Do you have a desire to reduce your need for disposable plastics and paper products? It’s hard to let go of the things that bring us convenience in a world that thrives on fast-paced disposable products. But being more sustainable is one of my homestead’s primary goals. With these handy little homemade beeswax wraps, I’m one step closer.
In this guide, I will show you how to make your own beeswax wraps, an all-natural and reusable alternative to plastic wrap. I’ll walk you through the short process and give you loads of valuable information you’ll need along the way.
Making DIY Beeswax Wraps
My family added organic beeswax wraps last year, and we haven’t looked back since. We use them to cover bowls of leftovers, wrap up sandwiches for lunch, and keep herbs fresh in the fridge. They’re also far more effective at keeping food fresh.
What are beeswax wraps
Beeswax wraps are food wraps made from beeswax, cotton, and sometimes tree resins and other oils. They are reusable, non-toxic, and biodegradable. According to this study, they have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
The beeswax coating creates a barrier that prevents air and moisture from entering while still allowing the food to breathe. As a result, our fruit and vegetables stay fresher for longer. We’ve also found that the wraps are much more versatile than plastic wrap.
One of the best benefits is that they are a natural alternative to plastic wrap. They are making our homestead less wasteful and more self-sufficient.
And you know what? They’re easy to make and have a ton of uses.
Is it cheaper to make your own beeswax wraps?
Some people wonder whether it’s genuinely cost-effective to make your own beeswax wraps.
The answer depends on a few factors. First, consider the cost of the ingredients.
- 100% cotton Fabric (just a couple dollars for fat quarters at Walmart)
- Beeswax pellets ($1.50/oz) → FREE if you render your own beeswax.
- Resin ( around $9) this ingredient is optional
- Jojoba oil ( around $4/oz) also optional
They are relatively inexpensive, and you can find them online and sometimes on sale.
Second, think about how often you’ll use the wraps. We have been using them pretty regularly in our kitchen
Making your beeswax wraps can definitely cost less than purchasing them. The price difference is pretty big. You can make about 10 of the 7×7 wraps for between $4-$40 (depending on the ingredients you use). Whereas, if you buy them retail, they will cost anywhere from $15 to $30 for a set of three. Or a roll you can cut yourself for around $30.
Yes, you read that, right! So, you are being more environmentally friendly, and you’re also saving money.
Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll actually need to get started.
Spoiler Alert: it isn’t a lot.
What type of wax to use for your DIY Beeswax Wraps?
When creating your beeswax wraps, you need to use 100% pure beeswax. You can either purchase solid block beeswax and grate it yourself, use beeswax pellets pre-made into small pieces, or render your own beeswax.
Grating beeswax is not an easy task, so be prepared for a little bit of a challenge! If you have never had to grate beeswax before, I recommend using the pellets. They are much easier to work with and will save you a ton of time and frustration.
Let’s face it, time on the homestead is something most of us can’t spare on a good day.
What fabric do I use for homemade beeswax wraps?
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing fabric for your beeswax wraps.
- First, you’ll want to select a material that is 100% cotton. This will ensure that the fabric is breathable, does not trap moisture, and readily soak up the beeswax. Synthetic materials are not as absorbent and will result in beeswax flaking off the fabric’s surface.
- Second, you’ll want to choose a lightweight and thin fabric. This will make it easier for the beeswax to adhere to the material and give you a better end result.
- Finally, you’ll want to choose a tight weave fabric. This will help prevent wax from seeping through the fabric and making a mess.
You should have no trouble finding the perfect fabric for your homemade beeswax wraps with these things in mind.
MONEY SAVER TIP: You can always use scrap pieces of fabric you have from other projects
I use organic cotton because I’m using it to wrap my family’s food. I didn’t want any harmful chemicals or pesticides coming in contact with our food.
Suggested best sizes for beeswax wraps:
- Small: 7 to 9 inches squared sheet (Ideal for small lids and small veggies or fruit cut ends to wrap.)
- Medium: 10 to 12 inches squared sheet (Great for regular-sized bowls or medium-sized veggies, also a good size for making a small to-go snack carrier.)
