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Beeswax food wraps you can make at home

DIY Beeswax Food Wraps

As a micro homesteader, I’m always looking for ways to become more sustainable and self-sufficient. A big part of that is trying to get as much plastic out of my life as I can. I use reusable shopping bags, glasswork containers rather than Tupperware, cast iron rather than Teflon pans. While individually these are just small things but when combined they start to add up. I also make my own cold processed soap and natural cleaning supplies. So I jumped at the idea of being able to knock one more plastic item out of my life. I’m talking about kicking cling wrap to the curb and replacing it with these homemade beeswax food wraps.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Luckily for all of use they are easy to make, biodegradable and last about a year even with washing! I mean what is not to like about this? And word on the street is that they actually work BETTER than that grocery store cling wrap. So the question isn’t why would you want to make these homemade beeswax wraps it is really why wouldn’t you? So if you’ve been here before then you know I like to give you as much information as possible. So let’s delve into the world of beeswax and for any impatient folks among you feel free to jump to the recipe at the bottom. We won’t judge.

Bee landing on flower

What is beeswax?

As always let me throw out a bit of scientific nomenclature. In the scientific community, beeswax goes by the name cera alba, not at all related to Jessica Alba. Ok, that was cringy even by my standards and I do apologize. Beeswax is created by the worker bees of the genus Apis, they have wax producing glands in their abdomen.

The honeycomb wax can turn shades of yellow or brown depending on the types of pollen oil it has been mixed with. Throughout history, it has had many uses, such as the first “plastic”, a waterproofing mechanism, leather polish and for making candles.

In nature, the wax created by the worker bees is used to create the cells of the beehive. This is where the honey and bee larva will be stored, so it is incredibly important to the bee colony. There is no agreed-upon honey need to wax produced ratio other than to say that it takes a lot of honey to make a little bit of wax.

In nature, the wax created by the worker bees is used to create the cells of the beehive. This is where the honey and bee larva will be stored, so it is incredibly important to the bee colony. There is no agreed-upon honey need to wax produced ratio other than to say that it takes a lot of honey to make a little bit of wax.

Beeswax pellets

What is beeswax used for?

Other than making candles and beeswax food wraps there are many other uses of beeswax. It has two main forms, white beeswax and beeswax absolute. What is beeswax absolute? Well, it is pretty much yellow beeswax (the one that has the pollen oils in it) that is then treated with alcohol. Both are used in foods and beverages as stiffening agents.

The manufacturing industry uses both yellow and white beeswax as thickeners and emulsifiers. It is also used in the cosmetic industry as a stiffening agent. Additionally, beeswax absolute is used to scent soaps and perfumes. There are also some medical claims related to its uses, but there aren’t any strong scientific research (that I have found) to back up this claim so I won’t get into it.

Beeswax is also very handy if you want to make any salves or balms. I have quite a few on my to-do list. I really want to make some plantain and chickweed balm as well as some lip balms for the winter. Luckily I bought a LOT of beeswax pellets so I will have loads leftover for more DIYs.

What are beeswax food wraps?

They are a natural and ecologically responsible way to help preserve food. They can be used in any situation where you would have used cling/plastic wrap. They are made from cotton fabric that is coated in beeswax and other ingredients that help them preserve food.

What are the benefits of beeswax food wraps?

There are lots of benefits to using beeswax food wraps instead of plastic wrap. Here is my list below.

  • They are breathable in a way that plastic wrap is not, and they do this while still sealing your food to protect it.
  • They are compostable
  • They are reusable
  • They are antibacterial (thanks to the beeswax)
  • It’s a DIY! (I seriously love DIY projects) But honestly, you can put your mark on these by your fabric choice, they also make a great homemade gift!
Homemade beeswax food wraps

What are the negatives to beeswax food wraps?

So let’s get this out in the open, these are not a 1:1 comparison to plastic wrap. Think of all those times you pulled the plastic wrap out to have it tangle into a giant mess. Beeswax food wraps do not have that level of stickiness (unless you have used WAY too much pine resin). So they will not cling as tight to a glass bowl.

They are also not suited for things like raw meat or fish unless you wanted to have a dedicated meat wrap. They are also more expensive, but making them yourself is a way to reduce the overall cost.

Are beeswax food wraps hygienic?

Yes as long as you keep them clean and avoid raw meat/fish. They are still going to need a wash after usage. But as long as you take care of them then they will be nice and hygienic.

Are beeswax food wraps vegan?

Nope, in the strict sense, they are not. But that doesn’t mean all is lost. You can make a similar type of food wrap using carnauba wax instead.

What type of fabric should you use?

Fabric choice is important! Given that these are going to be used with food and that we want to keep them compostable you will want to still with natural fabrics. I only use 100% cotton, if you have organic cotton then even better. Don’t forget to wash, dry and iron the fabric before you start making your beeswax food wraps. I get all my fabric from Etsy, it’s a great place to find loads of different fabrics. You may even come across one of my purses. I would also strongly suggest you use pinking shears to cut your fabric. They are amazing at helping to reduce fraying of the edges, plus it looks purdy.

What is the best size for food wraps?

