Experiments with making home made Beeswax wraps
We have not used clingfilm since we moved to our Cornwall cottage back in March, eight months ago. To be honest I thought it would be quiet difficult to manage without the trusty cling film wrap, but no we have used glass reusable containers, natural fiber cloths and recycled plastic to do the jobs, although we were already going down that path this made the big break. So I was interested in the beeswax wraps that are coming on the market lately, but they cost the earth and GD and I moved house to develop deeper sustainable skills, so this was an eager project for us to try.
The first method I tried was to set the oven to 150 C and place my cut cotton fabric on a baking sheet, I grated a beeswax block until I had a fine sprinkling of wax all over and placed it in the preheated oven for for about 30 seconds. I could see the wax had completely melted and removed the tray, some of the cotton needed a bit more wax so I spread the oil with a pastry brush as per a u tube tutorial. When I was satisfied all the material had a good covering of wax I held the waxed cotton up and within a minute it had dried and the result was good.
Next I laid a dinner plate over my cotton material and drew a line around it and cut a dinner plate sized circle out with the pinking sheers, I used the pinking sheers to get a good finish and to stop the cotton fraying, but you could hem if preferred. Then I set the ironing board up and put the iron dial to hot. I laid out parchment paper on the board and put my cotton circle on top, I used a much smaller flatter grater this time which I found gave a lot more control over the grating and positioning of the beeswax, I was more confident this time and used a more generous sprinkling of wax, a bit like topping a pizza with cheese.
Next I rolled a top layer of parchment paper over the cotton to make a sandwich effect. I placed the heated iron over the parchment and ironed for a half minute by which time the grated beeswax had melted nicely, after a little adjusting, using fingers, which gave a better result than using the brush, a good cover over the cotton was obtained. I then removed the wrap and let it cool, carefully keeping the parchment paper to make the next wrap.
Both methods had good results, I found the ironing board method the easiest way to make the wraps. I learned putting an old tea towel down to protect the ironing board cover was a good idea as there was the faintest trace of some wax that had seeped through the parchment paper onto my board cover.
To use the wraps simply use the warmth of your hands to mould the shape you require. Use them to cover your bowls and dishes. I particularly wanted to make some to wrap food for the fridge. I have read they are good for the freezer and for wrapping sandwiches but I have not tried this out yet myself.
I saw some pretty neat ideas when I was researching this subject such as sewing two wooden buttons to a sandwich wrap and winding string around them to secure.
To clean the wraps use cool water and mild dish soap such as castile soap, do not use hot water as the wax would melt. Beeswax has natural antibacterial properties. These wraps are great for wrapping foods such as veggies, fruit, cheese, bread, nuts or snacks, but as they can not be washed on a high temperature do not store foods such as meat and fish in them, I would use glass/pyrex containers for these. You can refresh your wraps if they become soiled by simply reheating them.
Wraps are expected to last about a year and will compost down when finished with or just re wax them.
I am certainly excited now to start adding buttons, making sandwich bags, bread bags and using up old scraps of pretty materials.