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DIY Beeswax Wraps - the easy way!

It's well into the school holidays and we finally dragged ourselves out of bed before lunchtime and got to work on making our own beeswax wraps.

I'd been meaning to try this for months but we had a hold up with buying the wax. I wanted to get genuine beeswax from a local Australian bee farm. Not some watered down dodgy version from China. So I got online and ordered some through eBay from a nice local bee farm in Wollombi, NSW. And then it got lost in the post! I wanted to give it a bit of time to be fair and ended up waiting an extra 3 weeks, but no wax. Luckily the seller was very kind and sent me another block of beeswax, which finally turned up about a month after I originally planned to try making my own beeswax wraps.
Bees getting ready to make some beeswax for our beeswax wraps?
Some bees in our garden. Just getting in the mood while waiting a month for the beeswax.
So, after much online research, Meg and I decided that simple is best and we were going with the most simple way to make our own beeswax wraps. Beeswax + Fabric = Wrap. We may try something fancier later if we get enthusiastic.

First - we gathered our supplies. Beeswax! A grater. An old paint brush. An oven tray lined with baking paper. A Kimono Daisy 50cm square Japanese cotton kerchief. Meg picked this nice blue one with little Japanese girls on it, and I picked the pretty floral one. But just after I took this photo someone ordered all of that floral pattern we had left, so I sent it to them, and we just went with Meg's choice.

what you need to make your own beeswax wraps the easy way
Beeswax Wrap DIY Supplies

Step 1. Cut out the fabric to the right size.
I picked out our "bowl most likely to end up in the fridge with plastic wrap on it" and carefully measured a piece of cotton big enough to go over the bowl. By carefully measured, I mean put the bowl on the fabric and cut it out roughly where I thought it looked about right. This also happened to be just big enough to fit on my baking tray, about 30cm square.

Measuring and cutting the Japanese cotton for diy beeswax wraps
Carefully measuring and cutting

Kimono Daisy Japanese cotton squares are already hemmed around the edge. We decided to leave the square with two hemmed edges and two raw edges. Not because we are lazy (OK yes because we are lazy), but it also helps us see if it's better to hem your wrap or not. After taking this photo I realised it would probably be a good idea to iron the creases out of the fabric, so I did that before we actually cut it.

Grating beeswax to make our own Japanese cotton Beeswax Wraps
I got carried away with the beeswax grating
Step 2: Next we grated the beeswax and spread it all over the piece of cotton. Beeswax is harder than hard cheese so this took a bit of time. Also, I had no idea how much beeswax was enough. To be honest at the end I think I probably used too much. You could probably do about half what I did and it would still work fine. That said, I have no idea "how much" beeswax I used. I know - so helpful! Which is probably why other beeswax wrap instructions are also vague. I'm going to guess it was just over a quarter of the block, which was 115g, so that would be about 30g/30cm square. Meaning you should only use about 15-20g /30cm square. Or look at my picture and don't spread it on as thick as me.

Melting Beeswax in the Oven for diy beeswax wraps
The streaks on the oven door are reflection, not a dirty oven door (I swear!)
Step 3: Into the oven! We preheated the oven to 110 degrees celcius and popped our tray in, keeping an eye on it to see when the beeswax was just melted. Once it all looked melted we took it out and spread the melted wax around with the paintbrush. I had to put it back in the oven again to warm it up a couple of times before I could get it spread really well up to the edges.

Cooling the diy beeswax wrap by waving it around
Swish Swish!

Step 4: Voila! Picked it up by the corner while it was still warm and waved it around to cool. This is where I realised I'd probably used too much wax because there was quite a layer of it left on the baking sheet.

more things to wrap in your homemade beeswax wrap

Step 5: Fun with beeswax wraps. What can we wrap next?

So overall the hardest bit of this production was grating the beeswax, and that really wasn't that bad. I would rate it as only slightly harder work than a few carrots. Knowing now that I probably could have used half as much beeswax, then it's only about 2 carrots worth of effort max.

Results: My first DIY beeswax wrap works great. I folded it over the bowl and it moulded to the shape and stayed in place. I made a little "bag" for mandarins, and I wrapped a bread roll. It is currently folded into quarters and covering a can of corn in the fridge. I am thinking of making some smaller quarter-sized ones for future can-covering.

Hemmed edge vs raw edge: It doesn't really seem to matter. Hemmed edge looks neater. Raw edge frayed a bit when we were spreading the wax and brushing across it with the brush. After the wax was cooled I trimmed the frayed bit off and nothing has frayed since. The wax holds it together.

Cleaning up: Various internet instructions we read mentioned having a dedicated grater and paint brush for making wraps. The paint brush is still covered in wax. I warmed up the brush in the oven and tried to wipe warm wax off with paper towel, but it's still pretty much soaked in wax. I decided to "dedicate" this brush to wax wraps from now on. I got most of the wax off the grater when I brushed it all onto the wrap initially. It still had a "coating" of wax on it but that came off no problem when I poured hot water on it. The melting point of beeswax is below 100 degrees celcius, so pouring a jug of boiling water over my grater cleaned it up perfectly, and there was so little on it I'm sure my sink won't clog.

Long Term: According to the "experts" on the internet I should be able to wash my wrap with cool water (not hot or all the wax will come off) and reuse it for about 12 months. So far it's been less than a week. Ask me again in 12 months if it worked like they said.

Special Mention: The fabric Meg chose was a light weight cotton. If you are buying Kimono Daisy Japanese cottons to make beeswax wraps, let me know when you order. I will make sure the designs you choose are lighter weight fabrics. I think a heavy cotton would end up too stiff after waxing.

Inspired? Yes! Make your own wraps with our Japanese cottons and send us a photo. Reduce your use of plastic wrap and show us your best looking lunches and left overs!


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