Holiday ordering calendar is live!

Every year, customers ask me “when do you need my order by for holiday cards/Christmas?” The short answer is “the sooner the better.”

Because many of our customers want a customized ring or seal to their own design and different materials require different lengths of time for production, the long answer is a calendar, with the deadline depending on if you want it in time to seal your own holiday cards or for Christmas gifting, if it’s a stock design or customized, and what material you want.

Etsy is the fastest way to get a stock design if it’s already in stock, and your primary source for sealing wax.  You can always request a custom listing for any sold out items, wax color samples, custom products, or large orders of wax.

If a stock design is sold out on Etsy, ordering it on Shapeways is the next fastest way to get it, they will 3D print it and send it directly to you.

For custom rings and seals, it’s always best to email the design for a free evaluation and estimate.

Followers on Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, and Instagram will receive valuable discount codes for ordering early.

How To: Using wickless sealing wax

The easiest way to explain is to watch this video on YouTube!

YouTube Preview Image

A butane torch is recommended for melting wax.  The most important feature is a jet of flame that can go sideways – if the flame only goes straight up, wax can drip onto your lighter  and make a mess (maybe ruin the lighter!), but with a sideways flame it can drip cleanly where you want it to go.  I’ve found the best torch is one found in Home Depot in the Tools section, it’s a Benzomatic brand with a gooseneck like a barbecue lighter.  Bernzomatic goose neck torch

You can also use the type of torch normally used for finishing creme brulee or brazing plumbing, however these can have a very large flame that is more difficult to control. Torch-type cigar lighters also will work, but they may overheat more quickly.

Always use caution to avoid burns from flame or hot wax. Children require adult supervision. Always remove signet rings from your hand before using to make an impression. The ring will get hot, and wax can come around the sides to contact skin directly.

After dripping the hot wax on your document or envelope, stir the puddle a bit with the hot end of the stick. This is to shape the puddle, remove bubbles, and make the color more uniform (especially for metallic colors). You want to let the wax get just a little tacky before impressing it with a seal. For best results, moisten your seal slightly before pressing it into hot wax. If the seal is cold, breathing on it like you are cleaning a pair of reading glasses should be enough.

The hot end of the wax stick will be hot for up to one minute after making a seal . For best results, have a smooth ceramic or metal surface to rest it on while setting your seal. Aluminum foil usually peels off pretty well too.

Your seal or ring will also be very hot – place this on a heat resistant surface for at least a minute before touching the business end.  If you are making many impressions in a short period of time, you may cool the seal on an ice cube – just be sure to dry it very thoroughly before using it again.

Buy sealing wax here.

Designing Your Own Custom Wax Seal or Signet Ring

Customers often ask me, what designs work best as a wax seal or ring? If you already have an image, the easy answer is to just email it to me and I’ll tell you what will work or what changes are needed.

There are some basic details that I almost always need to complete an order:
Your desired image (jpeg preferred)
Your ring or seal size (either try on sizing rings at a jeweler or try this)
Shipping/billing address
Material choice (options and pricing are at
What color sealing wax you want with that and how many sticks

Please put all that information in one email to for a free design evaluation and price quote.

The two biggest influences on cost and design rules are material and size. Most designs will be about 3/4″ (19 mm) in diameter. This is about the size of an American penny. Most rings will be close to this size, unless your ring size is exceptionally large or small, and all stock seal designs are made this way. 3/4″ seals are less expensive than larger designs, and more efficient with wax – typically about 30 impressions per stick of sealing wax.  I have managed to get 40 impressions out of a stick, with much experience and using a minimum amount of wax.

The largest seals are typically 1″ (25 mm) diameter, slightly bigger than an American quarter. This gives a larger canvas to work with, and is recommended especially for complex designs or a logo surrounded by text. The downsides are higher cost and using more wax, typically closer to 20 impressions per stick.

Seals don’t need to be round – I’ve made triangles, squares, and a leaf shape in the past, many other shapes are possible.

