How to Make Your Own Beeswax Food Wraps.

Wondering if you can make beeswax food wraps?  You bet you can and it’s easy.  Also, STOP worrying that they don’t work or they’re hard to clean. They do work and they’re easy to keep clean. Here’s how to make them.

Reduce, reuse, recycle.

I do those things.  Sometimes.  When I feel like it.  More often than not, I do do those things, but I’m a human person living in modern times so sometimes I don’t.

I’m a firm believer in doing what you can when you can.  Use your recycling bins, but if you’re close to a mental breakdown from cooking, working, cleaning the house, dealing with a broken toilet, a screaming child and/or a slightly insane boss … don’t beat yourself up over throwing that one recyclable container in the garbage because the ease of doing so is the only thing  keeping you from jumping into the nearest volcano.

The 5 people who live in a pile of leaves and do everything possible to not make an imprint on Mother Earth – including not wearing clothing and eating only bugs, (that have died naturally) – aren’t the only ones saving the planet.  

Your small contribution as a regular person living in a regular home has a huge impact. Even if you don’t feel like it does.

Which brings us to my next point of interest.  Using beeswax wraps for storage instead of plastic bags. More specifically – making your own!

No matter how good hearted we are, we were born into a world of convenience so just because something is better for the environment doesn’t mean we’re going to immediately convert to it.

If something doesn’t perform well, isn’t easy to use or costs too much we aren’t going to use it. Which is why I have this next question:

SO WHY AREN’T YOU USING BEESWAX WRAPS, YOU LUNATIC??!

Beeswax wraps are easy to use and do exactly what they’re supposed to.  If cost is the issue, then you can stop relying on that excuse because you can make a whole drawerful of beeswax wraps with some fabric and beeswax.

No more excuses.


How do beeswax wraps work exactly??

These sheets of fabric covered in a thin layer of beeswax will warm up in your hands making them moldable. You can shape them to a fruit, bowl or cut onion just like you would cling wrap.

Beeswax wraps not only seal your food, but they also let it breathe! Plastic doesn’t do that.


 

How to Make Beeswax Wraps

WHAT YOU NEED: Beeswax (candle remnants or a block), organic cotton fabric & an oven.

(you can use any cotton, but if you’re an organic kind of person you’re going to want to make sure you’re using organic cotton)

  • Gather a few pieces of 100% cotton fabric and put them on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.

I used leftover fabric scraps for this project and flour sack tea towels from my screen printed tea towels that didn’t turn out great.

  • Preheat your oven to its lowest setting. 150°F is ideal, but up to 170°F is fine too.

 

  • Shave and then chop a couple of ounces of beeswax.

You can use an old candle or buy beeswax beads, or a whole hunk of beeswax for this.

Amazon sells Beeswax beads for $10 for a pound of them.  And they claim they’re cosmetic grade!!!!!  (I’m feigning excitement over this.  Cosmetic grade is a made up thing. It literally means nothing, it’s just a marketing scheme)

 

  • Sprinkle the fabric with a light layer of beeswax.

About this much.  Maybe a teensy bit more.

You might have heard about adding pine resin to beeswax wraps. And you can!  But if the thought of sourcing tree resin is what’s stopping you from making beeswax wraps, good news – you do NOT need tree resin to make good wraps.

  • Put them in the oven for 10 minutes (or until wax is melted).

The fabric will be soaked through with wax when you remove them.

  • Take them off the hot baking sheet IMMEDIATELY.

If you leave them on for even a few seconds they’ll cool down and stick to the tin foil or the beeswax will become clumpy.

 

They’re beautiful.  I love them.

Now it’s all about finishing them.

You can leave them just as they are as squares or you can finish the edges with pinking sheers.

I’ve also added a couple of buttons and some butcher twine for closing one of mine to make a beeswax sandwich wrap or snack bag.

I know you’re worried about the ick factor. Don’t be.

Are beeswax wraps hygienic? 

You bet they are. I know, it seems weird to reuse something over and over but beeswax wraps have the benefit of being partly made by the world’s most magical creature. The bee.

Beeswax is a natural antibacterial. See here for scientific reference on that.


How long do beeswax wraps last?

If you take care of them and learn to revive them (you learn how to revive your old beeswax wraps in this post) these wraps will last for years. I’m personally on year 7 of some of mine.


