Beeswax wraps are great. Fact. If you haven’t heard of them, they are essentially a replacement for certain one use plastics – you can use them instead of sandwich bags, cling film etc to transport food and snacks, as well as to cover bowls, jars and tins in the kitchen. The essence of them is, that fabric is impregnated with beeswax, and then the heat of your hands softens the wrap to allow it to fold around items.
It took until about a year ago, but I have become very conscious of trying to use less throwaway plastics in my every day life. These wraps are a fab alternative, and also make my lunchbox look way more exciting! This is a tutorial for how you can make your own, if you’re on a budget or looking for a special Christmas gift, but I’ve included details at the bottom of where you can buy them ready made – and a link to purchasing our kit, which contains everything you need!
Beeswax is naturally anti-bacterial, which makes it great for keeping food fresh. Wraps are breathable, washable, reusable – and compostable! Cling film, the single use plastic that beeswax wraps could replace, does not biodegrade and is around in our landfills for up to 500 years. Beeswax wraps can be used a few times a week for around a year before they need retiring. Have I convinced you yet?!
YOU WILL NEED:
- BEESWAX - Beeswax comes in a variety of shades; any are fine but the yellower ones may discolour lighted fabrics. You can definitely source local beeswax if you didn’t want to buy online – our next door neighbour Heima sell it if you’re in York!Let’s get started. You will need:
- FABRIC - Cotton is lightweight and breathable, which makes it perfect for making these wraps. You could use organic cotton if that’s your thing, pop in and see us to buy some of our lovely fat quarters, or use what you already have in the stash.
- OPTIONAL: Jojoba Oil. This one is a little harder to find; the jojoba oil can make the beeswax wraps more supple. It isn’t essential, but if you’re considering mass manufacturing for Christmas gifts, worth a look!
- AN IRON: I’m guessing most people have these anyway, but you’ll need to borrow one if not!
- ALSO: Greaseproof paper and a towel – you do NOT want to get that beeswax on your ironing board! I mean, it will wash out, but it’s an inconvenience you could do without, I’m sure (speaking, the voice of experience!)
And that’s it! Once you’ve acquired the above items and are all ready to go, warm up the iron, and follow the below processes:
- Cut the fabric to the size you want it for your wraps. As a guide, 20 x 20cm (small) will do for snacks and covering tins/jars, 25x25cm will generally work for sandwiches and 30x30cm and above can be useful for your larger food based items. Some people like to use pinking shears to create a crimped edge (helps the fabric not to fray!).
- Prepare your work surface/ironing board – lay an old/expendable towel down first, then a sheet of greaseproof paper, then your fabric.
- Sprinkle the beeswax over the fabric – if you have pellets, that’s super easy. If you have a bar, you’ll need to grate it first! I found about 8 – 10g of pellets works well for covering a sandwich sized wrap.
- If you’re adding Jojoba Oil, add it now - a few drops, sprinkled evenly around the fabric – Jojoba oil enables the wax to be more supple, so it can help when moulding the wrap around items, and can help for longevity. It isn’t essential.
- Put another sheet of greaseproof paper over the fabric/wax etc. It’s probably obvious but I will say it just in case – make sure the greaseproof (top and bottom sheet) is bigger than your fabric by a couple of inches, to make sure the wax doesn’t get onto your iron.
- Iron gently over the paper to melt the wax. Once melted (you’ll be able to see this through the paper usually) use the iron to distribute the wax properly – it helps to work in strokes going from the centre to the edges. You want the wax to cover the edges for maximum effectiveness, and to help seal edges to prevent fraying.
- Peel the top paper away, and carefully lift the wrap (warning: likely to be hot!) by one corner. Hang the wrap somewhere to dry – a clothes line or similar works perfectly. It won’t take long to dry, five or ten minutes, and you can start using it right away!
That’s literally all there is to making these!
Other things to know – you can hand wash your wraps in warm soapy water – easy peasy. Also if every couple of months you either re-iron them (in greaseproof) or pop them in an oven (on around 100 degrees) for a couple of minutes, it sort of re-sets the wax for you to use them good as new :)
If you fancy making them and want all the kit in a nice contained packet sent to your door, our beeswax wrap kits are available here – featuring pre-cut matching cotton fabrics, wax, oil, and printed instructions. If you’re convinced you need these in your life but don’t fancy making your own, there are some fabulous companies out there who sell these pre-done, so if you’re in the market for some ready made ones, check out our neighbour Heima online here – or keep an eye out for Bumble Wrap or Starfish Living appearing at York local fairs over Christmas!
Thanks for reading 😊