Natural Projects 1 - No More Clingfilm - How to Make Your Own Beeswax Wraps

Hi folks I’m so so so excited to share this “recipe” with you! After chatting to the guys from The Riptide Movement about trying to make my kitchen and catering more sustainable (as part of their upcoming documentary Plastic Oceans) I was really determined that now was the time to get this piece written! 

So a few weeks ago I had a go at making my own beeswax wraps. The concept has been around for a while - they’re an amazing alternative to clingfilm - but each time I went to order them I was put off by the big price tag! They're made of beeswax and cotton so I figured I’d have a go at doing it myself. So easy, a bitta fun DIY and great for the environment. 

Why Should You Make Them?

At home and in the restaurant trade we go through tons and tons of clingfilm each year. This isn't generally recylable and will stay in our environment for hundreds of years. The obvious other answer is tin foil - but while much more easily recycled then plastic, its still a single use item that rarely gets recycled (if you’re using it give it a quick rinse and keep a “tinfoil-ball” going - this big ball of foil is easier for the folks in the recycling centre to spot and process). So in the spirit of moving away from plastics and single use we have the beeswax wrap. Ta dah! 

 Bye bye cling film and single use plastics in my kitchen!

Bye bye cling film and single use plastics in my kitchen!

Its non-toxic, can be used again and again and if maintained well you can just add a little more beeswax whenever it stills to be a bit “old”. Also it smells nice. Also its pretty. The ones you buy (and I’m sure they’re freakin awesome) are gorgeous, but just not a reasonable price point to me. I got cottons scraps in diff sizes (organic cotton would be ideal) and two bars of beeswax for €2.90 each. So the whole project was roughly €10 (they begin retail around €30 for a small pack and I made TONS).

 I've made one really big wrap so that I can even keep big salad bowls fresh.

I've made one really big wrap so that I can even keep big salad bowls fresh.

So How Do You Make Them?

You’ll need - organic cotton fabric of your choice, sharp scissors, cheese grater, two beeswax bars, baking paper, a heat resistant spatula, two sets of tweezers (or tough hands).

 I found these in my local healthfood shop, but they're also easy to get online.

I found these in my local healthfood shop, but they're also easy to get online.

 

Preheat the oven to 50 degrees C or whatever the lowest setting is on your oven. 

Cut out shapes in your fabric that are useful to you - I aimed at a little bigger then my biggest bowl, to fit jars, to hold halves of fruit, to wrap sandwiches etc! Do what suits you! If you have one of those crafty scissors that makes and edge like this ^^^^^^^ use that, I dont so I just did squares and then trimmed the edges later.

 I picked bright colours, one because their nice, but also if the wraps get a little stains with natural pigments from the food you won't see it as much.

I picked bright colours, one because their nice, but also if the wraps get a little stains with natural pigments from the food you won't see it as much.

Lay a sheet of baking paper on a tray and fit on as much of your fabric as you can. 

Grate the beeswax bars into a bowl, I had a small grater, this took a while, might not be bad if you’ve a bigger/newer grater. Just watch some Youtube videos to keep you going :)

Then sprinkle the shavings over your fabric on the baking tray. Check out the pics for the kind of coverage. One and a half of the little beeswax bards did lots of fabric for me. 

 Remember to push the shavings out to the edges as well ( I did of course take the bar off after the photo and before the oven!).

Remember to push the shavings out to the edges as well ( I did of course take the bar off after the photo and before the oven!).

Pop the tray in the oven for about 8 minutes till the wax is completely melted. 

When you take out the tray if the wax is still a little hard, pop it in for two more minutes. If its a little lumpy, but melted, use the spatula to smooth it out. The wraps dry fast so just hold them up in the air (use the tweezers so you dont burn your hands) and they dry fairly instantly. Once cooled I store mine folded up in a paper bag in the cupboard to keep dust off. 

 You can trim the edges of your wraps once they've cooled down

You can trim the edges of your wraps once they've cooled down

How to use them

When you hold the wraps the heat of your hands melts them slightly so you can mould them around the container or item you’re holding, then once you put it into the fridge it will set. 

 I've found the wraps hold up really well ever with really "juicy" veggies like tomato and cucumber

I've found the wraps hold up really well ever with really "juicy" veggies like tomato and cucumber

To wash them wash with cold antibacterial soapy water and hang them up to dry. Dont use hot water as it will melt off the wax. 

Dont use the wraps to store strong smelling items like oniongs, garlic or certain cheeses, I also avoid staining items like turmeric. I’ve notice that they still work really well with wet items like a half a tomato or melon. 

Overall have fun! I’d love to see yours if you have a go so please tag me on Insta @saltwaterstories.me

*disclaimers

If you’re vegan a potential alternative would be to investigate soya wax beads instead, I’ve seen them used in cosmetic situations where beeswax could be used so maybe it would work here too, but I havent tried it yet!

I currently only use beeswax wraps at home not while working, as it does not create a complete seal like clingfilm - for work I use containers that can be fully sealed (in glass, reusable plastic or stainless steel), but I do believe this is the perfect at home solution!