Beeswax wraps are a great way to reduce your use of plastics in the kitchen. They are inexpensive, versatile, and make a fun activity for older kids to help out with.
To make them, you only need a few items, all of which are easily sourced.
Beeswax - This is now readily available at health food store and some craft stores, but you can also buy it online. If there is a local farmers market or beekeeping society in your area, you can get it there too. Some people prefer the bead or pellet kind as it melts quicker, but buying wax in blocks is fine too, it can be grated very easily.
Fabric - Cotton woven is best, you want a tight weave to hold the wax and create a good seal. You can use calico for a rustic look, or quilters cotton if you prefer patterns. Just wash and dry the fabric first to ensure it is clean and free from dust.
Baking Paper - To line your work area and prevent the wraps from sticking while they dry.
A stove, oven, or an iron - You need to be able to melt and apply the wax somehow!
Tongs or a paintbrush (optional) - Used for different methods, if required.
Wash and dry your fabric, and cut it into the desired size square. We like having multiple sizes, small squares for covering jars and cups, larger ones for plates and wrapping sandwiches and big ones for any serving platter or saucepan you might want to accommodate. You can leave the fabric edges raw, hem them or use pinking shears to prevent fraying, it's up to you.
There are several ways to make them, so experiment with the different methods until you find a way that suits you best.
Method 1 - Stove Top
Melt the wax in a saucepan over a low heat until completely liquid. Use the tongs to drip the fabric in the wax until saturated. Lift the fabric and hold it over the saucepan until it stops dripping. You can hold it until the wax sets which only takes a few minutes, or lay it onto a sheet of baking paper to set. Alternatively, you can use the paintbrush to paint the melted wax onto the fabric while it is laying on a piece of baking paper. This method is fast, but also the most dangerous as it means having very close contact with the hot wax. If you are doing a large quantity, it might be more convenient, but please be careful.
Method 2 - Oven Bake
Place the fabric square on a tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle wax pellets or shavings evenly over the fabric all the way to the edges and bake in a hot oven for 5-10 minutes or until the wax is fully melted. Use the paintbrush to ensure that all the fabric is evenly saturated with wax. Allow the wrap to cool before handling.
Method 3 - Iron
Please protect your iron and ironing board! Lay down an old towel, and line with a sheet of baking paper. Lay the fabric on the baking paper and sprinkle with wax beads or shavings. Place a second sheet of baking paper on top to sandwich the fabric and wax within. Iron on the hottest setting until the wax is fully melted. If there are any dry patches on the fabric, sprinkle more wax and repeat until fully covered. Allow to cool before handling.
To use the wraps, simply fold over your plate or container and use the warmth of your hands to mold the wrap and seal it. They are ideal for covering containers (no more stressing over lost lids!), wrapping slightly moist refrigerated items (such as cheese or blocks of butter), sandwiches and bundles of dry snacks. They are not recommended for wet items as they are not air or water tight and are likely to leak.
Keep the wraps clean by washing with cool water (hot water will melt the wax off) and a little dish soap, and leave to dry. They are easy to store, rolled up or folded. The wax will eventually wear off, but they can be rejuvenated, rewaxing them using any of the methods given.