Here's a fun project for a rainy day: wax stamps!
Wax stamps have this classic, old-timey feel to them -- I love them. Of course you could go online and buy a wax stamp or even have one uniquely designed for you -- for a hefty price. Not to mention the special wax you need to buy.
With my Instructable, I'll teach you how to make your own wax stamp AND how to make your own wax using supplies you probably already have in your home.
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Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
To make the wax stamp, you'll need:
- Tinkercad account + basic Tinkercad knowledge
- 3D printer + filament
For non-3D printed stamps, you could use:
- Decorative buttons
- Enamel pins
- Large beads
- Jewelry pendants
To make the colored wax, you'll need:
- Hot glue sticks
- Crayons (I got a pack at the Dollar Tree)
- Wax warmer for tealights
- Tealight candles
- X-acto knife or pencil sharpener
- Spoon or something with which to stir wax
And you'll also need envelopes in need of wax stamping!
Step 2: 3D Modeling Your Stamp
If you don't want to make one yourself, you can copy my Tinkercad design here. If you want to design your own, keep following the instructions.
First thing's first, find a design you like. Because it's 23 degrees outside and there's a thin blanket of snow on the ground, the first thing I came up with was a snowflake. So I searched Google for "snowflake silhouette" and found a simple one I liked. Think of simple shapes, like hearts and pentagrams, or initials with pretty lettering.
Once you've found a silhouette shape you like, save the image and convert it to an SVG file using this online SVG converter.
Once you're in Tinkercad, add a cylinder that measures 25mm by 25mm by 6mm high.
Then import your SVG file and change the dimensions to 20 by 20 just so it doesn't come into the workplane super huge.
Step 3: 3D Modeling Your Stamp, Cont.
Once your shape gets imported, change the type from a "solid" to a "hole" and place it at the bottom-center of your cylinder. You can change the dimensions if you wish.
Adjust the height of the shape so it just barely cuts into the cylinder. If the shape is too deep, the wax will get stuck -- but too shallow, and the wax won't get the imprint. It's not a perfect science and every shape is different, so just use your best judgement and experiment a little.
After you've done that, select both objects and group then together by pressing the "Group" button or Ctrl+G.
Step 4: 3D Modeling Your Stamp, Cont.
If you want a little handle for your stamp, add another cylinder on top of your first cylinder -- this one should measure 16mm by 16mm by 10mm high.
Select all objects and group them together by pressing the "Group" button or Ctrl+G.
Export the stamp as a .OBJ (or whatever suits your needs) and open it in your slicer of choice.
Now on to printing!
Step 5: 3D Printing Your Wax Stamp
Print your stamp on your 3D printer. You know how best to print things on your own 3D printer, so I'll leave that to you. I have this tiny, little printer with a 4" print bed -- it comes in handy pretty often.
If you don't have a 3D printer, you could instead use things around your house, like decorative buttons or enamel pins -- look for examples of that in step 9 and 10.
Step 6: Prepare Your Wax
Light a tealight and put it in the bottom of your wax warmer. I got this wax warmer for $1 at Walmart, but I've also seen them at the Dollar Tree.
Now to make the wax! The "perfect" consistency isn't an exact science. For me, it's slightly different every time. Regardless, I always start with a 2:1 ratio of glue sticks to crayons -- so either two glue sticks and one crayon, or one glue stick and half a crayon. You can always add more glue stick pieces or more crayon shavings if you need to.
Cut your glue sticks into small pieces and place them in the top well of the wax warmer. Cut up (or use a pencil sharpener for) your crayon and put them in with the hot glue pieces.
Once the pieces start melting, stir it all together. You want the mixture to be a gloopy-ish, drippy consistency, but thicker than Elmer's school glue. Too thick (too much hot glue), and the stamp won't have a lot of detail. Too thin (too much crayon), and the end result could be too brittle. Experiment a little!
Step 7: Stamp the Wax
Pour a dollop of the wax onto your envelope and quickly place the 3D-printed stamp onto the wax, pushing it down with a little pressure for a second or two. Once the wax cools after a minute or so, carefully pull up the stamp. You'll be able to tell when it's ready to come off the wax because it will be easy to lift up. If it's not coming up easily, keep it back on for another minute or so.
Step 8: Try Different Colors!
Try mixing two different crayon colors to come up with a new one. Also, in the last picture, you can see how using different amounts of wax drastically changes the end result. I personally like ones with more wax (the top example) because it looks more classic that way.
Step 9: No 3D Printer? No Problem
Instead of 3D printing a wax stamp, you could try using things you may have lying around your home. I tried using a large, decorative button and different enamel pins. Also, with the pineapple one, you can see how I mixed yellow and green crayon shavings, but not completely. That way, it creates a more marbled effect rather than a solid color.
Step 10: Color in Your Stamps
If your stamp is looking a little too plain for your taste, you could try coloring in some of the details with fine tipped markers. You can see here where I used an Instructable robot enamel pin and then colored in some of the details, like the outline and the face with black and red markers.
Step 11: Finished!
And that's all there is to it. It really is a lot of fun to design different stamps in Tinkercad and come up with different wax colors. It can get a little messy, but that just adds to the whole experience.
Remember: Always watch your candle flame and be super careful when dealing with hot glue and hot wax. Don't let your envelope (or any paper) get too close to your flame. Use common sense.
Most importantly though -- have fun!
Second Prize in the
Hot Glue Speed Challenge