- Large: 13 to 15 inches squared sheet (Holds a whole sandwich or covers a small baking dish or common-sized pie plates.)
- X-large: 16 inches squared sheet or more (Covers a large bowl, baking dish, or even a cooled fresh-baked loaf of bread.)
The best thing here is that you can make them any size you need! Keep in mind that the larger the piece of fabric, the more wax you’ll need to coat it.
I would just like to point out here before we go any further… you’re wraps don’t have to be cut into squares. They can be cut into circles or rectangles if you like. It’s up to you and your needs.
If you’re still unsure what sizes you will need, I recommend measuring the items you want to use the wraps for. This gives you a better idea of what size to make them and keeps you from starting over. Trust me, I’ve made this mistake before.
Whatever size you choose, making several wraps in different sizes is a good idea, so you’re always prepared for whatever comes your way!
How to Make Homemade Beeswax Wraps in the oven
- An oven
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheet
- 100% pure beeswax pellets or blocks
- 100% thin cotton fabric
- Hanging materials: a clothes hanger, twine, and clothespins
- Pastry brush or paintbrush
- Pinking shears
Step 1: Prep the Fabric
The first step in making your homemade reusable food wraps is to prepare the fabric. I prefer 100% organic kinds of cotton because it’s natural and breathable, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
If you are using new fabric, wash and dry it before beginning. This will remove any sizing or finishes present on the material and help pre-shrink the fabric so it doesn’t shrink when applying the beeswax.
Cut the fabric into the shape and size to fit your needs. I like to use pinking shears so that I don’t have to hem the edges of the material, but you can use regular scissors.
It’s a good idea to choose something that will be durable and slow to fray. If you’re not using pinking shears or hemming the fabric, you may want to coat the edges of your fabric with beeswax after cutting- this will help slow fraying.
TIME SAVER TIP: If you cut the fabric with pinking shears, you won’t have to hem them.
Step 2: Prep for the Oven
It is time to prep them for the oven. Beeswax melts at 145 degrees F so you will need to preheat your oven to the lowest setting (150°F to 200°F) and lay your parchment paper on a baking tray. Lay your fabric down on top. Then, sprinkle beeswax pastilles or shavings over the material. Make sure to spread evenly.
I find that using around 3 to 4 tablespoons of wax per 8×8 sheet is a good amount, but it depends on the size of the sheets you are using. Using too much can make your wraps too thick and cause the beeswax to flake and be hard to shape into a container when finished.
But don’t worry, both are quick fixes and simple to make, right. Let me show you how.
If you add too much, soak up the access with another piece of fabric or paper towel until you have the desired amount. And if you use too little, just add more and melt again.
Step 3: Melt & Spread Beeswax
After about 3 to 5 minutes, the wax should be melted. Keep a close eye on it so that it doesn’t burn. Once melted, you can quickly spread it over the fabric with a paintbrush or a pastry brush. Be sure to get the wax to the edges of your fabric. Use the pastry brush to evenly brush the wax over the entire surface of the cotton. You don’t want the beeswax to be uneven. This can cause the wrap to be less effective and again flake in certain spots.
Note: your wax shouldn’t be dripping from the fabric. This means you’ve added too much.
Step 4: Hang to Dry
After the beeswax has been spread evenly across the fabric, it is time to hang it up to dry.
Hang your newly made beeswax wraps on a clothesline or drying rack with a clothespin to dry. The key is making sure they have enough airflow so that the wax can harden evenly. You can also lay them flat on another baking sheet if you’re in a hurry. Just be sure to turn them over halfway through to dry evenly on both sides.
No matter how you dry them, your wraps will be ready to use in a few hours or less.
Also, you don’t want to hang them in a way that adds creases in the drying process, so be careful to only clip the edges of one side while hanging.
Step 5: Let Dry & Enjoy!
Let the beeswax wrap dry for about an hour or longer before using. Once it’s dry, your beeswax food wrap is ready to use!
How to Use Homemade Beeswax Wraps
Beeswax wraps are a great way to store your food and keep it fresh. You can use them to cover bowls, containers, or jars. They work well as an alternative to plastic wrap, and they’re easy to use. Just pinch the sides of the wrap together to create a better hold around bowls or plates.
