In 2020 I created my Fine Art website for the first time….and for the first time offered up some of my work to (GASP!) be sold. I was pretty sure nothing would go, but recently I crossed the 50 piece threshhold!?! I guess all my whining about how hard that website was to build was worth it.
However – I have really been doing a bad job at packing up my work! I’m a recycler, and was excited I could finally use up all the boxes I save…..but….I wasn’t feeling great about the user experience. Yes if it’s my “green” sister, who reuses the same Christmas wrapping every year, she’d be tickled. And with Earth Day being tomorrow I can promise none of that stuff will go to waste – it’ll just be the outer wrapping, and the inside is what needs to be awesome.
So since I’ve had this Repetitive Stress Injury to my dominant hand, I’ve dedicated myself to doing a bunch of tasks that never bubbled up too high on the list, and learning how others present their pieces to buyer is something my left hand can do with no help at all from my right hand. Today’s video is the result of that….a bunny trail into wax stamps! Before shopping -please do read on in this post; I have formed a few DEFINITE opinions on what works and why since the making of this first video.
Watch the video below or click here to see it on YouTube.….then read more detail below on some of the supplies I feel comfortable recommending at this point.
Cards have always been included – and I haven’t gotten them revamped yet but it’s comin’ soon. I was out painting last week and had several inquiries and didn’t have current cards to give them!
This video deals with only the inner “presentation” portion of packing; the outer layers of packaging (boxes, envelopes, bubble wrap etc) are a choice to make based on the art, size, etc. But the wrapping right around the art piece can be quite special and make a buyer feel better about their purchase, especially as you grow in notoriety and charge more for your work, which is where I’d like to end up.
Layers from the inside out:
- Glassine right on top of the art, slick side down. This protects the surface of the paper from scratching or any dirt to rub against it and do any damage.
- Backer board or illustration board cut to just larger than the art. How much larger is up to you. But something good and heavy; the board I’m using is similar to the stuff they use for the back of a watercolor pad.
- Wrap that in more glassine. I’ve ordered in the stickers I talked about! Stay tuned for more on that.
- Add a handmade card, or letter on really nice paper if you’re not a crafty type. Tuck into a nice envelope.
- Wrap in kraft paper, use brown tape for the flaps, and add a wax seal to the seam.
- Then add whatever cardboard, bubble wrap, etc is needed.
What you need to get started
There are some sets that’ll give you most of what’s needed; in the longform description below I list at the end of each one the items to consider in addition to that set. But the basics:
- A stamp
- Candle for heat
- A spoon
Main differences come in A) whether you want a warmer/furnace so you don’t have to hold the spoon for 3 minutes; B) which form of wax you want to use (beads, candles, glue gun sticks). I’ve done my best to describe the options below.
Wax seal stamps
The design of stamps you decide on is very personal. So. Many. Choices! The one used here is Regal Letter S. Note that the recessed part of a design will be the RAISED part when stamped – wax pushes up into the stamp, and can make some gorgeous 3D effects. Or not. The cheaper the stamp, the less beautifully it handles that.
Wax seal sets
The “set” I recommend first is the Craspire Wax Warmer set shown below. Any warmer is fine, I’m sure, but this is the one I got and it’s working fine. Without something to set the spoon on, you’re stuck holding it. For 2-3+ minutes; different waxes may take different amounts, but nothing is lickety split. This also comes with a spoon that’s larger than what appears to be “standard” (all the other “sets” I bought had the same aluminum spoons with longer handles) and the spoon in this warmer set was the only one with a little triangle to guide pouring (which seems to help little). The aluminum spoon handles get warm – not warm enough to burn you or anything, but if you do a lot of seals, it may warm up a bit. It also comes with some pens (gold and silver), and a couple wickless candles, which you cut up into chunks to melt in the spoon. (More on those in a minute.) Get this set and you still need a wax stamp of choice.
The Tree of Life set below is also nice – the stamp here is just gorgeous. The box is nice to keep everything in, and has the wickless candles (see note below). This comes without a warmer (sometimes called a ‘furnace’), and the silver spoon is the standard one mentioned above. All the sets I bought for testing come with at least 1-2 tealights – don’t count those as “wow this has everything” because those add practically nothing to the cost. Get this set and I’d recommend a wax warmer to add to it.
Glue gun wax seals
I played with the glue gun method of wax delivery and it’s NOT going to be my preference. I’ll show you a video on it in the near future, but don’t just get excited that you already have a gun so you’re good to go. Here’s some things to consider:
- For mass production (wedding invites etc), this is likely the way to go. The wax is melting constantly inside the gun so you don’t have the wait time for melting. But you know what you do have? Wait time for COOLING. The wax stamp, since it’s metal, gets hot. Even a warm wax stamp is a MESS when trying to stamp it—the wax will stick to it and peel up, it’s just a mess. So you need to have ice in a ziploc that you can cool your stamp on, which takes, get this, at least a minute between stampings. So yes, you save a minute or two each when using glue guns, but….I don’t find the experience satisfying enough for the tradeoff.
- There are 2 sizes of glue guns. And 2 sizes of wax sticks. At first I didn’t know that, I’d never had a glue gun before, and bought a mini gun but the larger sticks. Yeah. I know. Glue gun newbie here. So I went and bought the bigger gun AND smaller sticks. So be careful when buying.
- The last thing is the cleaning out of the gun. If you plan to stick with one color, then fine, just let the stick cool in the gun, and it’s your dedicated gold wax seal gun forever. Just keep adding sticks as it runs out and you’re fine. But if you want to create one seal with one color, and another with a different color…well you’re out of luck. It’s not a quick-change. If the stick is long enough that you can pull it out, you still have some of color 1 stuck in the barrel, and to get it cleaned out, you either waste some wax of the 2nd color to push it through, or sacrifice a gluestick for the purpose.
- All these mean that I’m gonna be a spoon girl.
Wax Seal Warmers/Furnaces
I decided on getting a set that included one but if you choose to go the piecemeal route. one warmer I saw and considered was the Mudder Wax Furnace – it comes with a nice spoon with wooden handle. A few dollars more is the Triwol Wax Seal Kit that has a little fancier design and fancier wooden handled spoon. I can’t vouch for either but I also can’t imagine they would be bad.
Wax beads and candles with and without wicks
Wax beads are chopped into tiny hexagons; in my first attempts they melted easier/faster and were “puffier” than the wax candles if that makes sense? I don’t have enough experience with a variety of brands, so it might be that. However wax beads come in a crazy wonderful variety of colors, and there are techniques to do fun stuff with that….so stay tuned. I bought these blue ones and this mixed set to play with. I started with the Yoption Blue Beads (360 pc) and Tegg Colourful Beads (100 pc)….and you know more are coming.
Wickless candles (pictured in the boxed set above) have two ways to be used: either chop off pieces to put in the spoon, or hold the end of it in the spoon over the flame and wait for it to melt (the latter is only possible while the candle is long enough that you don’t get burned. I didn’t find the latter to be very easy, but maybe there are techniques I can find tutorials on. Chopping off pieces is easier.
Candles with wicks for seals are also available – light it and wait for it to drip where you want the seal to be. I only used cheap ones from Amazon so it’s possible good wax would work better – but I found two problems: 1) it took FOREVER to get enough wax to make a seal to drip, and 2) the wax that did drip was charred from the flame. So the wick candles will now be chopped into little bits to melt in a spoon.
NOTE: don’t use normal candles. Those don’t have resin in them which is what makes the seals attach to the surface of the paper you’re adding them to.