Happy Holidays Friends! This month I am focusing on some wonderful eco-friendly and cost effective DIY gift options for the environmentalist in your life. Today I want to share how to make beeswax food wraps. These are a simple and easy gift idea that is very customizable and super affordable! 

I have been using the same set of wraps for over 2 years now and I still love them! The great part of these wraps is that if they start to wear out you can place them back in the oven to re-melt the wax to refresh them! Plus, when you are done with them you can compost them!

The only downside to making beeswax wraps yourself is the cleanup and mess of the beeswax. I will share how to clean up and minimize wax messes towards the end. 

This DIY project is super simple, requires only two materials and a couple tools to make these lovely wraps. 

Materials:

*Food Grade Pure Beeswax (pellets or block)

*Cotton Cloth (preferably organic)


Tools:

*Scissors

*Baking Pan

*Cheese Grater (if you purchase a block of beeswax)

*Container for Grated Beeswax (if using block)

*Metal Fork or Butter Knife
*oven safe baking sheet with a lip (to avoid wax dripping off the sides and burning)

*Iron (to iron out any creases in fabric prior to adding the wax)-not necessary if you don’t care for some creases.
*oven safe mitt

*gloves, optional (latex or nitrile)

Prepping Materials

The first step is to pick out your cotton cloth fabric. Be sure to pick a 100% cotton fabric. There are many places online to purchase fabric of all different colors and patterns. I highly recommend purchasing organic cotton fabric, but you can still use regular cotton fabric from a craft store.

At this stage it is important to also purchase some pure food grade beeswax, unrefined if possible. There are two forms to choose from, pellets or blocks. The pellet beeswax is easier to work with since it does not need to be grated or shredded. Block beeswax also works, which is what I used. Make sure to have a decent cheese grater to grate a good amount of beeswax into a container (preferably glass or metal, since it is easier to clean) if using a block of beeswax.

Once your supplies are purchased you can cut up your fabric into whatever shapes and sizes you need for the containers or food you plan to wrap. I like to have a variety of sizes and a variety of square and round shapes. Once your fabric is cut out you can iron out any creases in the fabric. You can also wash and dry your fabric before cutting if you would prefer. 

Making the Wraps

Once the fabric is cut and the beeswax is prepped, preheat the oven to the lowest temperature setting it can be set to. I start my oven at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, but may increase up to 200 degrees if working with a larger piece of fabric. 

Lay out a piece of fabric on the baking sheet and sprinkle a nice thin layer of beeswax over the fabric. It is best to start out with too little beeswax and then add more if needed than trying to scrape off the excess beeswax with a fork or knife. I recommend either using a test piece of fabric, or use the smallest piece of fabric you plan on using to make a wrap for the first couple tries as you figure out exactly how much wax you need per piece. 

Place the pan with the beeswax covered fabric into the oven on the middle shelf and leave in the oven with the door closed for 2-4 minutes, keeping an eye on it the whole time. They first few pieces will take the longest to completely melt but should take less time since the pan will already be nice and warm.  As the beeswax melts it will absorb into the fibers of the fabric.

As soon as the beeswax has melted into the fabric you can leave the pan in for another minute or two to really make sure the beeswax has been fully incorporated into the fabric fibers. Using an oven mitt to remove the pan, place the pan on the stove or counter and use the fork or knife to gently lift a corner of the fabric off the pan. Using your fingers, gently hold two corners of the fabric and gently fan the fabric back and forth until the beeswax has cooled to room temperature.

It is best to fan the fabric over the pan to catch any beeswax that may drip. You may wear disposable gloves to protect your fingers from getting wax on them if you would prefer. The fabric will be hot but should not be hot enough to burn you. It is always better to be safe by wearing gloves and not handling the pan and fabric with oven mitts and gloves. 

Continue by placing another piece of fabric on the baking sheet and adding more beeswax to cover. There is no need to allow the baking sheet to cool or to clean the sheet in between making each wrap. Place back in the oven for another 2-4 minutes, keeping an eye on it to make sure there is no burning taking place. 

Making Larger Wraps

For larger pieces of fabric that do not fit on the baking sheet laid out flat, fold the fabric in half, thirds or quarters to make sure the fabric will fit entirely on the sheet with no overhang. In between each layer of fabric place a thin layer of beeswax. So if the fabric is folded in half place a layer of wax in between the bottom layer and another thin layer on top of the folded fabric. If it is folded in thirds or quarters do the same procedure, layering in between each piece of fabric and the top. 

Making the larger wraps takes a little more time and a lot more wax so be patient. You may have to add more wax several times to make sure the wrap is completely covered. The folds typically have a hard time absorbing the wax. I suggest taking out the fabric from the oven and re-folding and adding more beeswax in order to fully cover the cloth. Think of elementary school when your teacher says to fold the fabric hamburger style. Once you fold hamburger style and let the wax melt, take out of the oven and refold, think hotdog style, to eliminate the seam not being covered in wax. 


That is pretty much it. It is a really easy project to do and does not take much time at all. It saves a ton of money and gives you so many more options as far as fabric patterns/colors, shapes and sizes. 

Now the fun part is done, how do we clean up the mess?

Beeswax is certainly not fun to clean but can be very easy if done right. Take a pot, kettle or electric kettle and boil clean tap water. Once the water is boiling, take the pieces that have beeswax on them outside. Find a place in your yard where you can rinse the wax off with the boiling water. Pour the boiling water over the pieces that have wax on them. I like to hold them and rinse off half of the sheet first and then flip and rinse the other side using oven mitts to protect your hands from the hot pan and water. I like to avoid any unnecessary messes so I do not recommend laying the wax covered items on the ground to rinse them off as the wax can pool around the items, cool and stay stuck to them. I had a large area of dirt in my yard that wasn’t growing any plants and therefore used that space to rinse off the beeswax. 


You can also heat up the metal, and glass items used in making the wraps by placing them back in the oven at 190 Fahrenheit till the wax melts. Use a clean paper towel to wipe off the excess wax (using oven mitts again!). You can then use the hot boiling water method to remove any residual wax before washing with soap and water. 

I hope you have a chance to make these! They are fun, easy and a great way to wrap up food items without the waste! Just avoid wrapping up meats, and dairy products since you can't disinfect the wraps easily!

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