A fun craft project that reduces plastic use, food waste, and expenses, our method for making Reusable DIY Beeswax Wraps is simple and effective and aims to reduce your carbon footprint while having fun in the kitchen.
Philip and I were recently gifted a pack of reusable food wrappers and at first, we didn't know what to do with them. We had seen them in boutique kitchen stores, food conferences, and local farmer's markets, and we're always curious but just never brought ourselves to use them.
After having sat in our drawer for a few weeks, it wasn't until we were out of plastic wrap that Philip decided to give them a try. He had wrapped half a lime and a bunch of leftover cilantro carefully in the beeswax wraps and placed them in the refrigerator. A week later, expecting the herbs to have turned bad, Philip opened the wrap to reveal fresh and bright cilantro.
What we love about beeswax wraps is that they are an eco-friendly alternative to using plastic wrap, they're made from natural ingredients and they last up to a year with gentle care and wash. Our favorite part? Browsing the fabric store for fun patterns that are personalized to our tastes.
What are Beeswax Wraps?
Beeswax wraps are a natural alternative to plastic wraps. Pieces of cotton fabric are saturated in a mixture starting with a base of beeswax and usually mixed with some form of resin and oil. The wraps are pliable and breathable, allowing them to be molded over food or containers while keeping their contents fresh. They can be used on almost any food (except raw meat) and can be cleaned simply with cold water and mild detergent.
How to Make Beeswax Wraps
There are many variations out there from the super simple method of sprinkling beeswax on fabric and popping them in the oven or ironing them between parchment, to ones a little more complex involving tree resins and oils. We reviewed the pros and cons of each method, finding that using just beeswax, while the simplest method, lacked sealing ability and tended to degrade more quickly. Adding resin and oil to the beeswax provided the stickiness you needed for a good seal while allowing them to be pliable.
After a couple of craft days testing different ratios, we found the perfect combination of beeswax, pine resin, and jojoba oil for the most effective food wraps.
What You Need to Make Reusable Beeswax Wraps
Except for the actual food wrap ingredients, most items you should have available at home. For our DIY beeswax wraps you'll need beeswax, jojoba oil, pine resin, cotton fabric, a paintbrush, scissors or pinking shears, baking sheets, parchment paper, a heatproof mason jar or measuring cup, string or clothesline, clothespins or clips.
What Type of Fabric Do You Use?
Natural fabrics are the best choice for making reusable food wraps. Synthetic fabrics could melt while being made and potentially expose the food you're wrapping to chemicals. For that reason, 100% cotton, organic if possible, is your best bet. It's relatively inexpensive and can be found in a variety of colors and patterns. Make sure to wash and dry the fabric before making the wraps.
Best Sizes for Food Wraps
You can make your homemade reusable wraps any size you desire, just ensure that they will fit on the baking sheet. We make a variety of sizes for different purposes. 4-inch squares are great for covering containers the size of cups. Larger 8 x 14-inch rectangles can be used to wrap cucumbers, bunches of herbs, or leftover baguettes. Our favorite size is 10-inch squares as they are good for wrapping almost anything.
Beeswax, Jojoba Oil, and Tree Resin Recipe
Making the mixture that is spread on your wraps is simple. Pour 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil into a mason jar or measuring cup. Add 6 tablespoons of pine resin and 1 cup of beeswax pellets and melt in a double boiler. Stir every few minutes until completely melted and incorporated, about 30-40 minutes.
A Couple of Notes About the Double Boiler
To make homemade food wraps, you will need to set up a double boiler using either a wide-mouth mason jar or a heatproof glass measuring cup. Both work well, but we found the mason jar was a little susceptible to tipping when sitting in the pot of boiling water. Prevent this by placing mason jar rings on the bottom of your pot and setting the mason jar on top of them. The measuring cup is more stable, but with the resin being very difficult to clean, use a measuring cup you don't mind having to scrape clean.
Turning Fabric to Food Wraps
Once your wax has melted, preheat your oven to 300° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Lay a piece of fabric on the baking sheet and brush with the wax mixture. Don't worry if it hardens, it will melt in the oven.
Place in the oven for 3-4 minutes, then flip the fabric and brush additional wax on areas that aren't saturated. Put back in the oven for another 3 minutes. Carefully pick up the fabric from its corners using tongs and allow any excess wax to drip off. You can use your fingers if you're feeling brave. Clip the wraps on a string tied between two cupboards to dry completely, about 5-7 minutes. Wash the food wraps with cold water and dry them before storing them until ready to use.
Care Instructions for Reusable Beeswax Wraps
Homemade beeswax wraps will last up to a year or more with regular use and proper care. Wash the wraps with cold water and gentle detergent. If the wax begins to deteriorate, pop the wraps in your oven at 300° F for a few minutes. This will redistribute the wax and should give you an additional 4-6 months of use.
Beeswax Alternatives to Make Vegan Food Wraps
If you're vegan, don't worry, you can still make your own food wrappers. Instead of beeswax, you use carnauba wax. You can get a recipe to make vegan food wraps from Mountain Rose Herbs.
Shop our Homemade Reusable Beeswax Food Wrap Recipe
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Essential Ingredients for Making Homemade Beeswax Wraps
Essential Tools for Making Homemade Beeswax Wraps
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- Wide-mouth mason jar or heat-safe measuring cup
- Paint brush
- Clothes pins or clips
- Organic cotton fabric
- 2 tablespoon organic jojoba oil
- 6 tablespoon food grade pine resin approx ¾ oz
- 1 cup organic beeswax pellets approx 2¾ oz
- 1 ½ yards 100% cotton fabric organic preferred
- Add jojoba oil, pine resin, and beeswax to mason jar or measuring cup.
- Fill the pot with water so that the water line is above the ingredients in the jar. Heat the water on high-heat until it begins to boil, then turn heat down to medium-high to maintain a light boil. Add water to the pot as necessary to ensure the water line always stays above the ingredients in the jar.
- After about 10 minutes, the beeswax should be partially melted and you can begin stirring the mixture every 5-7 minutes, until both the pine resin and beeswax have melted and combined, about 30-40 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and leave the jar in the water while you are making the wraps.
- While the ingredients are melting cut your fabric into your desired shapes and sizes.
- Once the beeswax and pine resin have melted, preheat your oven to 300° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place a piece of fabric on each baking sheet and brush with the beeswax mixture until the fabric is saturated. Don’t worry if it hardens as it will re-liquify in the oven.
- Put the baking sheets in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove and turn the fabric over using tongs (or fingers if calloused or you have a high resistance to pain). Brush additional wax on any spots of fabric that aren’t saturated. Place the pan back in the oven to bake an additional 3 minutes.
- Using the tongs, carefully lift the fabric from two corners and allow any excess wax to drip off. Hang the wraps using clothespins or clips on a piece of string and allow to fully dry.
- The pine resin is very difficult to remove from anything once hardened, ensure to wear grubby clothes and use equipment you aren’t too attached to.
- Place mason jar rings on the bottom of your pot to prevent the mason jar from tipping while melting the wax.