Buzzing About Plastic Free - A Beeswax Wrap Tutorial
I've picked up packets of Beeswax wraps numerous times in my local 'green' shop, but just couldn't justify the price. As with most plastic alternatives the initial cost is always an investment (and I've accepted that), but I thought I'd have a go at making my own before handing over the cash. Don't get me wrong, the price is TOTALLY worth it if you haven't got the time to make your own - or can't be bothered! However you get your hands on some Beeswax wraps is irrelevant, its committing to cutting down on single use plastic that's the important part.
I found a billion different methods online (slight exaggeration) but using pure beeswax seemed to be the most popular and time efficient. I'm a serial fabric hoarder and I've got a few boxes full of fabric in my studio, so only needed to invest in some beeswax. I managed to find mine in a little shop in town but there's plenty available online. I've even seen it in the Highgrove shop in Tetbury if anyone is over that way! And it was on sale! Anyway, down to the important stuff. As they used to say on Art Attack and such, 'for this project you will need.....'
- Fabric - 100% cotton is ideal, something that's a similar thickness to a pillowcase cotton. Your local sewing shop/haberdashery will probably have a beautiful selection of patterned, colourful designs. Alternatively you could raid the charity shops - most have an area for scraps and offcuts (If you buy second hand, I'd highly recommend washing before you begin). In terms of the amount of fabric you need, I cut pieces that were large enough to cover the containers I regularly pop in the fridge with leftovers etc. Squares/circles/ovals/triangles - there aren't any rules!
- Beeswax - I bought 2x30g bars for £1.79 each from my local organic/green shop. There are so many options available online too - either buy a bar to grate or buy ready made pellets.
- Grater - If using beeswax bars, you'll need a grater. Just be warned it'll be HELL to clean (I learnt this the hard way - common sense was apparently non existent yesterday afternoon!). Either use an old one, pick up one from a charity shop or buy a cheap one that'll become your designated Beeswax-Wrap-creating-grater (obviously your new found hobby!)
- Paint Brush -Again, this will be nearly impossible to clean. Any old paintbrush will do - it's just for spreading the melted wax over every millimetre of the fabric.
- Oven tray and baking paper/parchment paper - Any sized tray will do just so long as your fabric pieces fit. If you've got more than one that you can use at the same time it'll reduce the project time massively! The paper is essential to prevent ruining a good tray!
- Washing line - This doesn't have to be a washing line, just somewhere similar to hang the wraps to dry. This doesn't take long at all!
- An oven - Kind of a given, but just in case you thought you'd try this whilst sat in the garden or something.
Okay, so let's begin...
1 - Preheat your oven to it's lowest setting. I set mine to around 50 degrees C. Line your tray/trays with the baking paper.
2 - Cut your fabric to size - as I've said above I cut pieces big enough to cover the tops of the containers I regularly use for leftovers etc. I cut one large rectangle, one slightly smaller and two round pieces. I also used pinking shears as I prefer the finish, but scissors will work equally as well. Make sure you iron out any creases in the fabric.
3 - Grate the Beeswax (if you've bought bars).
4 - Lay your fabric pieces out onto the lined trays. Squeeze as many as you can onto one tray, but make sure they're all flat and aren't overlapping. Sprinkle the beeswax evenly over the fabric. I actually used a little too much, so would recommend a slightly more sparse sprinkling than in the photo! (Please note you can always re-melt the wax at any stage, and even add more if required!)
5 - Place the tray in the oven and keep an eye on the wax until it has all melted. Mine took around 5 minutes, but this will vary depending on how fine your wax is etc. Once all the wax has melted remove the tray and be prepared to work fast with the paintbrush!
6 - Use the brush to even out the melted wax and make sure every part of the fabric is covered. The wax beings to set quite quickly so you may need to pop the tray back in the oven for a few minutes and re-spread. At this point I also flipped the fabric and did the same on the back where the wax seemed to have pooled slightly. But a few extra minutes in the oven and another brush-over sorted it out.
7 - Hang the wax-coated pieces of fabric on the washing line (or somewhere similar). They should be dry and ready to use within 5-10 minutes!
These wraps are great and can be used for all kinds of food! So far I've used mine to cover a bowl of surplus curry, wrap half a lime, and cover a jug of homemade dressing. They won't last forever but they'll last a LOT longer than a piece of clingfilm PLUS they're so much kinder to the planet! Please let me know how you get on and share some photos of your beautiful new Beeswax Wraps!