If you had an attempt to bring a sustainable lifestyle to your household, you definitely didn’t miss the latest trendy product called beeswax wraps. Their primary function is to act as a more eco-friendly version of cling film, aluminium foil, or other single-use materials which help you to keep your groceries for longer and your fridge tidy as they stick together and are here for the long haul. You can stick them together and make sandwich pouches or little bowl or stick them onto a container when you’re trying to preserve some leftovers.
They are also great for plastic-free shopping and they don’t up to much space and can be formed into handy pouches and you don’t have to be exactly a master of origami. Instead of dragging many jars and containers to your shop, they are a great alternative when you’re shopping for loose fruit, veg or even nuts, pulses and lentils, and fresh food from the counter (however not fresh meat due cross-contamination). You can also use them as a lid replacement or even during fermentation as they are also breathable or anything you need them for, you name it.
The downside of beeswax wraps is, unfortunately, their price, as they are quite an investment or their sizes available in packs, which may not suit your needs. However, they are an investment in our planet and if you’re a crafty soul or just in a need of a project (let’s be honest, a lot of us were given the gift of time recently), you can make them yourself.
All the equipment and material you need to make your own you probably already have, and beeswax can be bought in various forms and quantities (about £3 per 100g pack online or £1 for 30g block in my local health food shop). I already had some beeswax pellets and used probably around 100-120g for making 3m2 worth of wraps. If you’re using lighter colours of fabric and want to avoid toning them into yellow, you can always use white beeswax, which as however more expensive.
All you will need is:
Pure Beeswax (pellets or a block you can grate or chop)
Fabric, cut into desired pieces
Baking or greaseproof paper
Optional - Pinking shears ( if the edges of your fabric are fraying, however, you can do without). Some fabrics tend to fray; therefore you can use the pinking shears to prevent it. If you do not have them and don’t want to invest in them, you can cut your fabric after waxing it.
How to make them using an electric oven
!Do not use this method if you have a gas oven as beeswax is highly flammable.
Place the fabric onto a baking paper on a tray and put beeswax pellets or cut or grated beeswax pieces onto the fabric. If the fabric cut is bigger than your tray, you can always pop it on the tray folded, just use a little bit more wax.
Put your oven on about 70-80°C. Place the tray in and carefully wait until the wax melts. Do not leave your wraps in unattended. After the wax is melted, carefully remove the fabric from the tray by grabbing the edges and wave it in the air for a few seconds to dry. If the wax doesn’t seem to be covering a place of you think you put too much on, just simply take the brush and push the excess of melted wax out or in the desired spot. If you feel like the fabric is sticking to the paper or the wax layer is uneven, just pop your tray back in the oven for an extra minute.
How to make them without using an oven
Melt your beeswax into a by placing its pieces or the pellets into a jar, which you put into hot water. This protects your pots and pans from painful de-waxing. Place your fabric on clean non-stick material such as baking paper and use a brush to cover the fabric in the wax.
You can also melt the wax onto the fabric using iron and placing baking paper under and over it. Just make sure the wax won’t leak as it could ruin your ironing board.
Not just to prevent the usage of single-use plastic materials to prevent food from staling, you can also use them as a wrapping material for transporting or storing your food. Here are a few ideas you can use your wraps for:
Placing on a container instead of a lid to store food in the fridge or cupboard
Placing straight onto a food item to prevent from drying out in a fridge e.g. lemon, avocado, cheese
Using as a transporting material e.g. pockets
Separating food in lunch boxes
Preventing bakery products from drying
Soap or shampoo bars protection
Eco-friendly gift wrapping
Repurposing old fabric
Opening jars or transporting food to jars e.g. pasta, grains
Do not use them for materials which of which the equipment has to be cleaned with hot water such as raw meat etc.
If you need to wash your wraps, do it so with cold water and some soap as hot water will melt the wax. If the wraps start losing their stickiness or are too creasy, you can refresh their qualities and prolong their life by popping them onto a baking paper and in an electric oven for a couple of minutes to let the wax spread evenly again. Just make sure you will keep an eye on them to avoid burning. If you don’t have an electric oven, pop the wraps in between baking paper and iron them.
If you’ve been using your wraps for a few months and they don’t seem to be working properly (e.g. loss of stickiness), you can always add a small amount of beeswax on them and repeat the procedure to top-up their wax content. If you feel like there’s no way how to bring them back, you can compost them.