Learning how to make beeswax wraps is not only a lot of fun, it is also an investment in a greener future. More and more we are looking for ways to reduce the need for single-use plastic. Beeswax wraps are a wonderful alternative to replace disposable cling wrap. There are several different recipes for making beeswax wraps. This one is my favorite – it is very simple and does not involve a lot of different materials.
DIY Beeswax Wraps
Making things to use in your home is not as hard as you may think. If you can melt beeswax and use a small paint brush – you are on the right track.
Beeswax wrappers have gained popularity for protecting food. They are a great resource for this but they can be used in other ways too. Almost anything that needs protection from moisture or dirt can be placed inside.
This is a very creative natural craft project. I mean – we are using raw beeswax and pine resin – you can’t get much more natural that that!
And, if you want to really get into your creative vibe – use different colors of cotton fabric to match your kitchen décor or that of a friend.
Many people are interested in making their own beeswax food wraps. In fact, there are so many recipes to consider that it can become a bit overwhelming. Which one is the best?
Ultimately you will need to experiment- because each recipe has various levels of “cling” depending on the exact ingredients used.
Those that have more cling may be a bit sticky in warm weather. You have to decide which qualities are most important to you and adjust the ingredient ratio from there.
- olive oil
- pine resin
- cotton cloth
Beeswax is available for purchase in many different forms. Wax pastilles or beeswax pellets are easy to measure and melt but they do cost more per ounce.
Raw wax in block form works very well. If you use wax from your own hives or buy from a beekeeper – make sure the beeswax is cleaned.
Because this wax comes from bees, it is a natural and renewable resource. And by taking advantage of its adhesive properties we can use beeswax to make other useful items for our homes.
Dried chunks of pine resin (pine rosin) are commonly used in making beeswax wraps. They are actual chunks of tree resin that have been cleaned and dried. You only need a small amount and they will store well for a long time.
Using Oils Instead of Resin for Wraps
In addition to a bit of olive oil, some recipes call for the use of jojoba or coconut oil instead of resins. This too can be a workable solution.
However, if too much oil is used in the recipe (and here again you have to experiment) problems can arise.
Sometimes the wrap fails to cling to the bowl and sometimes it leaves behind bits of coconut oil residue.
Cotton Cloth Pieces
Thin cotton usually gives the best results when making beeswax food wraps. Sheeting material or cotton quilting squares are the easiest pieces of fabric to work with. Some people buy organic cotton fabric.
Your cloth squares should be washed and dried prior to beginning. They can be cut to any size but 10” – 12” is most common. You may wish to make different sizes to accommodate various bowl sizes.
If you have special scissors called pinking shears, these will give your cloth a sassy edging and reduce fraying. But, regular scissor cuts are okay.
Expert Tips & Wax Wrap Tweaks
The process to make beeswax wraps sounds so simple – and it is to a degree. When I made my first ones, I thought why not just brush the wax on my cloth.
Well, that didn’t work well. After the wax cools, it cracked when I shaped the material.
This recipe includes pine resin (though you can use other types of resin) and olive oil. In my experience, reusable wrap recipes with resin have the highest rate of success.
Using a double boiler is the safest way to melt beeswax. It can become overheated and cause a fire.
If you choose to use the microwave, use short bursts of time and do not leave it unattended. Otherwise, you may be left with a big mess to clean up.
Finding the best beeswax wrap recipe for your climate may require just a bit of experimentation too. Humidity and temperatures can affect how well the end product works.
If you live where it is hot and humid, you may need a bit more oil or resin. People in cold climates may use less. It is really a matter of personal preference after you obtain a workable product.
Here is a tip to keep in mind when you are making your first beeswax wraps. Don’t make a lot of them on your first attempt. The creation process is fun. Just be prepared for a bit of recipe tweaking.
Ways to Use Reusable Beeswax Wraps
Once the cloth has cooled, it is ready to use. Place it on top of a bowl, and gently form a seal by pressing down around the edge.