For materials, there are two categories: stainless steel (which can be plated in bronze, nickel, grey, black or gold) and the cast metals (silver, bronze, brass, gold or platinum).

Stainless steel on Shapeways is actually a stainless steel powder, with bronze holding the powder together. This is a lower cost option, but the available detail is lower. Details in your design generally need to be at least 0.040″ (1 mm) wide, which is like drawing with a dull pencil. Usually it’s best for white space between lines to follow this rule as well. There are exceptions and tricks to get more out of this material, such as using layers. Think of it like using different colored pencils to represent details cut to different depths in the stamp, where any place two different colors meet shows as a line on the final seal. Remember that the line width rule applies to each color, and this works best if each color is a larger, shaded area. Letters are generally limited to large monograms, 1-4 characters.

Another point to consider about stainless steel is something called “tea staining.” Some people have skin chemistry that reacts with the bronze binder with prolonged contact (wearing it as a ring). This is a relatively rare and harmless but unsightly brown discoloration that does wash off. I’m told that gold plating or applying clear nail polish to the skin contact area can sometimes prevent the reaction, but I can’t make any guarantees.

The biggest difference for the cast metals is the minimum line width is half the size, 0.020″ (0.5 mm), like drawing with a 0.5 mm mechanical pencil.  This allows for more detailed artwork and more text.  Small sections as thin as 0.010″ (0.3 mm) can be made, but are not recommended as they don’t always fill with wax properly.

Polished Silver is the most requested material for signet rings, giving fine details at a reasonable cost without concern for tea staining (though some people do have a reaction to silver). It also has a very short production time. Bronze and brass give the same level of detail to seals at a lower cost than silver, but production time is much longer and they have the same risk of tea staining as Stainless Steel. Gold or rhodium plating is available on Polished Brass.

Gold and Platinum have a very high cost per cubic centimeter – please DO NOT order these materials through the Shapeways template, as a change in ring size can have a big price impact. Please email to request a quote.

These are all more guidelines than rules. Thanks to the flexibility of 3D printing and experience with over 80 unique seal designs, I’m constantly surprising myself with what I can get away with.  You will always get a proof sheet emailed to you before the design is committed to production, showing a rendering of exactly what it will look like.

Please note that all delivery times assume domestic (USA) shipping – international post and customs can cause unpredictable delays!  Also, with any product being designed for the first time, there is always the possibility of unexpected delays in production.  The best defense against this is to order early.

Using your Wax Seal (VIDEO)

If you’ve ever said (or heard somebody say), “A wax seal looks cool, but how do I do that?”, this is your answer.  Learn what tools and products you will need, how to use them, and where to get them.

We’d love to hear your comments and questions – what else do you want to know?  Any ideas for future videos?

Special thanks to Karma Pictures for help with videography and editing.

Designing the perfect Easter Egg seal

TL,DR version: I’ve made a new wax seal design, an Easter Egg! This is specifically designed to visually pop up out of the page as if it were in the shape of an egg, adding a distinctive flair to all things Easter related.

Selling high end sweets for the holiday, or dressing up as the Easter Bunny?  This is the exclamation point you want on your packaging or marketing materials.  Who else has that?  Or maybe this is just your favorite holiday, or you think the perspective trick is just that good…
Maybe by now you just want me to shut up and take your money.  If not, continue reading as I geek out on 3D geometry… Continue reading

Graduations and Father’s Day

In honor of Graduation season, we now have available a Mortarboard Seal:

This will add class and distinction to any graduation party invitations, especially if used with sealing wax in the school’s colors!  Order now, as Shapeways can take up to 12 business days to make and ship your order.

Also, Father’s Day is coming up! What better for the man who has everything than a custom wax seal?  For a limited time we have a special offer: a steel seal with two letter monogram and 4 sticks of sealing wax for only $99 (a $140 value).  Order by Sunday (5/26/2013) to guarantee delivery by Father’s Day!*  For those who wait too long, seals and wax ordered through our Etsy Store usually arrive in about 5 business days (shipping within the USA).


*Special offer only available via email or our Contact page.  Tax and shipping not included.