Care.  All you need to do is rinse the wraps under warm water and give them a rub with a dishcloth and some mild soap.  Don’t use really hot water or your beeswax might melt but warm water is fine. 

If your beeswax wraps (homemade or purchased) start to get dry or cracked you can revive them to their original state using this method. 

Use.  I’ve used my original wraps since 2013 and revived them once. They’re still performing perfectly.  I use the Beeswax wraps to wrap cheese, sandwiches, carrots,  Portobello mushrooms, bowls of soup  cut vegetables and more. 

Just ignore the text in the video below, I grabbed it from my Instagram account to show you how easy they are to use and  how well they work.


 

Opinion.  They’re great.  They really do work.  The warmth of your hands allows you to mould the beeswax to whatever shape you want and it stays there.  Everything has stayed as fresh as can be with the exception of a sandwich I left wrapped for 2 days, which started to get stale around the edges.  

Problems.  They smell like beeswax.  I do NOT see this as a problem but if you have an aversion to how beewax smells you won’t like it.

How to Make Your Own Beeswax Food Wraps.

How to Make Your Own Beeswax Food Wraps.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes

Easy, fast beeswax wrap tutorial for the DIYer.

Materials

  • 100% cotton fabric cut into squares or rectangles.
  • 100% beeswax (beads, blocks or candle remnants)

Tools

  • Oven
  • Knife
  • Scissors

Instructions

    1. Preheat your oven to its lowest setting. 150°F is ideal, but up to 170°F is fine too.
    2. Gather a few pieces of 100% cotton fabric and put them on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.
    3. Shave and then chop a couple of ounces of beeswax.
    4. Sprinkle the fabric with a light layer of beeswax.
    5. Put them in the oven for 10 minutes (or until wax is melted).
    6. Take them off the hot baking sheet IMMEDIATELY.
    7. Hold the wraps up until they cool and solidify (this will just take a few seconds) then lay them down flat.

Notes

If your wraps get cracked or worn over time, just stick them back in the oven at the lowest temperature and remelt them. They'll come out like new!

Some people add resin to their wraps. This helps the wraps to "cling" to glass and itself. It isn't mandatory to use resin! They work extremely well without it.

So, reduce, reuse, recycle.  When you can.  When you can’t?  Avoid all volcanos.

 
 

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How to Make Your Own Beeswax Food Wraps.

153 Comments

  1. Catherine Fairs says:

    Karen , my sister told me of your blog and I love it. Your sense of humour kills me. I wanted to let u know about my sisters art show opening at the Carnegie fri March 1 7-930
    She,s your neighbour Jane Hill I can tell from your blog ,you will absolutely love her paintings.
    Catherine fairs

  2. Rondina says:

    I’m the one that has a guilt-trip over throwing one container away that could have been recycled. At some point I have to calculate how much water it will take to clean a container; factor in that I live in an area experiencing a long-term drought, and say—no. However, although they are cute with the button and string closure, no way I’m going to try this one.

  3. Kim from Milwaukee says:

    Again another brilliant ‘how to’ Karen. Thank you!! I abhor plastic and this will allow me to completely get rid of ziploc bags and saran wrap forever, and use up my scrap fabrics as well!

  4. Candice says:

    My new year’s goal last year (2012) was to purge plastic from my kitchen. A little over a year later, I’ve put a dent in it but it is waaaayyy more daunting than I’d imagined. I love the idea of these baggies! I’ll check out their website as well as MelissaM’s above suggestion for the Snacktaxi’s. I’ll be buying since I’m not sure I have the patience or sense enough to replicate yours.

  5. mayr says:

    You are wonderful.

  6. Cathy says:

    I love this idea. I think about this everytime I grab a sandwich bag out of the drawer. I have a large ziploc of leftover beeswax from our first harvest that I need to do something with. But first, I have to figure out how to get the honey out of it! Just need time to research it.

