DIY Beeswax Wraps: Why I'll never go back to plastic
I spend a considerable amount of time looking at fabrics. Like, a lot...I find myself awake at night admiring images of beautiful textiles or searching a variety of online stores for the perfect fabric to create my next project. With the amount of time and energy that goes into these fabrics, it seems a bit sad every time I make my cuts to the proper dimensions of the next burp cloth, snack bag or apron and there are leftovers that cannot be used for their intended purpose.
I have a box labelled “scraps” that sits beside my rotary cutter and mat and each time I add to the pile, I think about how these fabrics could be repurposed and given the proper life they deserve.
After recently launching Harper Ridley, I have been noticing many amazing eco-friendly shops and accounts on Instagram. Over and over, I kept seeing these beautiful fabrics being used as a substitute for saran wrap. As someone who is trying to reduce the amount of plastic in my household (and subsequently, the Earth), I wanted to know more. With a few quick clicks, I found myself watching multiple Youtube videos on how to create said “substitute wraps”.
I discovered that beeswax is completely food safe and can be used to create wraps that are reusable, eco-friendly and compostable! I had to give it a try.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 100% cotton or 100% organic cotton fabric cut into your desired sizes
- Organic beeswax (I used the pellets, but you can use a block and simply grate the wax)
- Organic Jojoba oil (to keep the wrap soft and supple + is a natural antibacterial oil that is food safe)
- Scissors or rotary cutter + mat
- Pinking shears (to cut the fabric + ensure it does not fray)
- Parchment paper
- Baking Sheet *method 1
- Brush *method 1
- Iron + ironing board **method 2
To start, I gathered up the scraps I had, including the 100% organic cotton fabric that I use for my burp cloths and snack bags (sometimes the pattern is not the right direction or I accidently cut too much, human problems..)
Next, I cut the fabric into a variety of shapes; 9” x 14” (thinking I could make pouches with them), 8” x 8” (to wrap loose fruit and vegetables) and a circle (to cover a bowl or similar). I prefer to use the rotary cutter and mat to make sure the cuts are accurate and also used a bowl to trace the circular shape.
METHOD #1: The Oven
I read about two main methods for creating the wraps. The first requires an oven, set at 200 degrees fahrenheit (or the lowest setting). I used an old baking sheet and covered it with a layer of parchment paper. Since the wax can get messy, I figured I would just dedicate a baking sheet to this process moving forward.
Once I covered the baking sheet with parchment, I laid the fabric down and spread about 2 tablespoons of beeswax pellets (for the larger rectangular size). Then I dropped jojoba oil all over the fabric. I made sure that the pellets were evenly spread out over the fabric, even to the edges.
I popped it into the oven and waited for about 5 minutes. At that point, the pellets had melted (be sure to watch them as they do melt relatively quickly) and when I took the sheet out, I used the brush to move the melted beeswax all over the fabric. Once the fabric was saturated, I peeled it off the parchment and waved the wrap back and forth until it dried (about 30 seconds). Success! I moved onto the next method for a comparison.
METHOD #2: The Iron
Since I use my iron daily, I made sure to cover my ironing board with an old towel to prevent any accidental wax spills. I then layered a piece of parchment paper (larger than my fabric) and then my fabric. I used the same process with the beeswax pellets, spreading them evenly across the fabric and then dropping the oil all over. Next, I put another layer of parchment paper down on top of the fabric.
I had my iron on medium high (cotton setting) and slowly moved it across the paper, watching the pellets melt and saturate the fabric. I made sure to move the iron beyond the edges of the fabric to ensure the wax had spread all the way across. At this point, I lifted the top layer of parchment paper and then picked up the fabric wrap to allow it to dry.
Once I added the wax and oil to all my fabric and allowed time for them to dry, I used my pinking shears to add a nice finish to the edges. Like I mentioned earlier, this prevents the fabric from fraying and looks really pretty!
My first impression of the process was that the fabric looked SO beautiful. It’s really cool to see with this easy technique that you can breathe new life into your fabric. If you are looking for an alternative for saran wrap that is far more beautiful and eco-friendly, this is it! If you are looking for a complete dupe or replacement for saran wrap, then you will need to add pine resin to your ingredient list. Pine resin will add the tackiness + stickiness to keep the beeswax wrap in the shape you desire. Full transparency, I decided to skip this ingredient because it would bring this DIY from about $40 to $60+. Keep in mind, you will be able to make a TON of wraps once you have the supplies, I still wanted to try the process first before I invested too much.
Since my wraps are not tacky, I will be using them for wrapping leftover fruits and veggies and I will either fold them in such a way that they can stay covered on their own or I will use a piece of twine to tie them. I also love using them as a barrier between food items in our snack bags (Anyone else out there hate when their food is touching?)
If you are looking to purchase the wraps instead of making them yourself, there are SO many great small shops that are creating them. My favourites are Goldilocks Wraps out of Victoria, B.C. and Beeswax & Cotton from Eckville, Alberta. Support LOCAL!
Thanks for reading my FIRST EVER (non-teaching related) blog post! There’s more to come!