I had a wax seal/letter writing kit sitting in my craft drawer and decided to use it. My best friend and I live a few states away and we make it a point to see each other at least twice a year––one of those times usually a girl’s weekend/trip. With all things pandemic happening, we haven’t been able to do this. We both love handwritten letters and crafting so I thought I would spend an afternoon crafting and write her a letter. I’ve seen a few articles online about the benefits of taking time to craft and connect to activities that are electronic/screen-free. Handwritten letters were my choice because I had the supplies at home and I love writing. I’ve also found a few more reasons as to why you should consider the art of letter writing.
Benefits of letter writing:
Creates positive memories during a time that overall isn’t so happy
Prioritizes relationships/encourages relationship building
The practice helps with being present and focusing on what’s happening in the moment
It’s sophisticated and fun
If you’re in the USA, sending a letter is supporting the USPS which has faced hardship during the pandemic
Letter writing is a tradition passed down from generations and centuries. From the Victoria age to MLKJ’s famous letters
Encourages learning calligraphy, a new language (if you’re trying to practice and write this), and offers an opportunity to improve your penmanship
how to practice Sustainable letter writing
Use up the materials you have already
I’m not sure how eco-friendly the wax seal kit I have is, but as part of my sustainable living journey, what I’ve learned is this lifestyle isn’t about throwing away/getting rid of items I already have but using them and replacing them with more sustainable and eco-friendly options.
when it’s time to restock, look for better options
I’ve googled “biodegradable wax seal kits”, “sustainable wax seal kits”, and “eco-friendly wax seal kits” to find brands that provide refills for when I run out that aren’t as harmful to the planet. A lot of the brands I’ve found have attached sustainability reports and tips for reusing/recycling. Have a look and see which colors/style/brand you like best from the search results. If you’re unsure, always reach out to the company to ask for a copy of their updated sustainability report. It’s okay to ask questions about the source of their products, manufacturing process, and employment conditions.
Also, consider purchasing paper that is made from recycled materials, is biodegradable, and is fair trade. Wax that is vegan and uses materials that are not from natural resources is also more beneficial to the environment (so I’ve read).
Request better shipping/delivery methods
DHL has a green shipping option available for businesses. If part of your business is sending packages and/or letters, I highly recommend reaching out to learn more and request this option. For individuals, call your preferred mail carrier and ask what their sustainable/green shipping options are.
If you live within walking/biking/driving distance to the letter’s recipient, deliver this to the mailbox. It’s more sustainable to drive than to fly as it uses less energy and pollutes less. Pro tip: if you’re driving, plan out your day. Work in grocery shopping, errands, other letter drop-offs, etc. into the route so you can tick off those to-do’s while conserving miles/gas and energy.
handwritten letter crafts:
There’s not one way of sending a handwritten letter, but I will share what I did to give insight as to the process, how long the wax seal took, and how easy it was to craft with this as it was my first time using hot wax.
step 1: gather craft materials
Step 2: write your letter
Take the time to craft your letter––share a story, catch up with the person receiving it––be as creative or traditional as you want. When you’re finished, insert the letter into the envelope. Lick it closed. If your adhesive isn’t as sticky iso clear or decretive tape to add extra closure.
Step 3: Seal the letter
Each wax seal kit will come with specific instructions so please do familiar yourself by reading those before adhering to the tips I’m leaving below. For my kit, I was instructed to light the wick of my desired wax stick and on an angle, tip the wax stick hovering about an inch to an inch and a half above the envelope to allow the wax to drip down.
Wax seal tips:
I found that moving my envelope on an angle allowed me the best angle to watch where the wax was dripping down.
Move the wax stick allowing for it to drop in a circular motion on the envelope. I opted to use more wax because I wasn’t sure how large it would expand to. The directions said it would nearly double in size but the wax didn’t. When I felt I had enough wax, I held the envelope with both hands and very cautiously and slowly rotated the paper to move the wax into a more rounded circle.
My wax started drying rather quickly so I had the gold design press already screwed onto the wooden holder. I aligned the seal onto the wax and pressed it on the center of the wax, distributing even pressure. I held the seal for about 15 seconds. Some needed more time and some needed less. I found it was different each time. As I sealed a few more letters I began to feel the difference for when the wax was ready for me to lift the seal. I lightly test the wax by slightly rocking the seal back and forth––very little movement. Move the seal a few millimeters and don’t pick it up. If you feel the wax moving or it’s hard to make the slight movements, keep pressing down and holding the seal––the wax isn’t hard enough and ready yet. But, if you’re able to do this with ease and minimal friction, your wax is set––lift the seal. I set the letters to the side to let the wax sit for 5-10 minutes (depending on how large the seal was.) These were on the smaller side, but I didn’t want the wax to pop off of anything.
Step 4: Address your letters
The last step in this craft is to flip your letter over and address it to the sender. Don’t forget a stamp!