Thursday, 29 November 2018

My Journey to Less Waste #5 - Home Made Beeswax Wraps

Hi there everyone 😀

One of the first things I mentioned when sharing my journey to less waste was that I’d bought some beeswax wraps and we really liked them. They really were helping us to use a lot less clingfilm and polythene sandwich bags.
They can’t be used with raw meat so there has been the odd occasion when we have used plastic wrap but I can't even remember the last time I bought any.
I decided I’d like to try and have a go at making my own so had a good scour of Pinterest and the web and found a number of different methods.

I decided to go for the most simple using just one ingredient for coating the wraps.

Beeswax ... If you want to make your wraps vegan there are lots of alternatives you can use in the place of beeswax. A quick Google search should give you plenty of options.

It’s really important that your beeswax is food grade and from reading reviews we decided to go with white beeswax pellets. You can buy yellow but some feedback said that these can discolour your fabric. You can also buy solid beeswax and grate it yourself which may be cheaper, but I didn't fancy that at all. We found our beeswax on Amazon at a cost of £13.40 for 1kg.

I had bought a set of cotton fat quarters from Aldi a while ago. I think they were less than £5 for 10 and decided these would do the job nicely.

What you will need ...

  • Cotton fabric
  • Pinking shears
  • Ruler and/or cutting mat
  • Circular template ... I used a mixing bowl and a dinner plate
  • A baking tray
  • Foil or grease proof baking paper
  • Beeswax
  • An oven
  • Oven gloves

It’s important to pre-wash your fabric to ensure that it is nice and clean and any chemicals or stabilisers used in the manufacturing process are removed. I also pressed mine so they were all nice and crisp and flat.

I would also advise that you cut all of the shapes for your wraps before you go any further. Using pinking shears to cut the shapes will ensure that the edges do not fray and your wraps hold their shape.
It’s important that the shapes you cut will fit comfortably onto your baking tray.

To give a good variety of shapes and sizes I made up sets of six, including ...

  • Two large rectangular
  • Two smaller rectangular
  • One large circle and
  • One smaller circle

Once you have all of your shapes ready you need to line your baking tin. I’ve seen both foil and grease proof paper used for this. We used a foil backed grease proof paper which works really well.
Heat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius.

Before waxing any of your wraps it’s important to give all of the fabric a good shake to remove any loose threads as you don’t want this to be waxed into your wrap.

Place your first piece of fabric onto the baking tray and sprinkle evenly with the beeswax. Don’t worry too much on the first one as to whether there is enough. If there isn’t it is easy to add more later and if there is too much it is easy enough to remove and reuse.
Place the baking tray in your oven, we tend to do two at a time, for between two and three minutes, until you can see that all of the wax has melted, and remove carefully from the oven.

You will be able to see if there is insufficient wax as parts of your fabric will look a lighter colour. If this is the case then just sprinkle on a bit more and put back in the oven until it has melted. If you look carefully you can see in the next photo that we had some lighter patches on our first go ...
We just sprinkled a few more pellets on the lighter areas and popped back in the oven for a minute or two.

🚒As both the wax and your fabric are flammable it is really important that you do not leave your wraps in the oven for too long and that you keep an eye on them at all times. 🚒

Once all of your fabric seems well covered then pick up carefully, you can probably do this with just your fingers, and hold it up and wave it about a bit and turn it round in your hands and the wax will set.
Any excess will be left on the paper on the baking tray and this will quickly set. You can then either  scrape it off with a spatula and reuse it or just pop your next piece of fabric on top before it sets. It did help there being two of us, I can imagine it would be a bit tricky working on your own.
If you think there is too much wax on your fabric ... there may be clumps or it may feel too thick, you can pop it back in the oven, with your next piece of fabric on top of it and it will soak up any excess.

After our first attempt we over corrected and found we then added far too much wax, but it was easily resolvable and we soon got to grips with exactly how much we needed. A little wax does go a fairly long way.
Once your wraps have fully dried you will be able to fold them for storage.
Then clean your kitchen ... if you’re anything like us there will be wax in plenty of places there shouldn’t be.

We managed to make four full sets of wraps with the fabric we had and only used about 250g of wax. So for less than £10 spent on materials we made 24 wraps, which is loads cheaper than anywhere I've seen them on sale for. Obviously you need to cost in the use of your oven, but even so ...
When it comes to actually using them you basically use the warmth of your hands to create a seal around whatever it is you want to cover.

You don’t get as good an air tight seal as you do with cling film but we have found when covering bowls in the fridge they work just fine. You can always use an elastic band to secure more firmly if you feel the need. When wrapping sandwiches we also use elastic bands to make sure everything stays where it should.

After you have used your wraps they can be washed in luke warm soapy water. Not hot, or the wax will melt. Leave to dry and refold. They can be used again and again.
When they start to look a bit tatty you can reinvigorate them by popping them back in the oven to remelt the wax. We have done this and they come back out looking as good as new.

You could also add more wax if needed.

When they are completely finished with they can be placed in your compost bin.

As I am going to be including these on my craft stall all that was left for me to do was make up some packaging ...


... and pass a set on a friend to test ...
I am pleased to report that the testing has gone well and we have since made a stack more ...
... and we still haven't used up all of the wax 😀

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4 comments:

  1. You make it sound so easy, love how much it cuts down on plastic x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely easier with two of you, but if you've got everything ready to go it's not that tricky. Go on, give it a go :)

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  2. Thanks Elena ... lovely to hear from you. I’m glad you’re still reading 😃

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking time to comment on my blog. I love to hear what people think about what Martin and I have been up to.