This is a small pair of hands designed for making handprint impressions in wax - a slightly whimsical seal for envelopes, or with your signature on the letter itself. Because of the inherent symmetry of the design you can use the upper face to align your print. Also, you effectively get two stamps in one.
The size of this seal is 19 mm tall (about ¾ of an inch) and about 16 mm wide.
How it was made
My son provided reference handprints, which I digitised and used as the basis for the design. I also studied many images of hands and handprints, to help get the contours right. The software used for the 3D modeling was shapeJS.
How to use
Sealing wax is widely, and quite cheaply, available online in the form of small sticks, either with or without a wick. It may also be available (albeit perhaps less easily and cheaply) in craft or gift shops in your area. Don't try to use normal candle wax.
Careful preparation is essential : ensure you are a safe distance away from flammable materials and have a flat, steady surface to work on with safe place to set down your hot wax stick. It is also wise not to do this underneath a fire alarm.
If you are using a wicked wax stick, light the wick, then hold it horizontally or tilted slightly downward, a few centimetres above the target. Wax will drip down.
Your objective now is to get the right amount of wax onto the paper. I have found through experimentation that this seal needs relatively little depth of wax - I only allow about 6 drips.
After enough wax is on the paper, blow out the wax stick. I have found it can be helpful to use the wax stick to stir the puddle a little and smooth it out. Then place it down safely.
Don't rush this step - you actually have a good few seconds - pick up the seal, align it and push it down vertically into position. Hold the seal in place for 10 seconds or so, then lift it back up vertically. The wax will still be hot and semi-liquid, so don't touch it yet - leave it alone for at least a minute.
At the end of the manufacturing process, Shapeways give the part a polish in tumbling media. Some of this polishing material may become lodged between the fingers, or the indentations of the palm. I strongly recommend that you closely scrutinise the seal before use, and clear out any pieces with a pin or similar implement. Any bits you miss may come out on the first use - If a stone does appear in a seal, allow it to cool and set; I found that it may then be carefully removed with a pin, and the seal will look fine.
I have also found that because of the spread fingers, this seal is more exacting to use than some others. If the wax is deep it juts out between the fingers unattractively. I strongly recommend making a test print or two to become familiar with the amount of wax required before commiting to the correspondance you have invested effort in.