DIY Beeswax Wraps | This WONDERfilled Life



If you couldn’t tell by my last post we’re a little CRUNCHY around here.  We cloth diaper, I use a “CUP” for that time of the month, and we do not use paper products (plates, napkins etc).  We try and recycle everything that our blue bins will allow and shy away from single serving packaging as much as possible.  Here’s the thing, we also realize that our small contribution of trying to REDUCE-REUSE-RECYCLE won’t change the world or even put a speed bump in the trajectory that the human species is currently on BUT being thoughtful about these things helps us to appreciate what we have, pine a little less for what we don’t and helps guide us to better living within our means and be a little less "consumeristic".  A few years ago we got rid of all the single / short term use plastics in our house.  We slowly recycled all our Glad containers as they wore out and cracked and eventually replaced them with a set of glass, Pyrex, food saverware.  These are awesome except that the lids are plastic and, as we discovered, eventually crack.  So we’re left with a ton of glassware and no way to cover and save our leftovers.  And then I saw the latest thing – BeeswaxFood Wraps. I loved the idea of something so simple as cotton cloth soaked in a mixture of beeswax, jojoba oil and pine resin and so I filed it away in the “I can make that” area of my maker mind.

Well two weeks ago I FINALLY got to try my hand at making my own and I am happy to report after a lot of blog perusing and tweaking the recipe we were using I think we came up with something that is just like the ones you would order online but for far less money.

I looked thru so many blogs, websites and recipes my eyes were bloodshot but I actually couldn’t find anything that said “USE THIS RECIPE” and it will yield X many cloths…after making it ourselves I can kind of see why.  With all the possibilities in fabric size and content (lighter cottons vs heavier weight ones  - which are not recommended apparently) it’s hard to say how many cloths you can make but what I can tell you is that I spent about $40 on supplies (I had my fabric on hand but you could easily grab some fat quarters at JoAnn’s when they are on sale for a few bucks, we used about 2/3rd of the Jojoba Oil and didn’t make a dent in the beeswax or pine resin and after a long morning had made about 8-10 beeswax wraps of varying sizes and pre mixed and melted the mixture for future touch ups or new cloths… From my limited research it seems the average price for about 3 wax cloths in varying sizes, the largest being 14” square or less is about $18 so I’d say we were money ahead for sure. 

If you want to try your hand at these I’ll walk you through what we did, step by step.



SUPPLIES:
100% Cotton Fabric, the lighter weight the better
Beeswax, ordered from Amazon
JojobaOil also from Amazon
PineResin from…you guess it, Amazon
Paint brushes
Whisk
Double Boiler (and a pot for stirring that you won’t be able to use for anything else but this in the future)
Tongs
Drying rack or clothesline
Aluminum foil or Parchment paper

Before we get started let me introduce one of my oldest friends, we've known each other since elementary school in Alaska, Linda! She and her family moved here last fall and she is as crafty and as interested in making all the things as I am so we had a blast trying this out together!

The first step is to prepare your fabric.  You want to wash and dry your fabric to remove any post production sizing or starch and then if needed go ahead and iron your fabric nice and flat. Next up decide what size wraps you’d like to make and cut those shapes and sizes.  We both have the same set of Pyrex from Costco that needed new lids so we traced around the dish with an extra inch to inch and a half (for good fold over and adhesion). We used a rotary cutter to get the initial size and shape and then came back through and used some pinking shears to make sure our cotton wouldn’t fray.  







Once our fabric was prepared and cut we headed up stairs to the kitchen to start experimenting and here’s where it got interesting….we planned to use the recipe found on MountainRose Herbs.  (I have actually ordered supplies from these guys years ago when I was making bath bombs.) HOWEVER…I realized halfway through making these that my phone was actually scrolling between the two recipes on the page and so our recipe ended up being different from MRH.  I wanted to try their recipe to the letter but instead of following the:

The BEST Reusable Beeswax Wrap Recipe

Makes (3 to 4) 12 x 12 inch cloths. 
Ingredients
·         100 percent cotton fabric, organic if possible
·         0.5 oz. copal resin
·         1.25 oz. beeswax pastilles or grated beeswax
·         1 Tbsp. organic jojoba oil
·         Large popsicle stick or other compostable stirrer
·         Parchment paper
·         Dedicated paint brush

I ended up reading and using the amounts listed in:

