Beeswax wraps have proven to be an excellent substitute for single-use plastic wrap; they’re a must-have in my kitchen—and in the kitchens of my coworkers. The only disadvantage?
Premade wraps can be quite expensive. As a result, I began to consider a do-it-yourself solution. How difficult can it be to make your own beeswax wrap? What do you need, beeswax…and wrapping paper? I was adamant about figuring it out.
Using the wonders of Google, I discovered DIY bloggers who had bravely gone before me, experimenting with various methods for making beeswax wraps at home. I’d like to express my appreciation to those bloggers for their skillful SEO tactics and enthusiasm for rigorous and careful testing.
Many (but not all) of these bloggers recommend combining pine resin and jojoba oil with beeswax to increase flexibility and stickiness. These ingredients are also found in commercial beeswax wraps, such as our favorite, Bee’s Wrap. The only issue is that food grade pine resin and jojoba oil are not cheap, which defeats the purpose of finding a less expensive alternative to the premade stuff.
What is reusable food wrap?
As I mentioned in this review, beeswax wraps are an eco-friendly, reusable alternative to plastic wrap that hugs bowls with just the right amount of cling. They’re dipped in a mixture of beeswax, jojoba oil, and pine resin. The beeswax makes the wraps airtight and helps lock in moisture, while the jojoba oil adds flexibility and the pine resin adds cling.
Essentially, the warmth of your hands makes them pliable, allowing you to use them as follows:
- To wrap snacks, fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread, and other items.
- Instead of using cling wrap to cover a bowl or other container
- As reusable snack/sandwich bags (a tutorial for making them is included at the bottom of this article, or you can purchase beeswax sandwich wraps here)
Alternative Video: How to make a Beeswax Wrap
Why Beeswax Wraps is the BEES KNEES
It’s made of non-toxic, compostable materials, so it’s good for both us and the environment.
Beeswax wraps can last for a long time if you refresh them with the mixture below when they lose some of their cling.
So, why make a DIY version?
Bees Wrap is a great long-term investment, but it is an investment. This DIY version is significantly less expensive, especially if you buy in bulk and host a make-and-take party with friends. You can also choose from a variety of beautiful prints – the reusable wrap pictured is made of a lightweight organic cotton fabric from Monaluna that I got at a great price. They have a large selection of beautiful fabrics to choose from.
Oh, and if you can sew a button – which is about as far as my sewing abilities go – you can turn reusable food wrap into these adorable snack bags.
Is reusable food wraps difficult to care for?
Nope. Simply wash them in cool water with mild dish soap and air dry.
Now, a few notes:
- They can be cleaned with cold water and a gentle soap ( I use castile soap)
- They are not suitable for meat preparation because they cannot be washed with hot water.
- Cheese, vegetables, fruits, nuts, sandwiches, and other items can be wrapped. Items containing a lot of moisture (such as jello) should not be put in snack bags.
- They can last up to a year depending on how frequently they are used. After that, all you have to do is re-wax them to keep using them.
You should use cotton fabric:
I failed the first time I attempted to make beeswax wraps. I’d bought what I thought were cotton napkins. In reality, they were a cotton-poly blend, which is a sin both in the Bible and in the production of beeswax wrap. Cotton is the best fabric for the job because it absorbs wraps beeswax well and is a naturally durable and affordable fiber. If you don’t want to buy cotton muslin, you can give an old cotton blouse or t-shirt new life by cutting it up and turning it into beeswax wrap.
If you don’t want to sacrifice a t-shirt (or if you want to make your wraps look nicer), the pure cotton flour sack towels listed below are ideal for this project. If you want to make a variety of sizes, cut them into smaller pieces.
Conduct a beeswax sniff test:
Any filtered beeswax will do, but keep in mind that beeswax wraps has a natural scent that may or may not be desirable. I used Beesworks yellow beeswax, which is cosmetic grade and triple filtered but has a slight grassy odor. It doesn’t leach into food, and I find the smell pleasant, but if you’re sensitive to odors, you might want to use odorless beeswax instead.
An oven works (just very slowly):
Many DIY websites recommend baking beeswax wraps at a low temperature in an oven. Simply place the fabric on a lined baking sheet and sprinkle it with beeswax pellets or grated beeswax. When the wax has melted, use a brush to spread it around before removing the coated cloth from the oven to cool.
This method worked reasonably well, but I found it difficult to determine how much wax was required to effectively saturate the fabric. And when I used a brush to spread the wax, I had trouble getting the melted wax all the way into the corners of the fabric. I ended up sprinkling more wax around the edges and returning it to the oven. This method worked in the end, but it took a long time and a lot of checking and adjusting to get a properly saturated piece of wrap.
An iron works better:
Another popular method is to melt the wax onto the cloth with an iron. To begin, cover an ironing board with tinfoil to protect it and reflect heat, allowing the wax to melt faster.