This forms a natural seal much like cling wrap or regular plastic wrap. Work slowly as the heat of your hand helps soften the wax.
Naturally, not every food storage task is suitable for these reusable wraps. Do not use them for meats, raw or cooked, or things that are gooey.
You can shape them into snack bags by sewing on a button. Or use them to wrap a sandwich or a block of cheese.
A favorite way to use them in the kitchen is as simple bowl covers. They stay very clean, and yet keep dust and (nosy cat noses) out of things I have left on the counter.
They can be gently cleaned with a damp cloth, cold water and mild dish soap. But, if you wash them regularly, you will have to reapply your wax mixture sooner. Yes, you can refresh older ones. Don’t use hot water to clean your homemade wraps.
Homemade Items Make Special Gifts
Make some homemade beeswax wraps for gifts using material related to the recipient’s interests. For teachers, choose cloth with school designs.
If you have a favorite music instructor, cloth with notes would be cool. Use fabric with bees and make a very, special bee gift for a new beekeeper.
Now, if you have a bit of wax left over… here are a couple of really neat small projects.
Or another cool idea for the kitchen – try some beeswax spoon butter to use for rejuvenating your wooden wear. It makes great inexpensive gifts too. A new wood spoon set and a jar of homemade spoon butter – yes please!
Using wax along to make food wraps will work to a degree-but it is not ideal. You will have cracking when actually using them on anything. Also, it will be rather stiff when cool and not as pliable.
The most common size for DIY wraps is 10″ – 12″ square – but of course you can make them any size you wish.
While these natural wraps are a wonderful addition to the kitchen, they are not without some challenges.
After a while, (how long depends on many factors), they will need to be replenished.
This can be as simple as reapplying the beeswax, resin mixture but it is a maintenance task to consider.
Beeswax Wraps Recipe Tutorial
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- aluminum foil
- baking sheet pan
- small paint brush
- Measure beeswax by weight and place in a double boiler insert. I always use weight (by grams) to measure materials when using my beeswax recipes. You may purchase beeswax pastilles. They are easy to work with and measure.However, if you buy a block of raw wax from an area beekeeper, it is easy to break into chunks as well.
- Measure and grind pine resin crystals. Resin helps make the cloths slightly sticky. If they end up being “stickier” than you prefer, use less resin next time.The chunks of resin will melt in the beeswax but very slowly. For faster melting, wrap the pine resin chunks in a cloth and beat them with a hammer.This will reduce the resin to powder form for faster melting. Pour resin into the melting beeswax and stir well.
- Now we are ready to add a bit of oil. I use Olive Oil because that is what I have on hand. Other crafters enjoy using Jojoba oil or even coconut oil. Measure and pour the oil into the melting pot. Keep the heat at a medium to low level and continue to slowly heat the mixture until everything is liquid. Stir well as the pine resin will tend to clump at the bottom. When all is melted and mixed well, it is time for the next step.
- Preheat your oven to 175 ° F.Line a flat baking sheet pan or cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place a cloth square on the pan and place in the oven for 2 minutes.Warming the cloth helps it absorb the melted beeswax mixture. The heat of the pan prevents the wax from cooling too quickly. After 2 minutes, remove from oven – using an oven mitten.
- Brush Beeswax Mixture on ClothPlace the warm pan on a heat safe surface that you have covered with aluminum foil. (for easy clean up).Use your brush to paint a light coat of your recipe on the cloth. Do not put too much, we only want just enough to coat the surface. Only paint one side.
- Place your pan (and cloth) back in the oven for 4 minutes. Then, remove and carefully lift up the edge of the cloth.Does it look wet or dark on the back? If not, lightly brush more of your mixture on the spots that look dry and place back in the oven for a minute or two.If the back of the cloth looks damp and saturated, it has enough wax. Using tongs or your fingers if not too hot, lift the cloth straight up by 2 corners.Gently fan it in the air for a minute or two. The beeswax will set quickly. Then you can lay the beeswax wrap down flat on a piece of aluminum foil to allow it to cool.