    • meg says:

      you can get the honey out of beeswax by just leaving it outside the hive. The bees will take off every single bit;-)

    • Chio says:

      Just melt the honey-sticky beeswax clumps in hot water. The honey will dissolve, and the wax will float. Then skim the beeswax “beads” off the top with a screen or cheesecloth. Y ou probably don’t need to actually boil it, just melt it. Then you can use the honey water for tea. :)

  7. dana gault says:

    Aside to Karen: geez, my two-hour sleep really shows in my grammar! Sorry : /

  8. dana gault says:

    Re: paraffin vs beeswax

    Even after processing, beeswax maintains antibacterial properties. So that’s the science. From personal experience, I’m and artist, and paraffin has never very worked well for me coating canvas and cotton fabric in general. Soy wax has, but I don’t know that it’s antibacterial, and I find it much messier than beeswax.
    LOVE this Karen! I adore your buttoned-up bag : )

  9. Inga says:

    This is awesome! Question though – how did you fold it to wrap the sandwich?

  10. Becca says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this… it’s a wonderful idea. The blue one you made looks like it might be quilting cotton fabric. Did you find the grain tight enough on that one? I have delightful images of batik food wraps in my kitchen. Only thing, I wonder if all the dyes used in quilting cottons would be safe to be in contact with food. Hmmmm.

  11. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for sharing! LOVE this idea as a replacement for seran wrap! I shared this with a friend who is going to try it with silk, as well. Again, thanks!

  12. Bonnie says:

    This is so timely! Like you, I try to recycle and reuse as much as I can. Just this weekend, I was decrying the use of so much plastic for food wrapping, and promised to look for an alternative. (I was decrying and promising to myself–no one else in my family really cares.) Then, this comes up. Thanks!

  13. MelissaM says:

    Your wraps look lovely. I have used a couple of Snack Taxis and the benefit, other than buying from my now-defunct local green store, is they can be thrown in the wash. When food for human consumption is concerned, I do prefer washing in hot kill-them-disgusting-germs! water.
    http://www.snacktaxi.com/

    • kate-v says:

      OOh – what ever you do, don’t wash the beeswax food wrap in hot water because the wax will melt and run and then HARDEN in your drain and you will have plumbing PROBLEMS.

  14. carin says:

    A million thanks for this! I saw them [or someone similar] at the One of a Kind Show and bought a couple and love them. I’ll buy more, but it’s nice to know I can make them too and put to use my bag of beeswax bits.

  15. Debbie says:

    I love this idea! I see that there are online versions which use velcro as the fastener. I am going to try these soon! Thanks !

  16. Lynne says:

    Those wraps would make cool bags or gift wrap for beeswax candles, or honey….hmmm. Wrap your gift with the beeswax cloth, tie up with twine or raffia. Tahhh dahhh. No volcano jumping. Just beeswax sexiness. Whatcha think?
    Lynne :)

  17. cred says:

    love this- I’d seen beeswax cloth before (don’t know if it was Abeego) and was intrigued but I love that I can make my own now. I never would have thought to try it.
    Thanks for figuring this out.

  18. Ann says:

    I worked with beeswax a few years ago. The stuff is very very sticky so be careful to keep it contained while working with it. If you get any of the melted stuff on the counter or floor you will pay hell getting it back off!! I wonder if you could use regular paraffin just as well? Of course, that is a petroleum product and one might think it is bad for the environment. But if you can use it for a long time and in turn, not use plastic then I think it would still be a win.

    • marie says:

      because beeswax is sticky, it will bed with the fabric. not only is paraffin toxic (against your food?! really?!), but it won’t stay pliable.

  19. Langela says:

    Neat idea, but I have a question. I thought you weren’t supposed to reuse plastic bags after using them for cheese or meat. Is this the same for these?

  20. Luanne says:

    We have the Abeego wraps and love them. I bought them at Christmas specifically for the kids lunches and they’ve been in daily use ever since.

  21. Linda J Howes says:

    I LOVE this!!!! Just yesterday I was wishing I had a different way to wrap/store food. What an awesome alternative and I will definitely make some! Thanks for posting this.
    BTW, I got your bookmark in my self addressed stamped envelope the other day and thank you for that too!

  22. Michelle says:

    Hey Karen – I’ve had the Abeego ones for years and just ordered a new round now that she has the button up sandwich packages. They are wonderful and can’t recommend them enough. Thanks for the DIY tutorial as well.

  23. Simon says:

    I am doing this immediately, thank you. This is super common sensical.

    I use the citrus enzyme all the time by the way. I love it.

    Simon :)

  24. Laura Bee says:

    Well said! Doing what I can when I can is also how I live. Now THIS I can find time for. Other sewed sandwich bags have way too many steps.

  25. Laura says:

    How clever! & cute!

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