Give Plastic Wrap The Boot - DIY Beeswax Wraps

Updated: Jul 18, 2020


There is a move happening to reduce single use plastic in the home, and beeswax wraps are a sustainable alternative to plastic wrap and single use plastic.  Beeswax wraps help with reducing plastic pollution and food wastage, with beeswax wraps main use being food preservation. In short beeswax wraps help food stay fresh for longer.  Plastic wrap is not breathable so food can become hot inside and wilt.  Beeswax acts like a natural barrier similar to how the skin of a fruit protects the flesh inside, and allows the food to breath so it stays fresh for longer.


Before we get into the process of making our own beeswax wraps let go over some frequently asked questions.


So what are beeswax wraps?


A beeswax wrap is fabric (usually cotton)  which has been coated with beeswax (and possibly other ingredients). This makes the fabric mouldable, grippable and tacky. 


How long do beeswax wraps last?


They can last up to a year with proper care and regular usage.  The wrap will be at the end of its life when it has worn thin and has trouble sticking to itself.  You can then compost your old beeswax wrap.


How do you care for beeswax wraps?


You can wash your beeswax wrap like a plate.  But in cold water (hot water will melt the beeswax) with mild detergent and a dishcloth.  The cold water will stiffen the beeswax making it a flat surface to wash like you would normal dishes.  Then give them plenty of time to air dry before using again.  Store flat and away from heat and direct sunlight.


How do you rejuvenate beeswax wraps?


It is possible to reset and refresh beeswax wraps by placing the wrap on an oven tray on top of some baking paper.  Have the oven down low around 50-70 degrees, and heat for 2-3 minutes or until you see the wax has become liquid and is dispersing over the fabric.  You need to rejuvenate the wrap every 1-3 months.


What can beeswax wraps be used for?


You can use your beeswax wraps to wrap or cover food.  Just about anything that you would use plastic wrap for.  Examples of foods include cheese, fruit, vegetables, bread and other baked goods.  Unfortunately meat can not be kept in beeswax wrap and they can’t be washed in hot water to fully sanitize them.  They are also not leak proof so can not also hold liquid.


Now for the DIY part


There are plenty of recipes for making your own beeswax wraps and a variety of methods to distribute the wax onto the fabric.  We have chosen to go for a simple beeswax and cotton fabric only recipe, using a household iron.  The amount of beeswax you need will depend on how much fabric you need to cover, about 1 -2 tbs packed grated beeswax for 30 x 30cm.


Here are the things you will need:


Cotton fabric

Beeswax

Fabric pens or pencil 

Scissors or pinking shears

Baking paper

Old towel

Iron

Cooling rack



Here is one way you can make your own beeswax wrap.


First of all you are going to need some beeswax, you can always order some of our premium quality beeswax made by Australian bees from our store here.  It took around 100g of beeswax to cover 2 fat quarters of cotton fabric.


We thought it would be appropriate to have some bee prints on our cotton fabric so we ordered:


Bundle of love by Northcott

You can get it off eBay here


And 


Bee Quilting Fabric 

You can get it off eBay here


But any fine weave cotton fabric is fine.  You may have an old sheet or shirt with a cute print you want to reuse and give another life to.  


As you can't see through beeswax wraps you may want to use fabrics that have the food item printed on them like bread to use for your baked goods and avocados to wrap your avocados.  Another way to help identify what's inside is to use fabric pens to write on the fabric the food item it will be used for on it before the beeswax is added.  


You could also colour code your fabric for the type of food inside, like green for vegetables and orange for fruit. The beeswax will give a slightly yellow tint to the fabric, so just remember that when selecting your colours.


We then pre washed and dried our fabric before giving it an iron in preparation for use.