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DIY beeswax wraps – How to make beeswax wraps
Reusable beeswax wraps are used for storing food and keeping it fresh. It is a great plastic-free alternative to clingfilm and disposable bags and can also sometimes be used instead of tinfoil. What make reusable wax wraps perfect for storing food is not only that you can use them again and again and that they help cut down on single use plastics, but also that the food keeps much better. Beeswax wraps are breathable and unlike clingfilm and plastic bags, they won’t make your sandwiches soggy or your cheese sweat! Find out how to make your own beeswax wraps at home with this easy-to-follow guide to DIY Beeswax wraps.
Reusable beeswax wraps have many uses
Beeswax wraps have lots of uses and can be used to:
DIY beeswax wraps ingredients
Making your own beeswax wraps at home is fairly straight forward, although it can get a little messy if you’re not careful. You do not need any specialist equipment or fancy DIY kits that can sometimes cost more than it would cost to buy the wraps ready-made. The whole idea with making your own beeswax wraps is to cut down on the costs, use stuff you have already and enjoy the process of making something useful. They are great to use yourself or to give away as gifts to friends and family to try to encourage them to create less plastic waste and live more eco-friendly.
When making your own beeswax wraps, you can either use the ingredients to make up your own wax mixture, or you can by rewax-bars which contain all the ingredients. These are the ingredients used in the mixture:
100% Pure beeswax
Pure beeswax is an ideal material to use with food to help keep it fresh for longer. Beeswax has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It is also a natural material and safe to use in connection with food. Beeswax creates a waterproof yet breathable coating on the beeswax wrap. See our pure beeswax bars here.
The beeswax used in the wrap must be pure and clean. Any impurities will show up in the fabric and also may spoil the efficiency of your wrap. If you want to learn more about beeswax, its many uses and how bees make it, you will find more information in this blog: Beeswax – how do bees make it?
Jojoba Oil or other oil with a long shelf life
Jojoba oil is used to make the wrap pliable. If you were to use only beeswax, the wrap would be stiff and crack. You can use any oil with long shelf life. Oils with short shelf life may go off or go rancid before the wrap has expired. Rapeseed oil and olive oil have a shelf life of up to two years, and oils such as jojoba and fractionated coconut have a shelf life of three years or more.
You can use any of these oils, but I prefer using Organic Jojoba oil. It is pricey, but apart from the long shelf life, it also has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. This makes it ideal to use when making your own DIY beeswax wraps. Jojoba oil is also great for homemade lip balms and creams. See this easy three ingredient recipe for my Beekeeper’s salve.
Pine resin (also known as rosin or colophony) adds stickiness to the wrap. Resin is a natural product that comes from the sap of coniferous trees. It is used in a lot of different applications in food and medical preparations and coatings as well as in the manufacturing of cosmetics, adhesives and coatings for musical instruments etc. Some people are sensitive to colophony and prefer to use wraps without it. If you are making up your own beeswax mixture, you can just leave out the resin. The resulting wrap will just be a little less sticky but still perfectly good to use.
Cotton fabric is best to use for DIY beeswax wraps. It should be clean, not too thick and tightly woven. Cotton poplin is great, but other cottons work well too. Anything similar to the material of a shirt or a cotton sheet is perfect. Just make sure it is 100% cotton and is not a stretchy material.
Equipment needed for DIY Beeswax Wraps
Bain Marie to melt and mix the wax if making your own wax mixture. A Bain Marie is the term used for a pot used for melting wax without the wax coming into direct contact with the heating element or the water heating it. It is typically a small twin-walled pot where you pour water into the cavity created by the double walls. The wax is then placed into the pot and the pot placed on the stovetop. The water inside the pot will heat up melting the wax. This method of melting wax allows us to melt wax without adding water and ensures that the wax does not reach a high temperature which could discolour or otherwise damage the wax.
If you do not have a Bain Marie pot, you can make your own Bain Marie using what you have at home. For instance, you can place a heatproof bowl (ceramic, metal or Pyrex) over a pot of boiling water. You can also place a jug or bowl into a slow-cooker and heat on the highest setting. (Fill the slow-cooker with water up to about 1.5’ below the top of the container with the wax mixture.) Another method is to mix all the ingredients in an oven proof dish and place standing in an oven tray filled with water. Place in the oven at about 80 -100 degrees Celsius. If making your own Bain Marie to heat wax for your DIY Beeswax wraps, make sure not to get water in the wax mixture.
