Thinking of creating your own homemade beeswax wraps? Not sure how hard it is? You can easily make these at home by using a sandwich press, an iron, an oven or a simple brush and pot method. Here is my guide on how to make beeswax wraps at home.
How to make beeswax wraps at home?
The basic requirements for making beeswax wraps are a quantity of beeswax, a length of cloth and a method of melting the beeswax into the cloth. Such methods can include using an oven, an iron, a sandwich press or a pot and brush.
Some people like to add coconut, jojoba, or other oil with the wax, but if you don’t have these, you can still make them without.
What are beeswax wraps used for?
Beeswax wraps replace the need for plastic wrap (AKA cling wrap, cling film, Saron wrap), a thin plastic film used to seal food items in containers or wrap food items to keep them fresh.
Most plastic food wrap today is made of polyethylene. But there is still some made of polyvinyl chloride types, PVDC and PVC, which is known to release a highly toxic chemical called dioxin (though the amount from your plastic wrap is not likely to kill you).
By using beeswax wraps, you are helping to reduce plastic pollution, as The Sticky Problem of Plastic Wrap highlights.
A big problem with plastic food wrap is that it is a single-use item and one that is difficult to recycle.
It’s better, then, to use beeswax wraps to cover or wrap your lunches, leftovers, tidbits or other food items in place of the normal plastic food wrap. The other good thing about beeswax wraps is that there are no chemicals to off-gas or leach into your food when using these.
No more cling wrap for me, I’ve made sets of beeswax wraps for myself and for friends and relatives.
I’ve found them great in these ways:
- Keeping insects out of glass jumblers of drinks
- Wrapping around opened cans of food
- Covering fresh foods for freshness and from insects when outdoors
- Wrapping sandwiches for lunch
At times, I secure the wrapping with an elastic band for extra hold.
What fabric to use for beeswax wraps?
Cotton works better than synthetic types for making beeswax wraps. I found rayon or other synthetic type materials do not hold enough beeswax to make them sticky and pliable enough.
Where to buy the beeswax?
There may be a local beekeeper from who you can get beeswax. You may need to shop around for price and quality. And, you want at least food grade beeswax. I found that a supplier of good quality beeswax online that was cheaper than one local beekeeper. But, I suggest you suss out your local markets as you may find a gem there.
The beeswax should be free of toxins. So you want a source that doesn’t use pesticides or chemicals since the whole purpose is to avoid the toxins in plastic wrapping.
I bought mine in a block, which I then had to grate. This is a tad time-consuming and somewhat messy. If I were to choose again, I would look to buy pellets for the convenience that it offers. Though, expect to pay more for this convenience.
If you are looking to buy beeswax pellets, you can get a popular organic brand by Sky Organics at Amazon — See details.
Some people like to add oils to the beeswax, and so you’ll need to purchase these if you choose to incorporate them into the mixture.
How to make beeswax wraps with oven
Another approach that is popular is with melting the beeswax on the cloth in a warm oven.
This video shows you how to make beeswax wraps using an oven:
How to make beeswax wraps without oven
Not everyone has an oven or likes to use an oven to make beeswax wraps. No fear, there are other ways to make your wraps, including using an iron and a sandwich press. Read on…
How to make beeswax wraps using an iron
I make mine using an iron, as follows:
- Grate enough beeswax to cover the (size and shape of the) chosen cloth in melted wax. Or alternatively, gather enough beeswax pellets.
- Cover the ironing board with a blanket or other cloth to protect it from wax.
- Cut two sheets of baking paper – both a few of inches larger all round than the size of the chosen cloth.
- Check that the sheets are enough so that the melted wax is not likely to leak onto the ironing board.
- Place the cloth between the layers of baking paper. This is to avoid ruining the iron and ironing board.
- Lift the top layer of baking paper and sprinkle the grated beeswax over the cloth.
- With the top baking paper overlayed, iron the beeswax into the cloth making sure to completely coat the cloth (start from the middle and work out to the edge. Add small amounts near the edge and in spots where needed.)
- Finally, hang the waxed cloths to dry.
Once dry they are ready to use. They will get more pliable with a few uses, so don’t be too worried if they feel stiff at first.
Make your own beeswax wrap using a sandwich press
This video shows how it is done using a sandwich press:
I have tried a sandwich press approach as well and it works. But for me, I like more control and so I stick with the ironing method. It’s purely a personal preference.
Possibly because living in the tropics means the wraps stay pliable without adding the oils. And, the warm temperatures seemed to make the wraps sticky with the oil added. The oil may be something you need to add if you live in colder climates.
How to use beeswax wraps
To use beeswax wraps you simply cover the item you wish to seal and then place your hands to deliver the warmth where it is needed to mould the waxed wrap into place.
How to clean beeswax wraps
I simple hand wash mine gently in soapy water and hang them somewhere inside to allow them to dry. They don’t take long to dry. Avoid harsh scrubbing unless you don’t mind having to re-wax them earlier than needed.
Where to buy beeswax wraps
By the way, these make great gifts for the environmentally conscious. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to try making these yourself, you can buy the beeswax wraps ready-made at reasonable prices. You’ll find where to buy these in my article on gifts for nature lovers.
If you are in Australia — You can find beeswax wraps at reasonable prices at Biome or check out the great patterns in these wraps at Amazon.com.au.
Elsewhere, check out Life Without Plastic.
National Geographic: The Sticky Problem of Plastic Wrap | NIH: What is vinyl chloride?