If like me you have been trying to cut down on the amount of plastic you use in your household, one quick and easy way to do this is to STOP using plastic wrap. Instead of using this film to cover part used food in the fridge I often use a plate or a saucer to cover the bowl. however this isn’t always as secure as I would like. Also some foods need to be individually wrapped rather than just covered and sandwiches need to be transported to work/school. So I vowed to throw away the cling film (literally) and look for a more Eco friendly alternative. What did I find…..BEESWAX WRAPS.
Beeswax wraps are made from 100% cotton fabric and beeswax; that’s it, nothing else is needed! You can add an oil and a resin if you choose to, but you don’t have to. After some experimentation I decided to add some coconut oil to the mix for suppleness, but I have also left it out too. Some recipes call for resin (usually pine) but I have never used it. I like to keep things as simple as I can.
If like me you are looking for an alternative way to reduce your use of plastics, have a go at making your own BEESWAX WRAPS; you wont believe how easy they are to make.
How to Make Beeswax Wraps at Home
26g (1 oz) beeswax (can be bought online)
1tsp coconut oil or almond or jojoba oil (optional)
1 square of light, 100% light cotton fabric 30x30cm
An old iron
An old ironing board cover or tea towels
Pinking shears (ordinary scissors will work too)
Grease proof paper or parchment
Paintbrush or stiff spatula
Button, needle, thread, cord (Optional)
Measure and cut your fabric to the size required:
You can make them as big or small as you like depending on what you want to use them for.
I make 30cm x 30cm square for sandwiches, 25cm diameter for bowls 15cm diameter for jars, cups and glasses.
Prepare work surface for ironing:
As you are going to be melting wax you want to protect the surfaces you are working on as much as possible. I use an old iron and ironing board cover on top of several sheets of newspaper but thick tea towels would work as well.
Prepare the beeswax:
You can use any beeswax you have such as rendered cappings, beeswax sheet cut offs, old broken beeswax candles or commercial beeswax pellets. Using a course grater, grate the wax finely. I grate about 26g at a time and find this is enough to make several wraps.
Prepare cotton for beeswax infusion:
All preparations ready you are now ready to infuse the cotton with beeswax (and oil of choice if you have chosen to use it.) Heat the iron to its lowest setting. Put one of your pieces of fabric onto the already prepared piece of grease proof paper. Sprinkle the grated beeswax thinly over the surface of the cotton taking the beeswax right to the edges. Dot or drip the oil sparingly over the fabric too.
Cover the fabric, beeswax and oil (if using) with grease proof paper. Working from the centre, melt the wax slowly until it melts into the fabric. Carefully iron over the surface moving the wax over the fabric. Be careful not to push the melted wax out of the sides of the grease proof paper.
Removing and drying the beeswax wrap:
Carefully peel the grease proof paper off of the fabric. The cotton should be fully soaked in beeswax now. Before lifting the fabric from the greaseproof the excess wax may need to be scaped off both sides. If it is not evenly coated you can add more wax and re iron at this stage. Either way you will need to work quickly as the beeswax will begin to harden almost immediately. Hang the wrap somewhere to set/dry.
Turn Beeswax Wrap into a Sandwich Wrap:
Add buttons and cord to secure Beeswax wrap when used to wrap sandwiches.
Instructions for use and care of Beeswax Wraps:
Beeswax Wraps are ideal to wrap bread, cake, cookies, cheese, sandwiches, pitta breads and wraps as an alternative to using cling film or silver foil. They can also be used as an alternative to cling film to cover bowls used to store leftover food items in the fridge. However do not use use your beeswax wraps to wrap meat products as the beeswax wraps cannot be washed in water hot enough to kill any bacteria that might have infected the fabric.
After Care for your Beeswax Wrap:
Wash in cool water with a mild soap. Do not put in the washing machine. This coating should last 6-12 months of regular use. If you notice it is starting to lose its stick, place in a medium oven on a foil lined tray for 5-8 minutes to re-distribute the wax. It will eventually need a proper re-coat of the wax mixture.
To use: simply place food in centre of wrap and fold to cover or place over container using warmth of your hand to mould into place.
To clean: Wash with cold water and mild soap, rinse and air dry.
To restore: Place in a medium oven on a foil lined tray for 5-8 minutes to distribute wax.
And when revival is no longer possible, don’t send it to landfill, you can wrap it around pieces of kindling and use it as a natural fire starter, (even in your smoker)! Or, simply cut it up into strips and add these strips to a composter to compost it. Both ways it will go back into the earth instead of staying on top of it.
Beeswax Wraps can be used out and about as well as around the house. For me, using them is all about replacing single use plastic wrap. What will you use yours for? You can find nifty ways to use yours here.