Eco-Friendly Beeswax Wraps | How to Make Your Own Plastic Free Alternative

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Plastic wrap, cling film, gladwrap – whatever you want to call it, it is everywhere. We use it to wrap sandwiches, fruit, snacks, leftovers, take-a-plates, cheese, baking, you name it, we can wrap it.

Unfortunately, once plastic wrap is created, we are stuck it forever. Sea life thinks it is food, other animals choke on it and it probably isn’t good for us to wrap our food in either, let’s be honest.


BUT there is an alternative! Beeswax wraps!

These are a beeswax infused cloth, that self-adheres, is reusable and can come in any pattern or size you like. In fact, the beeswax-infused cloth is better for storing food in because it also breathes so your food won’t sweat. No more slimy soggy cheese edges or squishy avocado.

I have made several versions of the beeswax wraps before I found a combo that worked well. Initially, I used straight beeswax on calico cotton.

The wax wasn’t pliable enough on its own and didn’t stick to itself either, it just cracked and the calico cotton was just too thick.

You need a cotton that is thin and flexible, like bed sheets. Light 100% cotton quilting fabric works well and comes in the most fantastic patterns. T

hese beeswax wraps include damar resin (you can substitute it for pine resin if you prefer) which add to the durability of the wax, and adds the sticky factor to it.

The beeswax wraps also include jojoba oil which is a natural anti-microbial oil and it also adds to the flexibility of the wrap. You can substitute it for any food-safe oil if you prefer, but it won’t have the same anti-microbial effect.

Beeswax Wraps

YOU NEED:
100g Beeswax (3.5oz)
20g Damar resin (.7oz)
3 teaspoons Jojoba oil
6 squares of light, woven cotton, pre washed and dried 30x30cm (12x12in).
An old pot, old clean paintbrush (or new cheap one), tinfoil, mortar and pestle or some way of crushing the resin.

METHOD:
Chop up your beeswax into chunks and place in an old pot.
Crush the resin in a mortar and pestle and add to the wax.

So today I was lazy and didn't chop or crush, it worked, but it would have been much easier if the pieces were smaller
So today I was lazy and didn’t chop or crush, it worked, but it would have been much easier if the pieces were smaller

Melt over a medium heat and stir intermittently until all melted together.
Add the jojoba oil and stir well.

beeswax-cover-08Turn your oven on to 100C (200F) to pre-warm.

Cut your fabric to size. I prefer to use pinking shears to help stop the fraying, but I don’t own any so today it was straight cuts.

beeswax-cover-07
It is not a trick, these are bigger than stated, I wanted some large ones for platters for the festive season. These are ‘fat quarters’ 50x52cm.

Line your bench with tinfoil and lay your fabric on top of it.

beeswax-cover-06With your old paint brush paint one side of the fabric with the wax mixture.

Try and get it even-ish, it cools fairly quickly and heating it in the oven helps even it out.
Try and get it even-ish, it cools fairly quickly and heating it in the oven helps even it out.

Place the tinfoil and fabric onto a tray and pop in the oven for 5 minutes.
Take it out of the oven and check the wax is now evenly soaked through to the back. If it has not, return it to the oven for 3 more minutes, adding more wax if required.

See here the dark patch is where the wax has soaked through, the rest has not yet soaked through.
See here the dark patch is where the wax has soaked through, the rest has not yet soaked through.
Here you can see it is totally soaked through with the wax
Here you can see it is totally soaked through with the wax

Once the back is evenly coated carefully remove the beeswax wrap from the foil and hang it somewhere for about 3 minutes to set. I use tongs to pick it up with, though it cools very quickly, sometimes I use my fingers and just wave it in the air a bit to set it.

