With just a few affordable supplies and a couple of simple steps, this tutorial will teach you how to make beeswax wraps.
I was first introduced to beeswax wraps about a year ago. I mean, I guess I’d heard of them before then, but I was always hesitant to buy them. They seemed trendy, and I’m not a really trendy person, and so I waited.
But then, a set came in my MightyNest subscription, and I realized they were a really cool way to reduce single use plastic. I loved the set I got in my box, and used them in place of plastic wrap until they stopped sticking anymore and started fraying.
I had heard you could re-coat your wraps to make them last longer, which got me wondering how hard it would be to just make a whole new set.
Down the rabbit hole I went, trying to figure out if this was a project I wanted to take on.
As it turns out, there are a million tutorials for these wraps online, and every single one of them is different. It was hard to know which one to follow! So, I did what I normally do when I’m determined to figure something out. I picked one tutorial to try, and then worked my way through them until I figured out the system that worked best for me.
Want to learn how to make beeswax wraps to replace your plastic wrap? I certainly don’t have the only tutorial out there for these, and I’m not even going to claim mine is the best. But, I will tell you that after a lot of trial and error, I found the method that works best for me. So, keep reading, and feel free to experiment until you find the method that you like best.
What are Beeswax Wraps
Hopefully, since you stumbled onto this tutorial somehow, you already have an inkling of what beeswax wraps are. But, if you don’t, let me enlighten you!
Beeswax wraps are pieces of fabric that have been treated with beeswax (or a combination of beeswax and other ingredients) to make them waterproof and slightly sticky.
They’re a great alternative to plastic wrap, and can be re-used over and over.
Plus, once they lose their stickiness (which they eventually will), you can re-treat them following this recipe again. Or, if they’re beyond repair, cut them into strips and add them to your compost!
What You Need to Make Your Wraps
There are a lot of recipes and tutorials available to show you how to make beeswax wraps. And, to make it more confusing, they all say you need different things!
Some people have good luck coating their fabric in only beeswax. Personally, I found that to be way too stiff.
Other tutorials use a combination of beeswax and jojoba oil, which is better, but still not tacky enough to actually hold together as a wrap.
I found my holy grail combination with beeswax pellets, jojoba oil, and pine resin, so that’s what we’ll be using in this tutorial. These feel much more like the nice ones you can buy, hold their shape, and stick together like intended.
So, to make your beeswax wraps, you’ll need:
- beeswax pellets
- jojoba oil
- pine resin
- pre-washed cotton fabric
- a cookie sheet
- parchment paper (I didn’t have any, and butcher paper worked fine)
- a paint brush you can sacrifice to the cause
- a sauce pan
- a mason jar or glass cup (or a double boiler if your fancy)
How to Make Beeswax Wraps
First, you want to prep your fabric. Make sure it’s pre-washed and dried, and then cut your fabric into the sizes you want.
I made mine 12×12, 10×10, 7×7, and 5×5. I’ve also seen people make rectangles to turn into snack pouches, which I might try next time!
You don’t have to be too exact. This isn’t a sewing project where size matters. So, just cut some neat squares and rectangles, and let’s get to work!
Then, set up your double boiler (or mason jar and pot method like me), and add your beeswax pellets, jojoba oil, and pine resin to the inner pot to melt.
I found a good ratio of ingredients to be roughly 1/2 tbs jojoba oil for ever 2 tbs of beeswax. Then, I added about 1 tsp of pine resin to the mix. This will give you enough mixture for about 2 wraps, or you can scale it up using this ratio to make more.
I saw a lot of people leaving out the pine resin because it’s hard to melt, but I crumbled mine into a powder and didn’t have that issue at all! You can use a rolling pin to break it down.
Once your wax mixture is melted, lay your fabric onto a paper lined baking sheet and quickly brush a light coat of wax on with a paint brush. Try not to overdo it. Remember, you can always add more wax, but you can’t really take it away.
Once it’s brushed on as evenly as you can, put it in the oven on 250 degrees for about 2-3 minutes. This helps distribute the wax more evenly. Once you pull them out, use your paint brush to spread the wax around and even it all out some more. If you find that you added to much, put a new, dry piece of fabric on top to let it soak up the remainder.
Then, just peel your new wrap off the paper and allow it to hang dry while you make the rest. This will only take a couple of minutes to do.
How to Make Beeswax Wraps
- Double boiler (or pot and mason jar)
- Fat paint brush
- Cookie sheet
- Parchment paper
- Stove & Oven
- 2 tbs beeswax pellets
- 1/2 tbs jojoba oil
- 1 tsp pine resin crushed into powder
- cotton fabric pre-washed
- Cut fabric to desired size.
- Preheat oven to 250.
- Melt beeswax, jojoba oil, & crushed pine resin in your double boiler (or mason jar).
- Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and place fabric on top.
- Once your wax is melted, apply a thin layer to your fabric using the paint brush.
- Place cookie sheet and fabric in the oven for about 2 minutes. This allows the wax to spread evenly.
- Remove fabric from the oven. If there is excess wax, place your next piece of fabric on top of it to absorb as much as you can.
- Allow to drip dry on a line or hung over the back of a chair. This should only take a minute.
- Repeat this process until you are out of fabric.
How to Use Your Wraps
For the most part, you can use your beeswax wraps in the same way you’d use plastic wrap. They’re perfect for sealing up a bowl of left overs to stick in the fridge. The heat from your hands activates the wax and pine resin so that it adheres to the bowl, or to itself, forming a light seal around the container.
There are some differences, though, so let’s go over them below:
- don’t use your wraps over raw meat. They can’t be washed with high heat.
- don’t wrap highly acidic foods with your wrap to avoid them breaking down faster.
- you won’t get an air-tight seal, due to the nature of the fabric wraps.
How to Care for Your Beeswax Wraps
The biggest downfall to using beeswax wraps over plastic wrap is that it requires more maintenance. Still, they’re not that bad to take care of, and knowing I’m not literally throwing money into the landfills every week makes it worth it for me.
Here are a few tips on how to take care of your beeswax wraps so they’ll last longer:
- Wash your wraps in cool water with a mild soap, then lay flat to dry.
- Store your wraps either flat, or in a roll.
- When your wraps start losing their tackiness, follow the directions in this post to re-coat them.
- If your wraps start getting frayed and falling apart, cut them into strips and add them to your compost.
If you treat these well, they should last 6 months to a year with minimal maintenance. My last set lasted almost a year before I needed to re-coat them by following the maintenance tips above.
Have a More Sustainable Kitchen with These Beeswax Food Wraps
Beeswax wraps are a great way to make your home more sustainable. With a few affordable supplies and a couple of simple steps, you can learn how to make your own at home! This tutorial will help you save money, live more sustainably, and reduce single-use plastic in just a few minutes. Give it a try! And be sure to share with your friends so they can make their own, too!