In May 2017, I wrote a blog post to share my experience of making beeswax wraps. At the time, they were a bit of an unknown, but happily now most people are aware that there is an alternative to cling film out there. And for those of you who are vegan, soy wraps are available too. My blog post, which you can read here, covered the method I’d developed – a paint on, iron through, air dry method which if you’re only making one or two wraps is relatively manageable, but if you’re making more, for gifts, say, it’s pretty time consuming. I also found my iron became unusable after a while, and as the point of the whole exercise is to reduce waste, I felt pretty annoyed with myself that in making wraps to reduce our cling film usage, I had pretty much destroyed my trusty iron. So, taking advice from a friend, I experimented with an alternative way that is less time consuming and less wasteful, which I’m happy to share with you here.
If you’re in a hurry and you really don’t have time for this tutorial, watch this YouTube video. My kids helped me do the stop motion animation, and it gives you a really good idea of the process. Top tips before you start – make sure you’re using 100% cotton fabric, that it’s washed and dried, and that you’ve trimmed the raggy edges with crimping shears.
If you’re still reading and you’re going for the step by step approach as opposed to the “heck lets wing it” one which is so often my preferable option, the first thing you’ll need to know is what stuff you’re going to need to make your wraps.
You Will Need:
Beeswax (I use local beeswax from The Paddock – find your local beekeepers and ask to buy direct if you can. They’ll likely be glad of the trade and it will keep the likes of Amazon from profiting. )
A pan (I bought a charity shop pan to use for making my wraps, but any pan you’re not likely to use for anything but wax is a good bet.)
A pokie stick or brush to agitate the cloth in the hot wax
Cotton woven fabric – medium weight old shirts work well – washed, ironed and trimmed around the edges with pinking shears.
After washing your cotton, cut it to size (having a variety of sizes is a good idea – gather up the things you are likely to need to cover to get an idea of how big/small each wrap needs to be) and trim the edges with crimping sheers. This will help to stop the fabric fraying as you use the wraps.
Next, heat your wax in you pan until it’s hot but not boiling! Be aware that when it gets really hot, the wax will start to spit, so don’t, whatever you do, peer into the pan to *check* how it’s going…
The next step is super simple. Dip your cotton cloth into the hot melted wax, making sure that it is completely submerged in the wax, agitating it to make sure the wax seeps through the weave of the cloth. It will look a bit like this…
I use one of the kids old paintbrushes to poke and move the cloth through the wax – and I also use it to help find and lift up the corner of the fabric when, after about 40 seconds or so, the cloth is ready to come out of the wax.
Lifting out the cloth is a tricky (and hot!) business, so due care needed – as you lift it out, spread the cloth and let the excess wax drip back into the pan. After a minute of flapping it around in the air to cool down, you can lay it flat and smooth if out if needed.
Your beeswax wrap is now ready to use for wrapping sandwiches, covering pots of leftovers or cheese in the fridge, or for keeping your loaf of bread fresh. You’ll find lots of recipes online that use other ingredients, but I have found that beeswax, plain and simple, works just fine. I’m still working on a vegan alternative, so will post a new blog when I’ve got a tried and tested method for them too.
Using this method you can make as many beeswax wraps as you need, and when they’re looking a bit tired, you can revive them by heating up your remaining wax and re-dipping them. Alternatively, you can refresh them by laying them on a grease proof papered baking tray in a hot oven for a few minutes.
Here’s that YouTube video to refresh you on the method!
If the cost of wax, fabric or ready made wraps are prohibitive, there are many ways you can avoid using cling film, and I will cover them all in a new blog post coming soon!
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