Sometimes fake is better

Remember the notepads? The last time you saw them they were in an impressive tall stack and I was feeling pretty chuffed about them.

But when the time came to give them as holiday gifts they suddenly looked a little . . . naked. Clearly, some nifty packaging was in order. And now that the last of the Christmas gifts have been given out (sometime in late January), I can show you how I dressed them up.

At the web site of the marvelous European Papers (no affiliation, just a happy repeat customer) I found faux sealing wax. Brilliant.

Not that there’s anything wrong with real sealing wax. I love it–but have you priced it lately? A whole baggie full of sticks of the faux stuff  is only a little more than just one or two sticks of traditional sealing wax.

I’d better come clean right now: faux sealing wax is . . . hot glue sticks. Which some genius finally thought to make in different colors. You can see below the set-up for my dressing up the notepads to give away. Yes, that is a hot glue gun and yes, those are sticks of hot glue.  European Papers has them in a set of rich colors–burgundy, black, gold, deep green, etc. and also in single color sets–black, red, various metallics. I’ve also seen them on etsy in white and in some eye-popping colors.

So . . . the pictures tell the story. I got out my baggie of hot glue sticks (mostly black, though I’ve also done some in gold) and used the computer to print my identity on printer paper that I cut into strips.

Then I scouted around the house for things that make good stamps. I found a number of things, but these are the ones I’ve tried so far: a block of moveable type with my initial on it; the plastic cap from a carton of orange juice, which is molded to make a design of an orange cut in half; and–and this is my favorite–the flat bottom end of my x-acto knife. This is hard to see in the photo, but the end is quite plain, with only a faintly visible set of concentric circles in the center.

Heat your glue gun until the glue runs freely. Wrap your paper strip around your notepad (or whatever), overlap the ends and cut off any excess. Pipe a little blob of colored hot glue where the ends of the paper strip overlap, and impress the blob with your chosen improvised stamp.

Two tips: hold the stamp in place until the hot glue is set–45 seconds or a minute (depending on the size of your blob). Then wiggle the tool free gently–if you just jerk it free it may tear loose from the paper strip and you’ll have to start all over.

Once I got started, I wrapped many, many notepads in this way, and used the faux goodies to seal and decorate not a few holiday gifts. Don’t stop there, though–you could use it to decorate packages of edible goodies, make authentic looking document stamps, embellish handmade books or collages, or–here’s a thought–actually seal letters with it.

Run wild.



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