ABOUT BEESWAX WRAPS
WHAT ARE THEY?
Essentially, Beeswax Wraps are material dipped in beeswax which can be reused infinite times. They’re a sustainable alternative to plastic cling wrap that have many uses. They are as varied as people depending on size, material, ingredients, methodology etc.
HOW DO YOU USE THEM?
Use the heat from your hands to shape them and form a seal.
WHY WOULD YOU MAKE THEM?
To get the right size/shape
Get the look you like (material pattern or writing on material)
To save money
To make for gifts
To use up materials/ingredients that you have at hand
WHY WOULD YOU BUY THEM?
Save time and energy
Know it’s a tried and tested recipe
Support local small businesses
Cover food in a bowl or on a plate, or liquid in a cup
Create a pouch to carry food or hold flower stems
Wrap sandwiches (can freeze too – just don’t unfold until defrosted)
Cover cut ends of fruit/veg
Keep fruit and veggies fresh + cheese
Create a makeshift bowl (great drinking bowl for dogs when out and about)
Wrap a loaf of bread
Keep your bowl stable whilst mixing
Take home leftovers when out for dinner
Use for wrapping paper for a double bonus present
Use for toothbrush and soap travel accessories
Keep in your zero waste kit to wrap dirty cutlery, plates, cups when you’re out and about
Use as a grip to help open jars
Use as a makeshift plate eg. take them to the bakery to get your individual cakes
Create a funnel for decanting dry goods
Line fridge shelves or containers for easy cleaning
Plus many more!
MAKING BEESWAX WRAPS
Use 100% cotton material (or other natural fibers) – thinner fabric is best that has no stretch. Spotlight sells a range of Cloud 9 Organic cotton, which I recommend. You can also upcycle material from your belongings or check op shops for second-hand fabrics.
Wash fabric before turning into wraps. I’ve found ironing the material before creating wraps produces a thinner result than non ironed fabric.
Check to make sure your material doesn’t bleed (colour run) before using the dip technique.
You can cut material with pinking shears (to help stop edges fraying), but straight cut scissors also work.
The simplest way to make wraps is to use beeswax only, however you may want to add some oil for pliability, or Gum Rosin (aka Pine Resin) for stickiness. If using oil, I recommend using Jojoba due to its stable shelf life, although you can also try Coconut Oil or Olive Oil.
You can use any one of the following combinations when making your wraps:
- Beeswax Only
- Beeswax + Oil
- Beeswax + Resin
- Beeswax + Oil + Resin
As a general rule I’ve found using no more than 1% oil to be sufficient. The amount of resin used is subjective to how sticky people prefer their wraps.
Where to Purchase Ingredients
Range Products (Welshpool)
Local Bulk Food Stores
I’ve found that 100g of beeswax mixture is enough to cover ½ meter of material (1120mm long).
Different techniques will give you different results of thickness (eg ironing = thin wraps, dipping = thick wraps). I’ve personally found thicker wraps to work better than thinner wraps.
Essentially you need to heat up the beeswax to transfer it to the material (melting points = beeswax 62-64C; gum rosin 70-80C). This can be done in any of the following ways, choose which one will work best for you given what you already have available at home:
- Iron – grate and iron beeswax between pieces of parchment paper.
- Oven – place material on an oven tray and grate or paint beeswax onto material – place in the oven for a few minutes at 100C until melted.
- Paint – melt beeswax in a double boiler and paint onto material. You may need to follow up with ironing or put in the oven to get a well covered smooth result.
- Electric Fry Pan (my preferred method) – dip your material into melted beeswax. Keep the temperature on low-medium heat.
- Water Bath – melt beeswax on the stovetop in a double boiler and dip or paint the mixture onto the material.
- Microwave – (I’ve not personally used this method as I don’t own a microwave) place material on a microwave-safe plate, grate or paint beeswax mixture onto material and melt in microwave
- Sandwich Press – place grated beeswax between folded material and press until melted
Once the beeswax is melted onto the material, pick up the material by the corners (or use tongs) and hold in the air until dry and dripping has stopped. I’ve found it’s best to let your wraps sit for 24 hours before use, I lay mine on a clothes horse air dryer overnight.
You can remove excess wax by remelting it using boiling water, a hairdryer, or placing equipment in the oven. Simply melt the wax and remove melted wax with rags or paper towels. These can then be used as fire starters in winter.
Excess resin can be removed from your hands by using oil.
CARE & MAINTENANCE
Clean your wraps the same as you would a countertop – wipe with a damp cloth. Don’t use hot water as it will melt the wax but you can clean in warm dishwashing water.
You can store your wraps flat, folded or rolled up and displayed on your countertop.
To reinvigorate your wraps simply remelt them and add more beeswax coating as necessary.
Use your wraps for meat or anything that would require hot water to wash and sanitise (eg meat)
Use in the microwave
Put in the dishwasher
Once your wraps are at the end of their life, you can return them to the Earth by feeding them to your worm farm or compost. They also make great fire-starters.
- Beeswax wraps can be frozen, simply allow them to defrost for a couple of minutes before unfolding.
- Keep windows and doors closed whilst making wraps as bees are attracted to the melted beeswax.
- If you make up a big batch of a particular wax recipe you love, you can use a silicone ice cube mould to create smaller batches for future use – these can be grated or remelted when wanting to use.
- You can make Vegan wraps by using candelilla or soy wax instead of beeswax (however I’ve never tried either of these replacements and have only experimented with using beeswax).