I would advise against using a microwave to heat the wax mixture. Gentle heat is much better for the beeswax, and there are just so many things that can go wrong in the Microwave. It can splatter, spill and burn and the container can break. And you do not want a microwave full of beeswax!
Other equipment needed
Grater if using a rewax bar.
Scissors (Zig-zag scissors give a great finish but are not necessary.) You can also cut a straight line either before or after waxing or hem the wraps before waxing.
Baking paper. Make sure not to throw away the baking paper after use, you can keep it and use the next time you want to refresh or rewax your wraps, or when you make your own beeswax wraps the next time.
Small Painting Brush, about 1’-1 ½’ wide. This can also be reused next time.
Thin disposable gloves Nitrile gloves work best for me as they keep the sticky wax off my fingers and provides just the right cushioning from the heat of the beeswax wrap when it is taken out of the oven. (Gloves are optional but recommended, do not throw away after use but reuse next time you make, rewax or refresh your wraps.)
Silicone ice-cube mould or plastic takeaway container for any leftover wax
DIY beeswax wraps wax mixture recipe
If making your own mixture, use about five parts pure beeswax to one part oil and one part resin. (Use an oil with long shelf life, such as jojoba oil or fractionated coconut oil. If using oil with short shelf life, your wrap could become rancid after some time.) It is unlikely you will have resin available to you so you can leave this out if you like. The resulting wrap will be less sticky but still perfectly good to use.
In a Bain Marie, put in all the ingredients for the wax mixture. Place over heat and stir often until melted. The resin will take the longest to melt, it is also the heaviest ingredient so it will gather at the bottom. To get an even mixture stir vigorously once all ingredients have melted. Be careful not to splatter or spill as the wax will be quite hot.
How to make beeswax wraps with molten wax mixture
Using a Rewax bar
You can either use a readymade re-wax bar with a mix of beeswax, oils and resin, or you can make your own. The easiest way is to use our readymade rewax bar. It contains our signature blend of beeswax, resin and oil that makes our wraps so sticky, soft and water repellent. It is ideal for making your own wraps at home or re-waxing your wraps after a period of use.
To use a rewax bar, simply grate the bar into slivers and sprinkle over the fabric when waxing. Freezing the rewax bar beforehand hardens the wax and makes it easier to grate.
How to make beeswax wraps with a rewax bar
Cleaning spills and equipment
Beeswax is sticky and can be hard to get rid of, so it is always best to be careful and try not to make too much mess to begin with. If, however, there are spills and smears, this is how best to clean up.
Spills: Let harden completely then scrape off with a knife or metal frying spatula. Scrape off any extra residue. If there are stubborn bits that need to be removed, do not be tempted to use scouring pads or steel wool scrubbers. The best way to deal with this is to apply heat to melt the wax and then wipe up. Depending on the surface (stovetop, worktop, table, floor, etc.), you can either use boiling water or a hairdryer or similar. Be careful though so that you do not damage the surface further.
Wax on equipment
Wax on equipment: Any wax left on the equipment such as pots and bowls etc is best dealt with in the oven. Make sure that you use only equipment that is heat proof and oven proof when making DIY Beeswax wraps (Pyrex, Ceramic and Stainless steel). Remove as much of the wax as you can, then place in the oven at 80-100 degrees Celsius until all the wax has melted. Using a cloth or kitchen paper, wipe off any wax. Place back in the oven for another few minutes and repeat until all wax has been removed.
Use extreme caution when/if using boiling water to remove wax. It is an effective way of doing so, but if you let the water go into the kitchen drain, the wax will harden in the drain and clog it up. For this reason, you should also not use the dishwasher to clean any equipment with wax on it unless you have first removed it using the oven as described above.
DIY beeswax wraps – What can go wrong?
Thank you for reading! I hope you have enjoyed reading this tutorial and wish you the best of luck in making your own Beeswax wraps. If you feel that you are not ready to make your own, we have some great deals on our readymade Beeswax wraps in our shop so make sure to check them out. The Large Kitchen Pack and the Lunch Pack are two great starter packs if you are new to beeswax wraps. They make awesome eco-friendly gifts too!
Link to Rewax bars
Link to pure beeswax
Benefits of Beeswax Candles
One of the many benefits of burning beeswax candles is its ability to calm us and soothe our mood. The light that a burning beeswax candle emits is very similar to natural sunlight. This has an uplifting and calming effect on our mood. Many also find it helps with concentration, energy and spiritualism.
Bumblebees in winter
It is still winter, but some bumblebees have started coming out of hibernation already. While it is usually best to leave nature do its thing, what should you do if you find a bumblebee that looks like it needs some help?