The fabric is then placed on the foil, and the wax is sprinkled on top. To protect your iron, cover the beeswax-sprinkled fabric with parchment paper or foil. (Parchment paper is ideal because it allows you to see the wax distribution as you iron, but I only had foil on hand and it worked just fine.)
Using an iron set to high, press and rub the cloth, beginning in the center and stroking outward, until the cloth is saturated with wax. It took far less time to use the iron than it did to melt and spread beeswax in the oven.
Hold onto that extra wax
I was able to get functional pieces of beeswax wrap that clung to glass bowls without unraveling using the iron method. When compared to Bee’s Wrap, the DIY version is a little stiffer, but it’s still pliable when gently warmed with your hands.
I have a lot of wax left over, which is good because after three to six months, when your wrap begins to lose its cling, you can refresh it with a new coat. Using the iron method, you could also revitalize any store-bought beeswax wrap that has lost its cling. Just keep in mind that it will most likely feel different than it did when you first purchased it.
Overall, making your own beeswax wraps is much less expensive than purchasing premade varieties, especially if you use cloth that you already have on hand. Consider this: a three-pack of premium beeswax wraps can cost up to $18, which is $6 more than a one-pound bag of beeswax. The savings are obvious when you recycle cotton cloth that you already own.
Pure beeswax wraps is not the same as store-bought varieties that contain resin and jojoba, but it works just as well. If you only need a few pieces of wrap, it may be cheaper to buy it premade, but if you intend to use it as the primary wrap in your kitchen, going the extra mile to make it yourself will save you a significant amount of money. And, of course, DIY beeswax wrap adds that special homemade touch that elevates a gift to the next level. Take it on as your final big social-distancing project, and give the fruits of your labor to your friends and family once we can all gather again.
DIY Reusable Food Wrap (How To Make Beeswax Wraps)
Here’s how to make reusable beeswax wraps that are a better alternative to cling wrap for the environment. Wrap them around fruits, vegetables, bread, and containers like bowls and casserole dishes using the warmth of your hands to make them pliable.
- scissors (pinking shears will prevent fraying)
- paintbrush (can only be used for this purpose)
- cheese grater
- baking sheet (I use this stainless steel one)
- parchment paper
- thread, needle, string and buttons (optional- you’ll only need these if you plan to make snack or sandwich bags)
- ruler or tape measure (optional)
- makeshift clothesline – binder clips make fantastic “clothes pins” if you don’t have any on handmakeshift clothesline – binder clips make fantastic “clothes pins” if you don’t have any on hand
How much beeswax, jojoba oil, and pine resin you need depends on the size and number of sheets you want to make. See the notes section below for my recommendations.
- organic beeswax pellets (See below for info on how much you’ll needsee below for info on how much you’ll need)
- powdered food grade pine rosin (Also called pine resin. This is what gives the wrap its “cling” factor – see below for info on how much you’ll need)
- organic jojoba oil (See below for info on how much you’ll needsee below for info on how much you’ll need)
- 100% cotton fabric100% cotton fabric (Needs to be very thin, like a sheet. Organic cotton muslin will work, as will this cloth with pretty bee-inspired patterns)
- Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut your fabric into the desired sizes. I wanted a small, medium, and large assortment, so I cut mine into 8-, 11-, and 14-inch squares.
- Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the baking sheet, then your fabric. Spread the beeswax/resin/jojoba oil mixture evenly on top.
- Bake the baking sheet in the oven until the mixture is completely melted. This should take between 5-10 minutes, but can take longer.
- Spread the beeswax mixture evenly over the fabric with the paintbrush. I took the sheet out of the oven to take this photo, but usually I just pull it out slightly, brush it, and then return it to the oven to let the mixture even out for another minute or so.
- When the mixture has melted evenly, remove the baking sheet from the oven and lift it with tongs. I wave mine in the air to cool it enough to touch (it doesn’t take long at all), then hang it somewhere to “set.” If you have clothes pins, this can be your laundry area. I simply waved mine around until they were mostly cool before hanging them over the back of a chair to cure. You can also use a laundry drying rack if you have one, but you may want to cover the rungs with parchment paper before applying the beeswax wraps.
- Keep in mind that the wraps will initially feel very tacky. They settle down fairly quickly. The end result will have grip but will not be extremely sticky. Keep in mind that the wraps will initially feel very tacky. They settle down fairly quickly. The end result will have grip but will not be extremely sticky.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do beeswax wraps last?
With proper care and regular use, Bee’s Wrap can last for up to a year. When your wrap has worn thin and soft and has difficulty sticking to itself, it has reached the end of its useful life in the kitchen.
What are beeswax wraps good for?
Beeswax wraps are used to store and keep food fresh. BeeBee Wraps are frequently referred to as a plastic-free alternative to cling film, but they are SO much better than that wasteful stuff.
Are beeswax wraps safe?
The fact that beeswax food wraps are coated in food-grade wax or oil adds to their appeal. So, yes, they are suitable for food storage. They are also environmentally friendly because they are compostable and biodegradable.