Beeless Vegan Food Wrap

Makes (3 to 4) 12 x 12 inch cloths. 
Ingredients
·         100 percent cotton fabric, organic if possible
·         0.5 oz. copalresin
·         0.25 oz. organiccarnauba wax
·         2 Tbsp. organicjojoba oil
·         Large popsicle stick or other compostable stirrer
·         Parchment paper
·         Dedicated paint brush

Total face palm moment… so…. Our first batch we had a 2:1 ratio of resin to wax and 2 TBSP of oil…what we ended up with was something that wouldn’t stick to itself…so we figured it was too much oil…so when we tried a second batch we used HALF the amount of oil and had a much better product but still had a 2:1 ratio of resin to wax.  In reading through the links on my computer to put this blog post together it makes sense that the second recipe uses less wax and twice as much oil since the carnauba wax is supposed to be a very hard wax, much more so than the beeswax.  At any rate, our second attempt produced something that totally works (though since it has a high resin to wax ratio might be stickier than needed). So…I am interested in trying the ACTUAL recipe which uses beeswax at some point but what we made works.  I’ve used them for many things (nothing with meat though since you cannot wash in hot water) and it’s been great. Maybe it’s because we used so much resin, but my wraps have a total “Glad Press N Seal” characteristic when using them on my glass Pyrex, and there have been no issues with the wraps coming off or not sticking once cold in the refrigerator. 

We used an old metal bowl over a steamer and pot full of water on the stove top to make a double boiler.  The recipe indicated that it might take 45 minutes for the resin to melt but it only took ours about 10-20 minutes. So definitely keep your eyes on it!



I didn't have a whisk I was willing to toss after this experiment, so I grabbed some wooden kabob sticks and wrapped a rubber band around them.  It worked great and I saved it when we were done because as we found later on the resin will melt again if you reuse the whisk.  We also learned that you don't really need to stir the resin while melting...it kind of lends itself to a mess...so just keep your eyes on it and when it looks good and liquid go ahead and add your beeswax pastilles and oil.


Once you add the beeswax and oil avoid the urge to stir right away.  


It will be REALLY obvious that everything has melted down.


While everything is melting down pre heat your oven to 300° F and line a cookie sheet with foil (this worked but I also read to use parchment paper and I think that wouldn’t stick to the wraps as badly so I will be trying that on my next batch). Then lay your fabric down and start “painting” the mixture onto the wrap with a clean paint brush.  I used my favorite flat brushes from the Ikeakit.  We learned that you can stack up to three layers of fabric and still have a successful wrap in the end…you basically need to paint on as much mixture as you can, working quickly because it does start to harden fairly quickly and then put in the oven for a few minutes, five minutes should do it.  After five minutes you can use tongs to flip your wraps over and use your paint brush to make sure that the entire wrap(s) is thoroughly soaked in the beeswax mixture.  Once you’re convinced it’s all coated you can drape over a drying rack or hang on a clothes line to “dry”.  We found that our wraps really stuck and left a residue on the drying rack…but now that I’m looking at the “correct” recipe I am sure that’s because we used so much resin. 






 As I mentioned before, or first try didn’t stick…so we re-coated them with our second batch mixture and all was well! That’s what’s so great about these.  Once they lose their stick (I’ve heard 6 months to a year) you can just re-coat them.  How cool is that?

An awesome tip I read, on one of the many blogs I was researching, was to go ahead and melt extra mixture and save in silicon molds.  That way when you need a re-coat or want to make a new wrap you don’t have to go through the entire process of melting the resin again.  Since it’s already been melted and mixed it will melt down much quicker.  I used these molds from IKEA, which say for water only…I didn’t have any problems with using or cleaning them afterward but be warned that you may not be able to use your molds for something else after doing this project.  Once cooled I popped them out and wrapped them in parchment paper and stored in a cool, dark place.




So that’s it! We had a great morning of testing out if these would work and found that they will…even if you don’t follow the exact recipe – HA! I do want to try the REAL beeswax recipe as indicated above…and if/when I do I will update everyone on how it goes.  In the end I am happy with the wraps I made and am looking forward to making some more!

Are these reusable wraps something you’d use? Would you make your own? If you do take some pictures and share what recipe worked for you! 

Comments

  1. I've tried bought wraps before and used them for sandwiches, but it made my food taste funny. Thoughts? I love the wrap idea but don't want it to affect the food...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't, though I did read that on some of the blogs when I was doing my research. I haven't wrapped my food directly in this yet, just as a replacement for the Pyrex lids. I DO plan on making some sandwich bags so I will update on how that process is and if there is any taste. Out of curiosity what was the taste you were getting?

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