unexpected hazards in letter-writing

So I wrote the first Onyx Court letter tonight, and after abandoning one slightly messy-looking attempt two sentences in, succeeded at producing fair copy.

Then I folded it up, got out the sealing wax stick — which has a wick, like a miniature candle designed to drip copious wax — and nearly lit the damn letter on fire.

Need to experiment and figure out if it’s wick length or what that caused burning bits to drip off it along with the wax. Or, y’know, give up on the sealing wax thing. But I have this stuff, and never use it! This seems like the perfect excuse! I just didn’t consider this as one of the possible hazards when I set out to write these letters.

0 Responses to “unexpected hazards in letter-writing”

  1. la_marquise_de_

    As long as you don’t set fire to your hair!

  2. stormsdotter

    You want your wick to be about 1/4″ long. Until you’re used to the sealing wax, don’t actually seal your letter. Play with it a bit, holding the stick at about a 15- to 30-degree angle so the wax drips in one direction. This will make the edge of your stick slightly angled, but that’s all right.

    I occasionally use sealing wax for LARP props.

  3. aishabintjamil

    I used to think sealing wax was really cool when I was growing up, but I never managed to get it to actually work. It may not mail very well anyway. It’s not as historical, but if find it too frustrating, I think I’ve seen some nice seal stickers with embossed patterns on them.

    • laurelwen

      You can also find faux sealing wax in the form of glue sticks for a glue gun. Still involves heat, but no open flame. And a little easier to control if you’re a practiced hand with a glue gun.

      In my experience, it’s best to make sure the two sides are held down firmly, and keep the stick at an angle. You can rotate if you want to keep it evenly melted. Hold it more or less directly in the center of the circle you want to create and resist the urge to move it around to let the drips fall in a wider circle. If you keep it centered, the pool of wax will grow evenly with each drip and spread to the size you want.

    • Marie Brennan

      Yeah, I don’t know how well it will survive mailing. I’m putting the sealed letter inside a regular envelope, which should help, I hope.

  4. kendokamel


    I’ve taken to sealing all of my actual letters and such with wax, and the drippy-candle is the only type of sealing wax that I’ve been able to find locally (as compared to a piece of wax that I would stick into a separate candle, then squoosh onto the envelope), and it’s been… somewhat of a learning curve.

    I can’t tell if it makes me feel more arcane or badass…

  5. Marie Brennan

    Huh, I hadn’t thought of that. Looking into it, though, it sounds like even hand canceled envelopes get run through a machine eventually — I’ve found lots of bridal sites complaining about it.

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