seal (a little moisture on the seal helps it not stick to the wax) and press into the molten wax.20170430_105623
  3. Send your letter on its way.

If wax seals were a person, I think they would be a wise old sage with snowy white hair and gnarly, ink stained hands.

Coming up next week: I recently won a Rhodia Memo Book from https://www.rhodiadrive.com/ so am looking forward to discussing it.