Say goodbye to single-use plastic wrap and bags.
Have you seen those all-natural beeswax wraps advertised online and thought they seemed like a great idea? Me too. Did you then look at the price of them and decide it was ridiculous? Me too.
Fortunately, they’re not too difficult to make yourself for a fraction of the cost. I managed to make 8 and only used about a third of my ingredients which cost me about £25 in total. A four-pack on amazon cost around £17. So, quick maths… these are probably just over £1 each versus £4.25 in the shops, less than 25% of the retail price.
I should start by saying this isn’t my recipe, I found it here. I have simply used it and made a more comprehensive guide to making these for you to follow. You can buy the gear from their website, or get it online somewhere else, it shouldn’t matter.
I’ll also preface this post with the fact that you may need to play around with the quantities a little at first until you’re happy with how your beeswax wraps turn out based on the exact ingredients you buy. Remember, the whole point of these is that they use natural, sustainable ingredients and as such, they can vary a little in their consistency.
Let’s get started.
Get together the following items: 50g beeswax, 25g pine gum rosin, 2 tbsp jojoba oil, cotton fabric pieces, greaseproof paper, oven tray, basting brush (that you don’t mind ruining), rag (for hands), wooded skewer, a mason or jam jar, saucepan, clothes hanger and pegs.
Layout the greaseproof paper on your tray and cut it to size so that it covers the entire tray. Then lay the fabric on top and cut it out to the desired size. If you’re looking to make them as large as possible then I’d suggest leaving at least a 1cm margin of uncovered greaseproof paper around the fabric.
Melt the ingredients
Preheat the oven to 150C and put the tray with the paper liner inside. Set a pan of water to a low simmer. Put the beeswax, oil and rosin into your jar and set it in the water so that the water level comes as far up the jar as you can without it floating. Place the lid on the jar but do not fasten it, unless you’re looking for an explosion, in which case do as you will. This will help the jar to heat quickly and keep out any unwanted water that might get in from condensation.
This step can take some time, depending on the form your beeswax and rosin are in. If you have beeswax pellets and powdered rosin then you’re in for a much easier ride. I had a large block of wax and chunks of rosin. In hindsight, I’d have been better breaking these up before this stage, if you try that and it works, let me know.
While it heats stir it occasionally, I used a wooden skewer for this as it allowed me to get into the corners. I’d avoid using anything metal as the mixture tends to cool and stick to it pretty quickly. It’s tricky stuff to remove without making a big mess; the rosin, in particular, is very sticky until it has dissolved.
Coat a piece of fabric
This is actually the trickiest step. Getting the right amount of mixture on your fabric is critical to having usable wraps. Make sure that your tray and paper are up to temperature in the oven before you do your first one; a cold tray will mean the mixture solidifies while you’re trying to spread it out and you’ll likely get way too much on there.
Before you start this step, make sure you have a metal coat hanger ready with something underneath it to catch any drips (though, if it’s dripping, you’ve used too much).
Take the tray out of the oven and place it on a heatproof surface. Then, lay a piece of your fabric on the greaseproof paper. Working quickly, use the basting brush to paint the mixture onto the fabric. You’re looking for the fabric to be fully saturated and no more; you don’t want spare mixture puddled anywhere on top or underneath. I found that you could spread any spare mixture around pretty well so do this before returning to the jar for more mixture.
Pick the fabric up from one corner and peel it away from the tray carefully so it doesn’t fold or crease. Move to your coat hanger and lay the fabric along the wire; about half a centimetre from the edge, curling it very slightly. The metal should take the heat out of the mixture and allow it to stick. If it won’t stay in place then use a peg or two to secure it. Allow it to cool and return the tray to the oven ready for the next piece.
Rinse and repeat
Except don’t actually rinse anything, the leftover wax on the greaseproof paper will get you started on your next piece. Make sure the excess is all soaked up before you add any additional mixture. Take your time and once you get the hang of it you’ll be making them pretty quickly. Return the jar to the hot water in between each one to keep it nice and liquidy.
We’ve found that they work best when sticking to themselves around something. They don’t stick super well to bowls unless you can get them stuck onto themselves a bit as well. Play around with the proportions of the ingredients and let me know if you find any secrets tips.