Beeswax wraps have become increasingly popular in the past two years as a clever natural alternative to wasteful plastic cling wraps. While you can buy them ready-made (we carry both the original beeswax wraps from Abeego and the vegan alternatives from Earthology), making your own is surprisingly easy.
A few weeks ago, I volunteered to organize a DIY workshop at the store. I had never made my own beeswax wraps before, but had read a few blogs and felt confident that I could master the science. I was looking forward to testing various formulas and, after a few trials and errors, coming up with THE perfect beeswax wrap! Well… no plot twist here, that’s exactly what happened! It turned out that making my own beeswax wraps was easy and fun. So for those who couldn’t attend the workshop, or for those who did but were too far back, here are the tips of a newly minted beeswax wrap expert (me :)).
- Fabric squares made of natural material (cotton or a mix of cotton and hemp; stay away from synthetic fibers – they can’t stand heat). Typical dimensions for wraps are small (7 x 7 inches), medium (10 x 10 inches) and large (13 x 13 inches) – but it’s really up to you, you can cut any shape and size you want.
- A pair of pinking shears. You can cut your fabric with straight scissors but I like the pinking shears because they prevent the fabric from unraveling.
- A double boiler. In my frugal world, that’s a small pot in a bigger pot with water in between.
- A baking tray
- Parchment paper
- A spoon or spatula
A beeswax wrap is a piece of fabric that is covered with a thin layer of beeswax, oil and resin. While the combination of these three ingredients will produce the best wrap in terms of smoothness, durability and stickiness, you can absolutely make beeswax wrap with beeswax alone – see the “basic recipe” below. Beeswax can be bought as beads or as a bloc that you will grate before using it. The preferred oil to do beeswax wraps is jojoba oil. It is very shelf-stable (it won’t go rancid like cooking oils), has a very neutral scent and a high smoke point (190 °C). Adding oil to the recipe will give your wrap smoothness and prevent cracking of the beeswax. A bit like moisturizing a dry skin! Resin is what provides the stickiness and will make your wrap cling on a bowl. I used pine resin (other name: rosin resin). All ingredients can be bought in bulk at our store or in the DIY section of our online store.
Basic beeswax wrap recipe:
This is the simplest recipe you can find, made with beeswax alone. Preheat the oven to 300 °F. Put parchment paper on the oven tray and a pre-cut piece of fabric on top. Sprinkle with beeswax. Put in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove. Lift two corners of the fabric and let the excess wax drip onto the parchment paper. Hang to dry (I have a pinboard in my kitchen and just pinned it there). This method has the advantage of being very quick, but you will notice that the wrap will wear and crack more easily and lack stickiness.
Winning beeswax wrap recipe:
After testing a few variants, this turned out to be my favourite formula. To do a set of 3 wraps (one small and two medium), I used 50 grams of beeswax beads, 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil and 10 grams of resin. Fill the bigger pot with an inch or two of water and make it boil, put the beeswax beads, resin and oil into the small pot and the small pot into the large pot. Let it slowly melt, stirring occasionally with the spatula. The beads will melt first, the resin takes a little longer but will ultimately blend in. Preheat the oven to 300 °F. Put parchment paper on the oven tray and your pre-cut piece of fabric on top. Pour the hot mixture on the fabric and spread with the spoon or spatula. It will solidify pretty quickly and might not be perfectly even but that’s OK, the heat in the oven will spread it homogeneously over the fabric. Put in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove. Lift two corners of the fabric and let the excess drip onto the parchment paper. Hang to dry.
You might find the wrap a bit too sticky at the beginning, with residue of resin staying on your hands when you squeeze it. Just wash the wrap a few times with cold water and a mild soap (I use the liquid Castile soap from the store) and it will be great.
Time to clean up. Fold the parchment paper and put it in the compost. Clean your pot and utensils by wiping them first when the mixture is still liquid (I used toilet paper that I threw in the compost afterwards), then wash with hot water and soap.
You are now a true beeswax wrap expert! 🙂
January 21, 2020 UPDATE
Want to step up your beeswax game? You can make snack and sandwich bags with beeswax wraps. They are particularly useful when you carry snacks that are greasy (roasted nuts) or contain wet food (sliced tomato and cucumber for example). Fabric bags would have stains that are hard to clean, whereas beeswax bags can just be rinsed out with cold water. To make a snack bag with a flat bottom, make a rectangular piece of beeswax wrap and cut a shape following the sewing pattern below. Sow where indicated on the pattern using the zig zag stitch on your sewing machine.