Any size you want. That’s the great thing about this DIY, you can tailor the size of the beeswax food wraps to your needs. I made mine in 3 sizes: 8 inch, 10 inch and a square foot. You don’t have to make them square but I did. You can also sew little pouches and coat them in the beeswax mixture, I haven’t tried this myself but I would think you would need to put a piece of parchment inside to prevent the two sides sticking together. If you have made these let me know in the comments how it went!

Can you wash beeswax food wraps?

You can and you should but as with everything there is aways a right way and a wrong way to do things. In this case it’s the type of soap that matters. Beeswax food wraps should not need much cleaning, but if they become dirty then a cleaning is in order. All you will need is some warm NOT hot water and some gentle soap such as Castille soap.

How long do beeswax food wraps last?

Carefully washed and cared for they can easily last 6-12 months. At this point, you have a few options:

Homemade beeswax food wraps

How to make beeswax food wraps

So there is more than one way to make a beeswax wrap! So which one is right? This is not something I can answer for you. In my opinion, it comes down to which one is right for you. So I will run through the different options and then give you the recipe that I use in my own home. I will also give you links to recipes for the other formulations from other beeswax knowledgeable people in case you decide their method is the right one for you. As always, you do you!

Beeswax Only

Making beeswax wraps with beeswax only is by far the simplest method and you will find it all over Pinterest. There are however some big issues (in my opinion) with this method. Using only beeswax and fabric leads to a wrap that is very brittle and prone to cracking. They also don’t have that “sticky”/tacky quality that cling wrap is known for, so it can be hard to get them to “stick” to bowls etc. That said if this is all you have at your disposal, then its still better than using plastic wrap!

Beeswax & Jojoba oil

So these will likely avoid the cracking issue that can be experienced with the beeswax only wraps. But they are most likely going to lack the tackiness that you are used to with plastic wrap.

Beeswax & Tree resin

These will tend to be stiffer and while the resin will make then tacky they tend to crack more than those with some sort of oil to add flexibility to the equation.

Beeswax & Coconut oil

I haven’t tried this recipe but according to the internet they tend to be moldable and sticky. Before you go getting too excited I should note that people reported these recipe leaving coconut oil residue all over the place. As I said I haven’t tried it, if you have experience with these leave me a comment below to let me know what you think of this combination.

The Trifecta – Beeswax, jojoba oil & tree resin

For me it is the combination of beeswax, pine resin and jojoba oil that gives the best of all worlds. The beeswax seals the fabric and adds it’s antifungal and antibacterial properties. Then pine resin comes in with its stickiness. Finally, jojoba oil rounds out the trifecta by adding pliability. I have noted my recipe current recipe below and will update as I use them more.

Beeswax food wraps using a digital scale

The great thing about this recipe for beeswax food wraps is that you can tweak it. In all honesty, as I noted above there are many different ingredients that can be used. Even if you find another one that uses the same trifecta, the ratios will be different. So use this as a base and then tweak it as needed. If you want a stickier wrap then add a bit more pine resin (though it may leave residue on glass). Too oily? Just decrease the amount of jojoba oil. Too brittle/firm then you can decrease the amount of beeswax. Just keep playing with the ratios until you find your perfect combination. I found that a good digital scale was key, this is the digital scale I used, it is the same one I use when I make my own cold processed soap.

Homemade Beeswax Food Wraps

Buying beeswax food wraps can be expensive, luckily they are also an easy DIY. So you can ditch the plastic wrap and start storing your food in an ecologically responsible way. Plus you can put your own mark on this DIY with some great fabric choices.
Prep Time30 mins
Active Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Keyword: beeswax food wraps, reusable fodo wraps
Yield: 2 12″x12″ wraps

Equipment

  • Paintbrush (one you don't plan to use for anything else)
  • 100% cotton fabric
  • Twine
  • Pinking shears (you can use scissors, but pinking the edge reduces fraying)
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Clothespins or other clips
  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Glass container or mason jar
  • Saucepan
  • Digital scale

Materials

  • 1.5 oz Beeswax pellets
  • 0.4 oz Pine resin
  • 1 Tbsp Jojoba oil

Instructions

  • Wash, dry and iron your fabric.
  • Create your drying station by attaching the twine between two stationary objects.
  • Using a digital scale measure out 1.5 oz of beeswax pellets and 0.4 oz of pine resin and add to the glass container.
  • Measure out 1 Tbsp of jojoba oil and add it to the glass container.
  • Bring a pot of water to boil and carefully place the glass container in, cook for 20-25 minutes or until everything is melted.
  • Draw and cut out your wraps to your desired size, using pinking shears if possible (to reduce fraying).
  • Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Remove any random pots and pans from the oven and preheat it to 300F.
  • Give the wax, pine resin and jojoba mixture a stir. If it is all melted then start coating the fabric using the paintbrush. You only want a thin layer on the fabric.
  • Place the cookie sheet in the oven for about 3 minutes.
  • Remove and check for any dry spots, if there are any then apply a bit more of the beeswax mixture and return to the oven for 2 minutes.
  • Once there are no dry spots then quickly place your next wrap on top of the one that just came out of the oven and press to suck up any extra mixture. BE CAREFUL…it will be hot. You. can wear an oven mitt but it will end up with wax on it. Whatever you use, do this quickly as you don't want it to start to set on the cookie sheet.
  • Move the food wrap to the drying station, using the clips or clothespins to attach it to the twine.
  • Repeat until there is no more beeswax mixture or fabric left.

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