Did you know the beeswax produced by a honey bee can be used to create an alternative to plastic wrap?
Charmaine Thredgold from The Reskill Project shares a simple six step guide she’s put together with the help of another local sustainability champion, Dani Austin, to making your own beeswax wraps at home!
- Pieces of 100% cotton fabric with a reasonably tight weave – avoid red as it leaches colour into the wax and be sure to recycle where you can.
- Honey beeswax – this can be bought from local beekeepers selling wares at places like The Honey Shoppe and Soapbox in the Adelaide Central Market or at local markets held in places such as Stirling, Willunga, Marion and Clare.
- Optional: Jojoba Oil – but only if you already have it at home (this can be used to make the cloth more pliable but isn’t necessary)
- pair of fabric cutting scissors
- paintbrush (about the size of a basting brush is good)
- metal tray or linoleum off-cut
- domestic iron (don’t use the same one you use for your clothes at home, get a low-cost new one or a functioning second-hand iron to use only for wax wrap making)
- kitchen bowl
The following guide will make about 10-20 wraps (depending on the size of your fabric pieces)
Step 1: Gather your products and tools
- Cut fabric into desired sizes for your ‘wrap’ needs. Here’s a guide:
- small wraps for fruit and snacks: 19x20cm
- medium wraps for sandwiches or to cover bowls: (28x29cm)
- large wraps to cover plates: (34x33cm)
- With the tools, where you can use old or second-hand items as things can get left a little waxy at the end of this process!
Step 2: Get your beeswax ready
- Use the knife to cut off workable pieces of beeswax.
- Grate your beeswax to make one cup (about 100grams).
- Place grated wax in your old saucepan and heat gradually over a low heat, to melt the wax.
- If you have Jojoba Oil already, you can add about 20ml to your one cup of melted wax and stir it in – this oil has antibacterial/antiviral properties). It’s important NOT to replace it with any other oil.
- Do not overheat the wax.
- When melted, turn off the heat source.
- The wax is now ready to use. If it starts to solidify while you’re applying, reheat it gently again.
Step 3: Apply the beeswax
- Place your pieces of fabric on a protected surface like your linoleum off-cut or metal tray. It’s going to get messy!
- With your paintbrush, lightly paint wax from the saucepan onto the fabric. Leave about 1cm from the edge as, when ironed, the wax will spread. Too much makes a mess and wastes wax.
Step 4: Ironing time
- Infuse your cloth with the beeswax by running a hot iron over the fabric to melt and spread the wax.
- Do one side, then turn the fabric piece over and iron again – making sure there’s an even coating of wax.
Step 5: Cool and crunch
- Pick up the corners of your ironed fabric and lightly flap to cool.
- Once cool, lightly scrunch.
Step 6: Ready to wrap
- Your wrap is now ready to try out.
- Get your bowl and fit your wrap over the top of it.
- Use warm hands to gently press your wrap to the bowl.
- It should cling snuggly.
- To clean your wraps, gently wipe them with a damp clean cloth. Air dry and store in a kitchen drawer.
You can use your beeswax wraps over most food items, as an alternative to plastic wrap, with the exception of raw meat. Don’t use the wraps in microwaves. With proper care and depending on the amount of use, the wraps can last up to two years. When you’re finished with them, put them in your compost of Green Bin.
No plastic, no waste.