The warmth of your hands will help to melt the wax and create a seal. Fold around cut veggies (think onions, tomatoes, and avocados) and other items, or make a to-go pouch for snacks. Be creative. There are plenty of uses for them.
How long do beeswax wraps last?
The lifespan of a beeswax wrap depends on the climate in which it is used. A wrap can last up to six months, give or take, before becoming brittle and developing cracks or losing its stickiness. Extend the life of your wrap by recoating it with beeswax as needed (more on that later).
Warnings and Tips
These homemade beeswax wraps have this natural, earthy honey smell that makes your kitchen feel like a rustic country cottage. If you’re thinking about trying beeswax wraps for the first time, here are a few tips to help you enjoy them to the fullest.
- Beeswax is combustible! Make sure to keep your wraps away from any open flames. If you render your own beeswax, use a double boiler.
- Do not wash your beeswax wraps in the washing machine or dishwasher.
- Wash in cool water with a mild soap. Do not use hot water as it will damage the wrap.
- Raw meat should not be covered with beeswax wraps. The wraps cannot be fully sanitized, and there is a risk of cross-contamination and bacteria growth.
- Avoid using beeswax wraps to cover food meant for infants or the immunocompromised
- Do not use it in the microwave or to cover hot food. Allow your food to cool before covering.
- Use caution when using them to store high acidity food, such as citrus fruits. Some users have had problems with the wax breaking down, but in my own experience, I haven’t had this problem yet.
How to Clean Beeswax Wraps
Beeswax wraps can be used multiple times and only require simple cleaning and care. Avoid using harsh detergents or chemicals as they can break down the wax. You can use a mild soap like Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap.
Before washing, you can give it a quick brush with a clean paintbrush if any crumbs are stuck in the wax. Using hot water will melt the wax so use cool water and wipe it down with a damp cloth.
After washing, let your wrap air dry or pat it dry with a clean towel. Once it is dry, the wrap is ready to be used again.
Remember that they should last for several years with proper use, but they can easily be refreshed if they become thin or less sticky!
How to Make Homemade Beeswax Wraps Sticky Again
You can revive old or dry beeswax wraps by recoating them. If your beeswax wrap becomes less sticky over time, you can recoat or re-distribute the wax. First, preheat your oven to low (150°F to 200°F), and then place the wraps inside for 3-5 minutes.
Next, take them out and re-distribute the coating evenly. If they are not sticky after cooling, add more mixture or put old beeswax in the compost.
(Remember they are biodegradable and all-natural.)
If your beeswax wraps start to get dry or cracked, you can use this method to restore them back to their original condition.
How to Store Beeswax Wraps
Beeswax wraps should be stored in a cool, dry place that is also clean from dust or food particles. They will stay fresh if stored in a cool, dark place. It’s best to keep them flat until used. This will prevent unnecessary creases in the wrap and can extend the use.
You can also hang them up or roll them to store in a mason jar. Just be aware of flaking if you roll them.
If you need to store them in a container, make sure it is clean and dry before adding the beeswax wrap. Also, store them in the fridge or freezer, but remember to allow them to come to room temperature before using them so the wax doesn’t crack.
How Often Should You Use Your Homemade Beeswax Wraps
This really depends on how often you are cooking and how big your family is. You will probably need to use them more often than someone cooking only a few times a week if you cook dinner every night. I like to use mine at least once a day, but sometimes I use them multiple times if I cook several meals or pack snacks for my kids.
Depending on the size of your family’s eating habits, you may find that one beeswax wrap isn’t enough, and it’s time to make some more.
Beeswax wraps are a great all-natural way to store your yummy cold food and help reduce the amount of waste produced. They are also a very sustainable option. They can be used multiple times and only require simple cleaning and care.
Remember that they can last for several months with proper use, but if they start to become thin or less sticky, they can easily be refreshed and last for years. And if they can’t be fixed again, they make an excellent addition to your compost.
Ready to make the switch to beeswax wraps? It’s easy! Let me know in the comments how yours turned out and how you’re enjoying your new wraps.