CLEAN UP TIP – wipe your pot out with paper towels/rags before attempting to wash it.

beeswax-cover-03

Now it is ready to use.

beeswax-cover-04

After Care

Wash in cool water with a mild soap. Do not put in the washing machine. This coating should last 6-12 months of regular use. If you notice it is starting to loose it’s stick, place in a medium oven on a foil lined tray for 5-8 minutes to re-distribute the wax. It will eventually need a proper re-coat of the wax mixture.

ADVANCED LEVEL: Sew little pockets/envelopes and then coat them in the wax mixture to make little snack bags for nuts and raisins etc.

Got any questions? What do you use instead of plastic wrap? Let me know in the comments below!

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Make your own beeswax wraps as an eco-friendly alternative to clingfilm or plastic wrap. This recipe uses jojoba oil and beeswax to make a nice clingy wrap.

Make you own beeswax wraps an alternative to clingfilm or plastic wrap


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14 Replies to “Eco-Friendly Beeswax Wraps | How to Make Your Own Plastic Free Alternative”

  1. Hi Dana, I’m giving these wraps a go and finding that double boiling (which is how I’ve melted beeswax in the past) isn’t melting the resin. Have you had this before? As far as I can see, you melt straight in a pot, is that right? If so, I might have to head down to the Op shop to see if I can pick up a pot that’s dedicated to beeswax wrap making!

    1. Hi Mel, yes I melt it straight in a pot. You do have to be careful as beeswax (like all oils) is flammable, so of course you must watch it at all times. The resin does need a higher heat to melt and the finer you manage to crush it, the faster it will melt. All the best!

  2. These instructions and ratio of ingredients turned out great for me. The only change I made was using pine rosin rather than the damar resin – just because it’s what I had. I realised just exactly why you suggested using an ‘old’ pot! I went straight out afterwards and bought a little old one from the hospice which I will keep for this. Also, I don’t think that the brush I used will be much good for anything else after this either!

    A good friend of mine bought me some wraps last year and though I thought they were great, the ones I’ve now made are even better! They smell better, are softer and more maleable, and I don’t have to hold and warm them as much to make them cling.

    Thanks so much for these instructions Dana!

    1. Fei, I am so happy that they worked well for you! We haven’t bought plastic wrap in over 3 years now thanks to these wraps!

  3. The damar resin I have found at http://www.shaman.co.nz they have it in powdered form, do you think this would work or should I just buy the solid which is slightly cheaper.
    Thank you for the DIY I am definately going to try, have tried with straight beeswax and didn’t find very successful.
    Good of you to share, thank you

    1. Hi Rae, The powdered form would work great! It saves you having to crush it. It is quite easy to crush with a mortar and pestle if you get the bigger stuff.

  4. Great! I wonder……why do you add damar resin? How does it improve the wrap? If I can’t find the damar resin, is there some other resin I can use? Have you tried without it, with just beeswax an jojoba oil?

    1. Hi Mayki,
      The damar resin adds a strength and durability to the coating, and helps with the stickiness of it. I have made them with straight beeswax before, and they do work – sort of. The stickiness makes them much easier to use. I know you can use pine resin, and I am sure any others that aren’t too strongly smelling would also work well. You can get damar from amazon, and some artist supply stores 🙂 I hope that helps!
      Dana

      1. Thank you Dana! One more question…..in your recipe it is “3t Jojoba oil”, what does the “t” stand for?
        Best wishes
        Mayki

    2. Damar resin has a low toxicity but the dust should not be breathed… I wouldn’t use this on food wrap? Use food grade Pine tree resin/rosin

      1. Hi KB, thank you for your concern.
        Damar resin is actually used in foods and is food safe. You should not inhale any dust or resin in general as particulates of anything shouldn’t be in your lungs and some things cause allergies. Wikipedia has some information on damar here for you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dammar_gum

    1. Pat, you can get most of the ingredients from somewhere like purenature.co.nz, kiwisoapsupplies.co.nz or gonative.co.nz. The damar resin is harder to find, try a boutique art store like http://www.tasart.co.nz or sometimes it is on Trade Me. Let me know how you get on 🙂

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