How to make your own beeswax wraps
Following on from my Plastic Free July I focused my attention on ridding our use of cling film. Beeswax wraps are a great choice for replacing this plastic wrap. These homemade food wraps are reusable and very quick to make.
Why is cling film so bad?
Cling film is brilliant at keeping food fresh but it is a very big contributor to the plastic pollution crisis. It is made from a variety of plastics which makes it extremely difficult to recycle. Meaning it usually ends up in the landfill and in our oceans adding to the 381 million tonnes in plastic waste we create yearly. Added to that there has long been concern surrounding the leaching of chemicals from the plastic into our food and drink. Cling film is not immune from this concern:
“New evidence suggests that heat makes chemicals in plastic storage boxes and bottles leach into food and drink: two major reports last year linked 175 compounds to health problems connected to cancers, fertility and foetal development.
Even Cancer Research UK, which has so far been sceptical, is now warning that cling film should not be allowed to touch the food it is covering during microwaving.”MailOnline
This is a bit sensationalized and there are doubts it is as bad as the article makes out. For example the BBC has run some tests to see if they could detect the leaching, the results of which showed that it is safe to use cling film even in the microwave but if there are other non-toxic options that don’t add to our plastic problem, why not make the change. This is where beeswax wraps coming.
What are beeswax wraps?
Simple, they are some fabric coated in wax that make an amazing reusable food wrap. They can be used for bowl covers and to wrap food like sandwiches, fruit, really any solid food. You can buy beeswax wraps of course, and there are plenty of great options available:
But if you are anything like me you’d look at something and go – “I can make that!”. Beeswax wraps couldn’t be easier, they are just pieces of cloth that have been infused with natural beeswax. So not only do you get to the exact size, style and have the satisfaction that comes from making your own stuff, you’ll also save money with these homemade beeswax wraps.
How to make DIY beeswax wraps
Here are the supplies you’ll need to make homemade beeswax wraps:
- Fabric scraps – use whatever you have but I recommend a light to medium weight and 100% cotton.
- Sustainably sourced beeswax (pure or cosmetic grade) – you can grate a bar of beeswax or use beeswax pellets
- Scissors – Pinking shears if you have the as they cut zigzags and reduces fraying but no problem
- Baking paper
- Start out by cutting the fabric to the desired shape and size, then lie it flat on a sheet of baking paper on top of a heat-resistant surface – ironing board or thick towel. Make sure the baking paper is bigger than the fabric or bee really careful when heating and spreading the wax to the edge.
- Next grate or sprinkle a thin, even layer of beeswax over the fabric. Cover the beeswax with another piece of baking paper.
- Heat an iron on a wool setting, around 150°C.
- Gently iron over the top sheet, melting the beeswax into the fabric and use the iron to push the wax to the edges. If there are any gaps, add a little more wax and iron.
- Leave your newly created beeswax wrap to cool then peel off the paper. Remove any excess wax and reuse for the next wrap or project.
- To use, make sure your food is cool and then wrap. The warm air or the warmth of your hands makes the beeswax pliable and gives it sticking power.
How to care for you DIY beeswax wraps
Beeswax wraps can be washed carefully in cold water and left to dry – don’t use hot water and don’t scrub as both will remove the beeswax.
If you take good care of your beeswax wraps they will last 6 months to a year and can be refreshed by adding more beeswax when they start losing their sticking power.