I was introduced to beeswax wraps about two years ago, when I received a package of these Vermonter-made, earth-kind goodies as a gift from my mom. I thought (and still think) they were the coolest thing EVER! Beeswax wraps are intended to reduce single-use plastic in the kitchen or, in the case of my kids, their lunchboxes.
Let me add in a little disclaimer here: although I absolutely adore zero-wasters and minimalists, I am not one. I hope to get there some day, but right now… I’m not there. I am not anywhere near there. I still have plastic wrap in the house and plastic bags, too. However, I do LOVE doing the best I can while maintaining my sanity and encouraging curious minds to be more conscious of their single-use plastic waste – all while infusing a bit of earthy elements into their lives!
There are many DIY versions of beeswax wraps out there, including wraps that are made solely with beeswax. After experimenting, I chose to use a blend of wax, tree resin, and jojoba oil. These wraps are comparable to store-bought versions, are more pliable, and they adhere with ease. Experiment! Find your balance and your preference!
Here is the good, the ugly, and the best methods of maintenance from my experience:
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- Beeswax wraps reduce our daily plastic waste, sparing our intricate earth, her oceans and their inhabitants of the reckless plastic use that we so wonderfully refer to as ‘convenience’. On an individual level we can feel just a wee bit better about our non-plastic choice.
- They support the honeybees and beekeepers – woot!
- Skipping the plastic wrap reduces the amount of plastic toxins being absorbed into our food – disrupting our endocrine system.
- Beeswax doesn’t go rancid – it’s entirely safe, so long as you’re not allergic, and it is even anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, along with tree resin and jojoba, and helps keep your food safe from fungal growth and contamination.
- They cover cheese with ease… the wrap is malleable and adheres to itself with a little hand heat. It also covers other random pieces of food, fruit, and glass bowls nicely.
- DIY’ing beeswax wraps is fairly inexpensive and will save money in the long run – especially if you are able to upkeep them.
- You can cut them to your preferential size.
- They’re cute! Right? And fun, too!
- They don’t hold airtight in the fridge and can sometimes un-adhere from a bowl. Unless I can get a really good grip around a piece of food or bowl, I tend to use other lids on dishes that go into the fridge. They do work great for covering that glass bowl of cookies on the counter, though!
- It’s possible they can impart a beeswax flavor into your food. This hasn’t been an issue for me,
and I probably wouldn’t mind it either way – but I’m not so picky, either.
- They can’t be used to wrap meat because they can’t be cleaned with high heat. Please don’t risk it.
- They won’t look so pretty after awhile… let’s call it character.
- They won’t last forever without maintenance. My kids come home with peanut butter and jelly smeared all over them. It can be frustrating – the more thoroughly I have to wash the wraps, the more upkeep they need.
Best Methods of Maintenance…
- Spot wash dirty areas (think dried on peanut butter) with a lightly soaped, barely warm kitchen cloth. Also, don’t scrub too hard. Sometimes I’ll just just my finger or nails in an effort not to disturb the majority of the wrap.
- Use cool, soapy water to wash or submerge them in. I’ve found that even the most lukewarm water will cause the wax formula to clump and separate.
- When it’s obvious your wrap needs some wax re-distribution, pop it into a 200 degree oven on parchment paper for 2 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how nice and smooth they’ll look!
- If they no longer stick and you’re able to see bare spots – sprinkle the tiniest bit of wax pastilles onto it and follow direction #4 below.
Tip: In the case of peanut butter sandwiches and kids (and other messy foods), it may be worth it to use a piece of parchment paper over the sandwhich edges to prevent the sandwich goo from completely soiling the wrap.
What you’ll need
- beeswax pastilles
- pine rosin – adds pliability and tackiness, making it easier to adhere with less heat.
- drizzles & splashes of jojoba oil – makes it softer and more pliable.
- 100% cotton fabric scraps, fat quarters, etc
- an iron
- parchment paper
- Cut your fabric to any and all sizes you feel you’ll benefit from. I like to use pinking shears for this, although they aren’t necessary – these will not go through a washing machine and the wax formula will hold the edges together just fine.
- If your pine rosin is in chunks, like mine, roll it over with a rolling pin to powder it – you’ll want powdered rosin for easy melting and blending – this is super simple, pine rosin powders very easily!
- I chose to work in an extra large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. This keeps messes to a minimum – there will be excess wax dripping around and you’ll want it contained!
- Sprinkle beeswax by the teaspoonfuls over your fabric. The amount is not critical – too little and you can add more, too much and you can use the iron as a squeegee and “push” the excess wax to one end off the fabric. I, without a doubt, used too much wax. But I find it much easier and quicker to work this way.
- Lightly sprinkle the rosin over the beeswax. Again, the amount isn’t critical. I like the ratio of 2 parts wax to 1 part rosin (or less), however I’ve seen recipes with equal parts – experiment!
- Drizzle or drop jojoba oil all over your fabric constellation-style! Jojoba isn’t necessary but it does make the wrap a bit softer.
- Cover your fabric with more parchment paper and iron until all of the wax and rosin is melted. I squeeze the fabric from one end to the other with the iron to remove any excess wax.
- Peel the parchment off, lift your wrap up and wave it around – it’ll set up within seconds!
- Repeat and enjoy your crafting and creating!