Long Island Beltaine Festival and New Seal

This Saturday, May 4, 2013 we will have a table at the Long Island Beltaine Festival. We will have a full range of seals and wax available for purchase, or you can make a custom order on the spot.  Come visit for free demonstrations and samples!  This is an open event, recommended donation for admission is only $5, $4 if you bring a nonperishable food donation to Long Island Cares.

We also have a new seal available – the Unitarian Universalist Chalice.  This particular model is based on the Chalice adopted by the  Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington (UUFH), which incidentally will be our host for the Beltaine Festival.  The prototype has already been sold, but we can always make more with the push of a button.

Signet Ring Co-Creators and Huntington Community Fest

Our Shapeways Store has been newly updated so that all our rings are now Co-Creator Templates.  This means that you can specify your ring size and order immediately, instead of sending a message requesting the model in a different size. This should make the ordering process much faster and easier.

Also, the Huntington Community Fest is coming up March 23 10AM-4PM in the northwest corner of the Huntington LIRR station parking lot.  The main event takes place inside a huge, heated tent, so don’t worry about the cold.  There will be food, festivities, live music, community organizations, and of course plenty of vendors including yours truly.  Everything you see in our Etsy Store will be available for purchase, including seals and sealing wax, buy on site to avoid paying shipping charges. Special deals are available for custom rings paid for at the show!

In addition to greenbacks and Island Hours, payment will also be accepted in junk silver. This is silver coin valued for its weight in silver, not for collectable or artistic value.  The easiest source for this is US dimes or quarters dated 1964 or earlier – they are solid 90% silver and have no copper colored stripe in the edge.

Island Hours

We will now accept Island Hours as partial payment, up to 50%.  This is a new, local currency for Long Island based on each Hour being worth one hour of unskilled labor, currently about $10. So why use Island Hours instead of FRNs (Federal Reserve Notes/greenbacks)?

  • Free advertising – your business will be added to the directory and people who have Hours to spend will be more likely to do business with you.
  • Hours stay local, because big box retailers who send most of their value to shareholders out of state won’t join in.  This is money that recirculates over and over again in the local economy, which helps small businesses. Ithaca, NY has been doing this for decades.
  • The intrinsic value of a person’s time doesn’t go down, though an inflated dollar might. If inflation on the dollar gets to high, the exchange rate to Hours can be adjusted.

Eventually, it will be possible to get a loan from Island Hours at 0% interest.  This will require all the same planning and creditworthyness of a bank loan, because it does need to be repaid.  So for example you are a vendor and looking to build an extension on your home to grow the business, if you can find a local construction company that will take Hours, you could get a 0% interest loan to help pay the contractor, then when people come to your business and pay in Hours you can use that to pay back the loan at 0% interest.  We need them to get a lot more popular before that can become viable.

The easiest way to get Island Hours is, if you are on Long Island and have a business providing goods or services, by signing up online and promising to accept Hours as at least partial payment, you will be issued some (currently 20 hours, a $200 value). This amount will likely go down in the future, to give incentive to get in early.  Then once people start buying things from you in Hours, you get them from customers.

You can also find someone who has lots of Hours and is willing to trade them to you for FRNs, or if your employer participates you can ask for part of your paycheck to be issued in Hours.  If you do sign up as a vendor, please tell them Harry from Lightbringer Designs sent you.  There is a referral program so once you are in you can earn more hours by getting others to join.

As more vendors accept Island Hours, their practical value increases as you can buy more things with them.

Now on Etsy!

Lightbringer Designs has just created an Etsy Store! Items in stock and ready to ship are listed there, along with our premium sealing wax.  Domestic orders on this store by the end of this week (12/15/12) should arrive by Christmas.

Listing for the wax is a bit tricky – they won’t let us list separate quantities for different colors of sealing wax, so if you can’t order what you want easily there, just use the Contact Page to tell us what you want and we can send a bill on PayPal.

Also, in honor of Chanukah, the Star of David Wax Seal is on special – $49.99 ($10 savings).  This deal only lasts 8 nights!